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Mum who rowed 3,000-miles across Atlantic now planning dry land adventure with son

A mum-of-two who has just completed a solo row across the Atlantic Ocean is already planning another adventure – but this time she’s staying on dry land and will be joined by one of her young sons.

Leanne Maiden, 42, was reunited with her family at the weekend after completing The World’s Toughest Row race.

Ms Maiden spent 66 days at sea – rowing 3,000 nautical miles from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua in the Caribbean.

During the epic quest she navigated 20ft waves, swinging temperatures, and overcame a capsized boat.

As well as sleep deprivation and salt sores, the osteopath also had to conquer the psychological challenge of being on her own for more than two months.

Ms Maiden, who lives in Bearsden in East Dunbartonshire, became the first South African woman to achieve the feat.

Leanne Maiden. Pic: The World’s Toughest Row
Image: Ms Maiden says she will walk the West Highland Way with her eldest son this summer. Pic: The World’s Toughest Row

Speaking to Sky News, she said: “The buzz I got from finishing the race was so unbelievable – I can’t see why I’d not do something like that every year.

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“In that moment you just forget all the pain that you were in during the race and the tears you cried and the really dark days. It was just absolutely euphoric.”

Ms Maiden was met at the finish line by husband Craig and sons Blair, seven, and Ruaridh, eight.

Leanne Maiden. Pic: The World’s Toughest Row
Image: Ms Maiden was met at the finish line by her family. Pic: The World’s Toughest Row

Ms Maiden is yet to organise another row but is planning to walk Scotland’s 96-mile West Highland Way with Ruaridh this summer.

She added: “For now, I’m going to enjoy the rest of my holiday after 66 days at sea and I’m going to focus on being a mother.”

Ms Maiden said she’s “very much a ‘yes’ person” and the experience had changed her life.

She added: “I definitely want to live my life to the fullest and experience more. I don’t want to waste a single second or a single moment. I feel so lucky to be alive and to live on this earth.”

Leanne Maiden. Pic: The World's Toughest Row
Image: Ms Maiden, who lives in Bearsden in East Dunbartonshire, became the first South African woman to achieve the feat. Pic: The World’s Toughest Row

Ms Maiden’s row has so far raised more than £8,400 for three charities – The Polar Academy, Women’s Fund for Scotland and The Mabel Foundation.

She said: “Thinking of the three incredible charities I was rowing for kept me going during the toughest times.

“The first week was incredibly difficult – I began to question whether I’d make it – but after that I got into the groove and began to enjoy the solitude of the experience, and all the personal growth that came with this crazy journey.”

Leanne Maiden. Pic: The World’s Toughest Row
Image: Ms Maiden before her trip. Pic: The World’s Toughest Row

Ms Maiden said she would never have taken on the challenge had it not been for the COVID lockdown.

She said: “Like many others, COVID gave me a chance to reassess and think about what’s important in life.

“When I heard about this challenge, I really did think it was now or never. I’m so glad I bit the bullet and just went for it.

“There were so many reasons not to do it, but there are always so many reasons to not do something. That mindset stops you from taking big leaps that can change your life for the better.”

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Ms Maiden’s trip was sponsored by Wolfcraig Distillers.

Director Jamie Lunn said: “To see her wearing her Wolfcraig cap as she arrived is one of our proudest moments as a company.

“We’re so proud to support Leanne during her charity row and to be associated with her.

“She’s taken everything that’s been thrown at her in her stride and we’re looking forward to enjoying a few well deserved Wolfcraig drams to celebrate once with her once she’s back on home soil.”

Sky News Source