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A man who only has a fifth of his intestines remaining following serious illness has completed a momentous kayaking trip through the Great Glen in aid of a hospital charity.
Justin Hansen, 57, also known as the ‘gutless kayaker’, relies on intravenous nutrition being pumped into his body to stay alive. He is normally connected to the pump 12 hours a day but to complete his latest adventure, he was connected to the life support round the clock.
The occupational therapist, who lives in Portsmouth, had to waterproof the pump in his backpack in case he capsized in the loch or canal.
Undeterred by these physical challenges, Justin set off from Fort William and kayaked 60 miles up the Great Glen to Inverness in just six days.
The Ros Crana holiday barge, which operates in the Great Glen, provided a mobile base for Justin during his challenge.
Barge skipper Dave Roberts said: ‘He calls himself the gutless kayaker but while he may have no intestines, he’s certainly got a lot of guts, courage and determination to kayak the Great Glen. It’s very difficult to kayak Loch Ness as it’s a massive body of water and weather conditions are changeable and challenging.’
As well as support from the barge crew, Justin also relied on Lloyds Home Healthcare delivering a week’s worth of his liquid nutrition to Ros Crana.
Justin said: ‘Although this is a shorter distance, it’s been much more challenging than my previous trips on canals as lochs behave like the open sea. I’ve really needed the additional calories to get through this trip.’
During this trip and previous expeditions, Justin has so far raised £50,000 for the St Mark’s Hospital Foundation.
Justin had to have his intestines removed in 2003 after he was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. In 2009, he contracted a heart infection which led to a stroke and the need for open heart surgery.