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Archive for the ‘Sabbatical’ Category

Last Friday, Geoff and I paddled into Cullercoats harbour. This was a very special milestone for me as just down the road live my brother in law, Roger and his partner, Salome and her amazing children, Cameron and Caitlin.

We made it a short paddling day so we could spend some time with them and also so that we could get a wash on too!

But what made this particular stopover even more special is that we had timed it perfectly to see Salome and Roger’s new baby boy, Noah. What a cutie! Noah that is not Roger.

Can’t believe how good Salome looked after only 48 hours after having given birth!

The guys looked after us so well and even organised with Frank and Ben at the local RNLI station to store our kayaks for us! Thanks Frank and Ben and was great chatting to you on Saturday morning.

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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.

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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

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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:

 

 

 

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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…..

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So, only two days to go … and I cannot wait!  Probably not the reaction you’d expect from a loving and supportive wife, but this might help clarify things:

  • the guest room will revert back to being to a guest room and will no longer be a kit and exercise room
  • no more packages to sign for – the constant doorbell-ringing also makes George bark, incessantly
  • no more hearing him whinge about niggles, old and new
  • no more wondering what all the grunting and groaning is coming from the garden and the shed – fortunately its just him huffing and puffing while exercising
  • no more ‘would you help me carry the kayak through the cottage’ – bearing in mind the kayak is almost 18ft long, always drips water and sand, and is not the most manoeuvrable of things
  • I will become top dog

I could carry on, but I won’t.  It is all of these things (and more) which, actually, will make me miss him so much.  Even writing this makes me tearful (get a grip TB), but I am so proud of Andy.  This trip has been months in the planning, and he has been training religiously to make himself as strong and as fit as he can be.  It is important for him that his body doesn’t let him down, and he also won’t want to let Geoff and Mike down – and not to mention everyone who is supporting them and of course the charities they are hoping to raise lots of £’s for.  I’m not too worried about the actual paddling, it’s the other stuff that wakes me up at night, like, will he get a good night’s sleep;  will he stay injury-free;  will the weather be kind to them;  and I hope no-one steals the kayak!

I cannot wait for the day I see him appear from around Nare Head – I’ll be the one on Tatums Beach in floods of tears and popping open the champagne.  I’m sure this trip will be a life-changing experience, I’m just hoping it doesn’t make him want to do it again – his Mum won’t be happy!  But then again, at least I’ll know what to expect.

Good luck honey.  Be safe, be strong, but most of all, have fun.  Love you, xxx

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Well, a year in the planning so what’s an extra couple of days?  Sadly the forecast for Sunday is looking pretty awful – Force 7 (gusting gale Force 8), so we’ve made the call to delay setting off till Tuesday 1st May.  Really sorry if you had hoped to join us down on Tatums Beach to say cheerio on Sunday but we hope you can still pop down on Tuesday.  We’ll be there from 11.15 am and will be heading off around midday.

Andy, Geoff, Mike

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Tanya and I spent last Saturday with family and friends at a surprise farewell gathering in Rowledge Village Hall in Surrey – where my folks and sister and her family live.  So much laughter and fun (as you’ll see in the photos), amazing food and fantastic company – a perfect way to say cheerio.  When I’m having a tough day out on the water, I’ll remember that afternoon and everyone’s good luck messages. Thank you so much for a fabulous send off!

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You may remember that “Look what we found!”, the environment and local farmer friendly food company, very generously agreed to provide us with some of their fantastic ready meals for our 2,500 miles around Britain.

Mike, Geoff and I liked them so much we’ve made them the staple diet for our expedition – that along with porridge and chocolate!  We now have 120 ready meals waiting to be boxed up and sent to strategic points around the coast to top up our supplies on the way round.

However, this week we decided to try out a selection of the meals on perhaps the most discerning of palates – that of Freya ‘Egon Ronay’ Poppy, my six-year-old god-daughter who knows what she likes, AND what she doesn’t.

Freya "Egon Ronay" Poppy with her meatballs

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On 29th April 2012, Geoff Cater, Mike Greenslade and myself will set off in our kayaks from Tatums Beach, Portscatho on the Cornish south coast.  We’ll turn right at the harbour wall and with some hard paddling, some reasonable weather and a lot of luck, we’ll appear again on the horizon just beside the impressive Gull Rock that dominates the view across Gerrans Bay some 100 or so days later.

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