Former BBC journalist excited about paddle adventure

Former BBC journalist excited about paddle adventure

9 June 2021

FORMER BBC political correspondent Mark Devenport is to launch a new adventure by canoe on the St Patrick’s Way — reuniting with his former colleague Martina Purdy.

Mark Devenport, who left the BBC last autumn after almost 20 years as political editor, said he was looking forward to the St Patrick Centre experience.

“Martina and I were used to reporting on politicians who often seemed to be up the creek without a paddle,” he said. “Martina assures me I will have two paddles for the adventure on the River Quoile.” 

Ms Purdy, who became a pilgrim guide on St Patrick’s Way, said she was sure her ex-boss could handle the three-mile walk and three miles of canoeing. 

“Mark has had bigger challenges trying to make sense 

of our politics,” she said. “St Patrick’s Way is a great place to distress after 35 years at the BBC.

“I know he has a keen sense of history so he will enjoy not just the beauty of the countryside but the amazing heritage.”

Dr Tim Campbell, director of the St Patrick Centre, said he had tested the waters himself on St Patrick’s Way.

“It was incredibly refreshing. I’ve walked along the Quoile many times but seeing Inch Abbey and Down Cathedral from the water is a totally different experience,” he remarked.

The canoeing adventure is a partnership between the St Patrick Centre and Mobile Team Adventure, led by John Hubbucks, who, like Mark, is an Oxford man. 

They will be joined by pilgrim guide Elaine Kelly, who is a former barrister.

“This will be our first pilgrimage by water,” she said. “The last time I saw Mark he was riding the political waves at Stormont. We look forward to showing him a few fun waves at the Quoile. It’s awesome.”

The canoeing adventure includes an IMAX film experience, the Story of St Patrick, a guided walk and canoeing adventure, a visit to Saul Church, Down Cathedral and St Patrick’s Grave, and lunch at The Barn at Saul.