There’s no place like home for Shropshire rower Kelda
She spent weeks at sea, battling the elements as she crossed the ocean before entering the record books as she crossed the finishing line.
And after Kelda Wood became the first adaptive person ever to row the Atlantic she is now back home in Aston Pigott with the companions she missed the most – her rescue dogs Kipper, Smurf and Hardy and her horses.
“I missed them so much when I was at sea,” said Kelda, 46.
“The first thing I did was to go and pick them up from where they had been staying while I was away and it is wonderful to have them home with me again.
“I am not a sea person, I am much more into mountains and hills. Being at sea was a huge challenge and at first I kept thinking what if: what if the boat capsized? what if I needed help?”
She added: “But then I just thought I needed to use my energy elsewhere.
“I struggled with the solitude but I decided to just take it one day at a time.
“I could not think of the bigger picture. I just kept plodding away and that was my way to work through it.”
She set out on her boat the Storm Petrel from the Canary islands of La Gomera on December 12 with the aim of raising £50,000 for Climbing Out – so far she has reached more than £35,000 – and says it was the thought of the young people back home that kept her going and finally set foot on dry land in Antigua on February 26.
Kelda added: “I never wanted to row an ocean. But I knew that I wanted to stretch myself and raise awareness so I had to do something that was outside of my comfort zone.
“I found it really hard but that was the whole point of it.
“When people were saying I was halfway there or I had ‘only’ 400 nautical miles to go I struggled. I still had a challenge ahead of me. I couldn’t relax and I had no choice. I just had to deal with it.
“I spent a lot of my time worrying about the what ifs. But it was not doing me any favours and was a waste of my energy.
“I trained hard for the row, I put on 5kg beforehand starting out and then lost 3kg when I was at sea, so I am on a diet now I am home. My body was conditioned to working well day to day.
“I managed myself well out there. I just ate sensibly: three high calorie meals a day and then nuts and snack bars. I know my body and I was fit and ready for the row.”
Now she is home and has thrown herself back in to work.
She said: “It’s now just a question of making the most of that momentum.
“It was all about the charity, so that was focus at sea and is now.”
Kelda has severely limited mobility in her left leg was crushed in an accident 17 years ago, which brought a promising career as an equestrian to an end.
Before the accident, she had hopes of representing her country in the Olympics.
While her disability cruelly dashed those hopes, she now helps others going through similar experiences by founding the Climbing Out charity for people aged 16-30 who have been through a life changing injury, illness or trauma.
Kelda has gone on to represent Great Britain as a member of the GB Paracanoe squad, however, having just missed out on selection for the Paralympic Games in Rio, she was then selected as a member of the Adaptive Grand Slam Team who were attempting to climb Aconcagua, the highest peak in South America.
On January, 19 2017, she became the first recorded adaptive female to summit the mountain.
To donate visit climbingout.org.uk