Archive for the ‘Charity Fundraising’ Category

What a great day!

Today Geoff and I had seven visitors who all popped down to say hello and wish us well for the final few days. It was lovely to see them all and there was much hilarity.

Geoff’s sister, Jane and Mum, Audrey had driven down from Avoncliffe

My brother Mike, his daughter, Hannah and her friend Frankie had dropped in on their way back from a holiday down in Cornwall.

And what a surprise. A friend of Tanya’s from South Africa, Helen, who now lives in Dorset and her friend Bruce, dropped by to say hi and wish us well. Tanya and Helen haven’t seen each other since Tanya was 13 (and that was some time ago!)

Thank you all so much guys it was a lovely day and now that we’re on our way again tomorrow you’ve set us up nicely for the final few days!!








Read Full Post »

No doubt you’ll have notice the rather unseasonable winds that the South West is experiencing at the moment. That and the fact that we have to negotiate Portland Bill races next have meant we’re off the water till probably Saturday morning. We had hoped to be home by Sunday but it is now looking like our arrival will be delayed till Wednesday or Thursday next week.

In the meantime guess what we’re up to….






Read Full Post »

Six days since we rounded the corner at Dover and only 160 miles left to do. We had been making cracking progress knocking out more than 30 miles a day and then our old friend, the wind, decided to put in another unseasonable appearance.

We navigated along the coast from Dover to Bexhill in thick fog banks, Force 5 and 6 easterlies blew us round Selsey Bill and up the beach at Hayling Island.

We picked our way through literally 1000s of sailing boats, kite and wind surfers and the odd ferry and tanker in the Solent whilst slogging against a Force 4 gusting 5. Indeed at one point we had to hold station by a channel marker buoy whilst ferries passed either side of us.

We were stunned by how beautiful Beachy Head and the Seven Sisters are from the sea.

We pushed into Bournemouth still with stiff headwinds. The sun was out so we thought it would be a good opportunity to dry kit out in the sunshine and shop for provisions. Of course when we got into town the heavens opened and soaked all our kit. We felt sorry for ourselves, and I questioned what Geoff must have done in a previous life to bring this luck upon us!

Pulling on wet kit we paddled to Swanage past the amazing Old Harry Rocks. We had a chat with the Sailing Club there who kindly let us sleep in their boat yard. We rigged up the most sophisticated tarp system yet to keep the rain off.

It was a tough few days but at least the miles kept tumbling.

Yesterday morning we arrived in Lulworth Cove (along with about a million other people). We could see HMS Bullmark patrolling the Olympic sailing area. A reminder that we need to plot our course carefully over to Portland Bill, around a 12 mile crossing, or we could find ourselves in a spot of bother.

Because of the serious tidal conditions around Portland Bill we have to get the timings right – around a two hour window during the ebb tide. Unfortunately the winds are not playing fair and have pinned us down in Lulworth.

So for only the fourth time on this expedition we have given in to the elements and booked into a B&B. We have both had showers for the first time since north of Newcastle (whether we needed them or not!) and I’m sure the residents of this pretty Dorset Village are grateful.

Slightly disappointed to be held up yet again, but excited by the prospect of paddling into Portscatho Harbour next Tuesday (hopefully!)




Read Full Post »

After an eventful couple of days crossing the Thames Estuary we’re in Deal. Tomorrow morning we’ll be turning right for the last time and start the home straight. Just 350 miles to go!

These photos show what the south coast is all about for us. Relaxed paddling, cafe stops and more cafe stops. For some strange reason we feel more comfortable sitting outside. We have gotten used to people looking at us funny.


Read Full Post »

A few blogs ago, when we were somewhere at the top of Britain, I wrote about the West of England MS Therapy Centre, one of the charities we are supporting. In this little blog I say a little more about two of the others we are also supporting: Over The Wall and Help For Heroes.

Over The Wall

Over The Wall is a national children’s charity. It’s purpose is to provide life-changing experiences to children and young people aged 8-17 who are affected by serious and life limiting illnesses. They do this by offering free activity camps specifically developed to foster coping, resilience, self-esteem and confidence. Campers get a chance to take part in the sort of games and adventures that they are usually excluded from because their school can’t cope with their medical challenges or perhaps because they have been hospitalised for a long time.

Having volunteered for this charity for several years, Tanya and I have experienced first hand how life changing the camps can be for the families and for the volunteers too. But don’t take my word for it, here is what some of them have said:

“You all made me feel like a normal boy, and I loved that because at my school the kids don’t treat me like that. I’d love camp to last forever, if my Nan could come too.”
– Camper

“The camp was one of the best experiences that Matthew has had I have never seen him so enthused! He came home and said at school nobody wants him in their team but at camp he found a team that accepted people for who they are without prejudice. A fantastic time.” – Parent

“Once again a huge Thank You to all involved, especially the volunteers. My nephew is going to apply to volunteer as he was very much affected by Ellie’s chat. Ellie had a fantastic time she clearly felt respected for being ‘her’ which doesn’t always happen in school. She was full of chat too about all aspects of camp. The whole ethos clearly lends itself to making a life changing camp, volunteers are well chosen.” – Parent

“ The Over The Wall camp is the best thing that has ever happened to us as a family.”-Parent – Scotland Camp

Help for Heroes

Help for Heroes perhaps needs less introduction as to it’s purpose and motivation. But I think these quotes illustrate nicely the many ways in which it has made a very real difference to service men and women’s lives.

