THE Bolton Atlantic Challenge rowers were treated to a fish feast fit for kings at the Olympus Fish and Chip Restaurant to celebrate the end of their epic journey to Antigua.
Mark Brocklehurst, aged 52, Matt Nuttall, aged 44, Nick Griffiths, aged 42, each tucked into a 16oz giant cod with chips and peas on Monday.
Family members also joined the banquet, which was arranged by restaurant owner Tasos Pattichis, who had invited the men for the meal while they were at sea after reading about their craving for fish and chips in The Bolton News.
The rowers, along with Finn Christo, aged 32, who could not make the feast, battled nearly 10 weeks of treacherous weather and encountered severe hunger — each losing about two stone — during their 3,000-mile trip.
They were competing in the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge charity race against 17 teams from around the world to raise £250,000 towards a junior mentoring project for Bolton Lads and Girls Club.
After their meal, they met up with Mr Christo and his wife, Lei Wang, who have just been told they are expecting a girl on June 25, and made their way to Bolton Town Hall for a celebratory civic reception with the Mayor and Mayoress of Bolton, Cllr Colin Shaw and his wife Dee.
Mr Brocklehurst said: “For me, coming back to normal life has been great.
"While at sea, we were dreaming about all the sorts of food we wanted to eat, but fish and chips is the traditional English meal, so we were thinking about it quite a lot.”
Mr Griffiths added: “I can’t believe how big the fish was. I grinned from ear to ear when I heard that Tasos had offered to put on this spread for us.
“It will certainly help with my weight gain. Since coming back the beard has gone but the weight is nicely back on.”
Mr Nuttall said: “I was really looking forward to this fish. It’s the perfect northern dish and it has definitely lived up to its name. It was enormous.”
Mr Pattichis added: “it was an absolute pleasure to have the lads around. The four of them put their lives at risk selflessly to help finance a local charity and it was an honour to have them here.”