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Archive for the ‘Cornwall’ Category

One of the questions I have been asked is what I think the most difficult aspect will be.  Of course paddling for 8-10 hours a day for 100 days will be physically tough, but as a friend of Geoff’s put it – it’ll be the top 2 inches that will be the difference between success and failure.
Paddling on a sunny day in calm seas with perhaps a light wind behind you is one thing, slogging against a Force 5 or 6 for hours or maybe days on end can be soul destroying.

The passenger

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As is so often the case with challenges like this, it all started over a beer.
Geoff and I had just spent a challenging day out on the water paddling between Slapton Sands and Dartmouth.  We had set out that morning with the benefits of all the elements – wind (Force 6), tide and swell.  It was exciting to say the least as we averaged 8 knots into Dartmouth.
Of course with some Ying you also get some Yang.  We could have called the return trip off and got a taxi back to pick up the cars, but we decided to slog it out against the strengthening winds.  It took us 45 minutes to get to Dartmouth, but 2.5 hours to get back!  We both landed almost vertical in our kayaks as the dumping surf got the better of us.  It was one of those days that you don’t enjoy at the time, but as soon as you land, you are filled with a mix of emotions – relief you survived but thrilled that you learnt so much in doing so.

Wish these these things were lighter...

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The round Britain team (Geoff, Mike and myself), spent last weekend at the Sea Kayaking Cornwall Symposium.  Fantastic couple of days meeting up with other paddlers, learning some new skills and a spot of kit envy.  If there was ever a sport designed to attract gadget obsessed men (and I believe we gadget fiends are all male) – then this is surely it.

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So a couple of months before I started my sabbatical, I got an email from Andrew, a friend and colleague, with the simple text “Any interest?” – and a link.  The longest non-stop canoe race in the world it said. Starting in Devizes and finishing just downstream of Westminster Bridge – 125 miles long and 77 portages.  It went on to say that the race is a severe test of skill and stamina……

Of course I was interested, after all, how hard can it be?

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