Record-breaking MacLean brothers win Atlantic race to help Argyll charity

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Three brothers with strong Argyll connections have smashed records as they won a trans-Atlantic rowing challenge.

And they crossed the finish line playing the bagpipes.

Ewan, Jamie and Lachlan MacLean from Edinburgh were raising money to provide clean water for thousands of people through Feedback Madagascar, a charity set up by Craignish man Jamie Spencer.

On Thursday December 12, Team BROAR pulled away from La Gomera in the Canary Islands on their way to Antigua in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

They were on the open Atlantic Ocean for five weeks, but after all their efforts Team BROAR won the trio class and were placed third overall in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

Their goal was to become the first three brothers to row any ocean and to raise £250,000 for two good causes – Argyll charity Feedback Madagascar and Children 1st.

The crossing was expected to take between 40 to 60 days across shark-infested waters and busy shipping lanes.

One and a half million oar strokes later, they travelled 3,000 miles across the open Atlantic Ocean in an incredible 35 days 9 hours and 9 minutes to complete their epic voyage on January 16.

They set three world records; they are the first three brothers to row any ocean, the fastest trio to row across the Atlantic and the youngest trio to row across the Atlantic.

As part of their training, the brothers rowed 300 miles up the west coast ‘pillaging’ whisky from distilleries to raise money for the charity, with whisky donated by distilleries from Lochranza on Arran to Talisker on Skye, via Islay, Jura, Crinan, Oban, Mull and Ardnamurchan.

The donated whisky will be made into a unique ‘BROAR Blend’ by a team of experts, led by their father, whisky writer and star of ‘The Angels’ Share’ Charles MacLean. This unique and limited edition ‘BROAR Blend’ will be sold to raise money for Feedback Madagascar.

Facing wind, rain, huge waves, fatigue and battery problems, the brothers rowed day and night, repeating shifts of two hours of rowing and one hour of rest.

As they reached Antigua, Jamie MacLean produced his pipes to cross the finishing line in style.

Eldest brother Ewan said: ‘We were on the same page the whole way across, and I think the fact that we’re brothers meant we didn’t have any falling-outs. We were all pushing at the same time, so it worked out really well.’

So far the MacLean brothers’ efforts have raised £107,000 through online fundraising. To support the record-breaking Team BROAR, visit virginmoneygiving.com/Team/Broar