Isle of Wight teenager Natasha Lambert has returned home to Cowes after spending a month in Scotland completing her latest Sea and Summit challenge.
Natasha Lambert, 19, has climbed Cairngorm mountain, sailed through Lochs and Sounds in the Highlands and negotiated two famous Scottish canals, the Caledonian and the Crinan.
Such adventures would be taxing for any young person, but Natasha has athetoid cerebral palsy. She uses a wheel chair and has little control over her movements and speech.
The expedition began at Inverness marina on 18 July after months of planning and training, and finished at Clyde Marina at 4.30pm on 4 August after a lively sail from Largs, on the Firth of Clyde.
For the sailing part of the challenge Natasha took to her adapted 21ft yacht Miss Isle Too, which she sails using only her breath.
To tackle the mountain Natasha used a Hart Walker. The ascent and descent of the famous Cairngorm mountain, the sixth highest peak in Britain, took more than five and a half hours.
A support team, including her parents, sister and a safety adviser from the Mountaineering Council of Scotland, were on hand to help Natasha over the steep, rough terrain and to celebrate on the very windy peak. Footage of the climb gained tens of thousands of views on social media.
Back on the water, Natasha’s condition means she needs to be in the the special canting seat every moment she is on board. This was especially challenging on the canals when she spent hours at times waiting to go through locks.
At no time did Natasha opt to get out of the boat, other than on the Crinan Canal when she took to her walker to learn how to operate the manual locks with the rest of her team.
While on passage from the Isle of Bute to Largs Miss Isle Too was fully powered up in 28 knots of breeze and just before heading into Largs- the steering failed. But Raymarine came to the rescue and sourced a spare part from Holland, enabling Natasha to get sailing again after missing just one day’s sailing.
On her Facebook page, Natasha and team said: ‘So many different experiences and hurdles or overcome, climbing Cairngorm was really special, an absolutely incredible day, so a big thank you to Heather Morning from the Mountaineering Council of Scotland.
‘It was also great to meet the RNLI team out on exercise on Loch Ness,!
‘All sorts of weather, although not quite a heatwave that we left behind in the south! fantastic thunder and lightning storms.
‘The last few days of the challenge had great sailing….and was certainly eventful too! Although extremely frustrating there were no safety issues, had to switch the boat to manual steering and Phil took over.
‘The steering ram had failed and unfortunately there were no spares in the UK! Raymarine very kindly stepped in and sourced one from Holland and got it to us just in time for me to finish my challenge after missing only one day’s sailing. Huge thanks to Raymarine for pulling out all the stops.
‘For the final sail in Scottish waters a fresh NW 22 knots and into Ardrossen Harbour, where we had to wait outside the harbour until the ferry from Arran had berthed.’
So far, the challenge has raised £735 for the Miss Isle School of Sip Puff Sailing.
A spokesman for the Sea and Summit, Scotland challenge, said: ‘Natasha undertakes her challenges to raise funds and to raise awareness. She has already received a British Empire Medal for her previous fund raising efforts.
‘This time she is raising funds for her charity, the Miss Isle School of Sip Puff Sailing. The school gives young people like Natasha the chance to get out on the water and sail, using their breath to control the boat.
‘The raising of awareness is equally important to Natasha as she grows older. Her level of determination is becoming well known. It’s this that she hopes will inspire others with similar conditions.
‘Rather than taking a traditional holiday Natasha and her family embark on the challenges to highlight just what can be achieved despite the pressures and needs arising from Natasha’s condition.’