Felpham 75-year-old tackles his biggest challenge yet in 309km row from London to Sussex coast

A 75-year-old from Felpham is set to embark on his biggest challenge yet this June, in a bid to raise money for Chestnut Tree House, a children’s hospice based in Sussex.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

It’s the latest in a long line of challenges tackled by Ross Fisher, a life long rower who, just last year, sailed 150km from Felpham, around the Isle of Wight and back for Women’s charity My Sisters’ House.

But Ross says this year’s challenge is “bigger and more adventurous” than any he’s attempted before: “I expect the journey to take around seven days, although that does depend slightly on the weather. And because I’ll be sleeping on the beach, I don’t want it to be too cold! You can't really book into a bed and breakfast as you might need to leave at three in the morning because of the tide windows. I don’t carry a tent with me – just a sleeping bag – so if it rains, I’ll sleep under the boat.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Ross has been involved with rowing and sailing all his life, which means he still feels relatively fit and healthy, even at 75. He’s a seasoned sailor and yachtmaster, he’s skippered a boat across the Atlantic three times, and he worked in the Coast Guard for twenty years. So there’s little left to surprise him out there on the waves – even in the 60-year-old fishing boat he’ll be using next month.

75-year-old Ross Fisher sets off on his latest adventure75-year-old Ross Fisher sets off on his latest adventure
75-year-old Ross Fisher sets off on his latest adventure

Even so, he’s acutely aware of the challenges he might face on the way: “The Thames is a very busy river, and the transport boats travel at some speed,” he explained. “There is also still quite a bit of commercial traffic that comes up to Tilbury.

But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to look forward to. Ross explained he’s looking forward to seeing London from all new perspective: “I’ll be going under Tower Bridge through the barrier, past the Millennium Dome, the former Battersea Power Station and of course the Houses of Parliament. And then there's the SS Montgomery, a ship that sunk in the Thames Estuary while transporting munitions. It’s still there – still with the explosives on board.”

Read more