Mississipi Million

The Great River Rowed



Read John's regular updates from his epic journey along the Mississippi below:


Check out the latest photos from the challenge here.

Read Paddy's blog updated regularly during the challenge.

You can check the challenge's progress live right here too...

John’s Blog

The art of persuasion….

Posted by on 17 September, 2014

It is all go here at the Mississippi Million project. Graeme and Gillian return from their two week break for the rest of the project. Jerry Rees rowed with us today and tomorrow. Stephen Gillespie and his daughter Maeve also rowed today and the latter two have three more days rowing before they depart at St Louis. I want to begin today’s blog by paying tribute to Stephen here, because how he managed to talk Maeve into this remains a mystery to us (and, I suspect, Maeve).Stephen I have known for many, many years and he is a great...

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So, here’s the thing…

Posted by on 15 September, 2014

Two days ago we were joined by old friends, Mike and Kate Colling, Mike to do two days rowing and Kate to tell us how to do it. Along with many of the nutcases that have signed up to row and raise $1,000,000, Mike does not have a background in rowing by any means, but he has applied himself to learning the art of skiffing from Graeme Mulcahy, spurred partly by the terror of the river and partly by the terror of letting anyone down. A powerful couple of incentives.So they arrived and Mike was ready for pretty much anything, having followed...

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Nauvoo postscript

Posted by on 13 September, 2014

Two quick items regarding Nauvoo that would be wholly remiss of me not to mention.First, we had the misfortune to stay at a truly awful hotel, having driven past some beautiful alternatives in the centre of town. This is the price we pay for having no local knowledge. However, so taken were we by one hotel, eponymously named “Hotel Nauvoo”, that we decided to try it for dinner. Now, it is sometimes said that even the blind squirrel occasionally finds a nut, or maybe that the Mississippi felt a degree of pity for us at the state of...

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Madder than us

Posted by on 12 September, 2014

Just occasionally, as we begin to contemplate that halfway point in our odyssey, we are reminded of two salient and inescapable facts. First, what we are attempting is in no way normal or natural and would be considered, even by extreme sports enthusiasts, to be slightly bonkers and very possibly downright mad. This is underlined not just by the size and scale of this immense body of water, nor by the appalling conditions we plough through for hour upon hour, nor by the ever present danger of capsize (done it – lots at the top) or...

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Another gem and another severe test….

Posted by on 10 September, 2014

Steve Webber, indefatigable as ever, rowed yesterday through some tough conditions into a steady, hard headwind. At our finish point, he was glad to stop, but elated at having bested some tricky conditions. Paddy (who steered) and I were delighted for him and his effort, but we had an idea of what the river and weather held for us today.  Watch the youtube link: http://youtu.be/k4r6OMCf0U0We stayed overnight in a truly remarkable little town, unassumingly called Keithsburg, Il (pop 600). Now, i am certain that there are hundreds of such small...

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Note to self…..

Posted by on 8 September, 2014

Never, ever have the microwave omelette stuffed with peppers for breakfast before attempting to row 32 miles.That is all.

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To paraphrase Dickens….

Posted by on 7 September, 2014

If Mr Micawber were to be skiffing the entire length of the Mississippi, I suspect that his famous exchange with the eponymous hero of the book would have been written as follows. “My dear Copperfield, energy expended at 5 mph, travel speed of 8 mph, result – joy. Energy expended at 5 mph, travel speed of 2 mph, result – misery, Copperfield, misery”.As it happens, we have been travelling at the former pace with the former expenditure of energy and so we have enjoyed, Paddy and I, two relatively easy days. The wind has...

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We were due one……

Posted by on 4 September, 2014

06.00 am in Bellevue, Iowa. I suppose we were due a day like this.As some readers will by now have keenly observed, we are ruled to the point of collective OCD by the weather forecasts. We look at several sites constantly – weather.com, Accuweather, Wunderground and the local stations too. We take a basket of opinions (they rarely aver) and then take a view on prevailing and likely conditions. We have been punching a south wind for what seems like days and so have been especially conscious of any major alerts in this regard. We got one...

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In case you had forgotten why we are here…

Posted by on 3 September, 2014

Some of you will have read the story of Richmond, the disabled boy in Ghana whose humanity, humour and spirit inspired me to undertake this madness. If you have not heard the story, may I direct you to the main website and read it there?  But there are hundreds of stories, possibly 1,100,000 such stories, which is the number of children Right To Play is helping every week in some of the most deprived areas on the planet, so I thought I might share one more with you to underscore our reason for being here. When you visit many parts of West...

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Posted by on 3 September, 2014

Look – we don’t get many of these kind of days, so I don’t want any of you lot in the blogosphere making a noise and waking the dragon, ok? On that note, I have received some barbed comments about my propensity to anthropomorphise the Mississippi. I do not deny it. In fact, I rather like it and I also like to extend this to the idea that this dragon might just be gaining a little respect for us. In any event, today was one of those quiet days with very little wind and almost mirror-like conditions for a 34 mile section to...

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