Thank you so much for the road bike that was funded for me via Battle Back. Physical activity and exercise has always played a huge role in my life and now, after 3 ½ years of hospital treatment and rehabilitation, I can look forward to keeping fit and taking on a few challenges. The bike will be central to those efforts. So, thank you to Help for Heroes for their generosity to me personally and also, with my ‘senior calamity’ hat on, for the quite tremendous practical support it provides every day for some very damaged but special young Servicemen and women and their families. They deserve nothing less and when H4H is involved, will receive nothing less. Thank you!

The support that has been given to me by Help for Heroes is very overwhelming from financing a picture framing course and examination to the building of my workshop.

Help for Heroes have helped me and others get back into an active lifestyle, whether it be things like RAAM or the BBBR. They have also helped me with funding for equipment etc.

I am truly grateful for the support I have received from Help for Heroes, it has enabled me to compete as an international athlete, which I would never have thought possible.

Support from little gestures to large scale projects that have helped me through rehab. An amazing support network for me and my family! A true ‘Band of Brothers.’

H4H has given me and other Service personnel the opportunities to try new things and to see other soldiers with serious injuries, both different and similar to my own, striving under adversity, has given me the confidence to move forward and remains a constant reminder of who we are. We are different! H4H has recognised that fact and given us all a chance to be the very best we can post injury! I hope that I can continue to be an inspiration and mentor to other soldiers who are coming to terms with life changing injuries.

To me, Help for Heroes means love, support and friendship.

If you can help us in any way to help these two charities continue to make a difference please click on our donate button on our blog menu.


Read Full Post »

Not today we’re not!

Left Whitby an managed 6 miles this morning. There we strong gusting headwinds but manageable until we got to Robin Hood Bay and paddled into a brick wall. Constant F6 and gusting F7.

Still another 12 miles to Scarborough and nowhere to stop in between.

30 mins later we are sitting in the shelter of a cliff top cafe overlooking the bay. Kind of surreal that you can be battling such strong winds one minute and then back in the normal world the next.



Read Full Post »

Helen and David Corrigan, who we met in the Harbour at Portsoy on Friday night, very kindly put us up at their home last night. Fantastic to spend a night out of the high winds and rain, lovely home cooked food and company!

But what’s happened to our hairy faces? We woke this morning and it ha all gone. I think Angus and Bruce may have had something to do with it.

Thank you so much guys for looking after us so well!

In the photo from L-R Angus, Geoff, Bruce, Andy


Read Full Post »

Our apologies for the poor quality of this video and we promise to get better ones up in future!!

You may get neck ache watching these….

Part 1:

Part 2:




Read Full Post »

We were up at 4.30am yesterday after an ok night’s sleep on the harbour wall in beautiful Clovelly.  We had a little cover under a walk way but Geoff, who was in his bivvy bag, can confirm that it rained during the night and that the rain was wet on his face.

We paddled 11 miles across Bideford Bay trying to find the figure of 8 stream that a local fisherman had told us about.  He suggested we aimed for the 5 star hotel at Saunton Sands – slightly ironic given our accommodation arrangements.  About 5 miles across the mist came down and we lost sight of land.  We took a bearing and tried to keep the kayaks on a heading of 45 degrees.  Around an hour later and to our delight (and a little surprise) the cloud lifted and hotel was still there – we were on course.

We pulled into Croyde Bay at high tide and thankfully very small surf.  By 10am were in a local holiday park cafe eating an enormous breakfast while we waited for the tide to go out and turn back in our favour.  We wanted to avoid the peak of the tide race around Ilfracombe but still get the benefit of some tidal stream as we completed the last 11 miles.  The downside of this master plan was that it took us 25 minutes to carry the kayaks (each around 100kgs) down to the water.  Mmmm – still figuring out the most efficient strategies.  The split shift (paddle twice a day with the tides) seems to work though  – and suspect we’ll take advantage of this more in the weeks ahead.

We’re now under a roof in the Oceanbackpackers hostel in Ilfracombe and weather bound for a couple of days as we wait for the Bristol Channel crossing – 22 miles to Port Eynon.  We would normally be out in a F5 head wind but not when crossing the Channel.  Best to be safe and we prefer to be conservative with some of our decisions, even if that means adding a few days to our expedition.

So time to eat, wash, dry kit out, let blisters dry out and inspect sore bits and make some funny videos – really sorry we haven’t been able to post any of therm yet we’ve had a few techy problems. But hopefully we’ll get this sorted soon.

We are loving the messages of support – thank you so much!  We are all a little tired and aching but in high spirits and growing more confident by the day that we can do this.

Anyway better go we’ve got a brew on…..

Read Full Post »

Short video of a draughty day at Portscatho! Hope it calms down for the start of our paddle tomorrow. The HomeSeaHome team of Natalie and Michal return to their camping. We’ll see them again tomorrow.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: