11-year-old Sir Ranulph Fiennes fan completes epic 25-mile kayak journey in aid of Polar Museum

By Culture24 Reporter | 16 October 2014

A schoolboy's kayak bravery has prevailed to help a museum honour Captain Scott

A photo of a boy and a man in kayaking gear looking over a river
Kayaking heroics in aid of the Polar Museum© Courtesy Polar Museum
After a string of initial setbacks which forced him to abandon the journey in June, 11-year-old Toby Booth, a Sir Ranulph Fiennes fan from Bishop’s Stortford, manoeuvred 20 locks on an epic 25-mile expedition to the edge of the River Thames in aid of a bid to buy negatives from Captain Scott’s final journey.

Booth was inspired to set off in his Cougar racing kayak after admiring the men of the Heroic Age whose feats of bravery are told at Cambridge’s Polar Museum. But his original foray, from the Harlow Outdoor Centre in June, was thwarted when two of his companions suffered fatigue during a day of heavy showers which raised the banks of the locks.

Vowing to complete his mission, Booth returned to the river and reached the Limehouse Basin alongside adult volunteer Ant Wright, raising £300 towards the Scott Negative Appeal, which met its £275,000 target to buy 113 photos from Captain Scott’s final expedition.

“We are all impressed by his determination and achievement,” said Bridget Cusack, of the museum, comparing the modern-day hero’s voyage to the perseverance of explorers across the centuries.

“Toby’s extraordinarily generous response to the appeal proves how important Captain Scott remains in the national imagination.”

The museum’s current exhibitions include poetic curation, object pairings and Sir Ernest Shackleton.

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