In 2016 Andy Bartlett became the first person to standup paddle board the length of the Danube River. From its source in the small German town of Donaueschingen through 10 countries and 4 capital cites to its meeting with the Black Sea in Romania. With Kate Davis along side him for much of the journey, they started paddling at the beginning of March. For the first week they experienced extreme low temperatures, high water levels, fast moving currents and ultimately safety concerns that became impossible to ignore. Temporarily pausing their journey for 7 weeks they returned on the 1st of May to the exact spot they had left from and continued the adventure.
What followed was a journey that would involve countless acts of kindness, epic scenery, tired bodies and broken boards. Support from strangers, a paddle through the iron curtain and stories they never thought would form part of the experience as Andy was physically
attacked and the discovery of a corpse floating in the river.
Start - Donaueschingen, Germany
Finish - Danube Delta, Romania
Distance - 3000km
Countries Travelled Through
Germany, Austria, Slovakia,
Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria,
Romania, Moldova, Ukraine.
Capital Cities Visited
Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, Belgrade
Use the map to see where Andy stopped each night and the route the adventure took.
What? In 2016 Andy Bartlett become the first person to standup paddle board the length of the Danube River from source to sea with his paddle partner Kate Davis with him for a large part of the journey. From the Black Forest of Germany through 10 countries, 4 capital cities & 3000km to the shores of the Black Sea in Ukraine 90 days later.
When? Flying from London to Stuttgart on the 1st of March to start the journey in Donaueschingen it was anticipated the adventure would take 90 days. As with many challenges things did not go to plan.
Why? Andy has a love of exploration and water but wanted to step away from the safe and familiar kayaks, hiking and bikes. Stand up paddle boarding is a wonderful challenge; he would be forced to move slower than usual and it would push his body & mind as he paddle for many hours, days and weeks.
Life and communities are often centred around water and on this journey they passed through some of the most beautiful cities in the world, but also through the stunningly diverse wild landscapes. Rivers certainly aren’t a cosy bed, they are a living and wild power of nature, but they do install the age-old human instinct to explore, to see and to try new things.
Their vision was to share the journey through blog posts, pictures, and video footage whilst not losing that incredible privilege of being off the beaten track and narrowing their horizon to the running water and living scenery around them.
Water Aid work with local partners and communities to improve access to water and sanitation and promote good hygiene. They campaign and engage decision-makers to bring about a world where everyone, everywhere has these essentials by 2030.
Kate & Andy were excited to partner with WaterAid as part of their journey to play a small part helping make this mission a reality.
We were blessed that so many companies, individuals & communities have given us support to make this idea a reality.
Whether through advice, sponsorship, equipment or hugs they have all been brilliant.