INTREPID fundraiser Dan Howie was all at sea on his 29th birthday – and there’s nowhere he’d rather have been.

As the big day dawned this morning (Tuesday, January 7), he was bobbing about on a 23ft boat in the middle of the Atlantic, more than 1,000 miles from the nearest land.

And with little time to celebrate, he spent most of the day sweating hard in the back-breaking routine of rowing his way to the Caribbean.

Mr Howie, from Little Smeaton, near Northallerton, is taking part in Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge - one of the toughest endurance challenges on the planet.

Together with his rowing partner Will North he is now more than half-way through the exhausting 3,000-mile journey from the Canary Islands to Antigua, battling high winds and 40ft swells.

“Who would have thought I would be mid Atlantic with on a small rowing boat to see in my 29th birthday?” he asked during a brief break from rowing.

“It’s pretty awesome. I have a few cards and a couple of small presents to open which I’m greatly looking forward too as well as phoning home and hearing an update on our fundraising amounts.”

Mr Howie, a chartered surveyor in normal life, added: “Thank you to everyone who has supported us, each donation helps us with every stroke.”

He and Mr North, a headhunter from London, set off on their epic journey along with 15 other crews on December 4 and soon hit a fearsome storm that had all the boats battening down their hatches as they were battered non-stop for three days.

The weather is now calmer and conditions more favourable but there is no let up on board as the pair continue to row in two-hour shifts for 24 hours a day.

Meanwhile, back on land, their fundraising continues with donations to their chosen charities now nearing the £100,000 mark.

They are aiming to raise as close to £200,000 as possible for Cancer Research, Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research and St. Anna’s – a small charity which houses and schools underprivileged children in Ghana.

To find out more about extreme challenge visit