Two ex-British canoeing athletes are near completion of a marathon paddle around the islands of Lewis and Harris – in a bid to raise awareness of the impact of plastic in the sea.

Tommy Brady and David Bain want to promote a more sustainable future through their ‘Waves of Sustainability’ initiative, which has brought them from their homes in London to the Western Isles.

They planned to cover 460km of coastline, setting out last weekend (Saturday 4th May) and still on course to complete the feat early next week, although heavy northerly swell on Wednesday encouraged them to take an unscheduled rest day. Along the route they’ve been showcasing the increasing problem of plastic pollution by collecting rubbish from isolated coves and well-known beaches.

Having represented team GB and won medals at World and European championships, Brady and Bain wanted to push their skills to the limit and bring international attention to the epic scale of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans. Their task has showcased how widespread the problem is around the islands’ coast, with no remote spot free from washed-up bottles, nets, rope and other plastic debris.

Tommy Brady said: “Single use plastics don’t just go to landfill. They litter the ocean and even the most remote places. We’re finding so much washed-up on really remote beaches. Me and David cleared this beach (pictured) and packed three bin bags to the nearest road, where our support driver (my dad, Nick Brady) took it away to the local recycling centre. We can all do our bit to reduce single use plastics - but government legislators have a role to play too!”

You can follow Tommy and David’s progress on Twitter via @tommybrady7@davidpbain

Pictures from Tommy Brady