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Posts Tagged ‘Britain’

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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Just four weeks to go before we head off and the last bits of kit have arrived.  Yesterday I spent the day stuffing all the gear into dry bags and figuring out the best way to pack the kayak.  It reminded me of trying to complete one of those puzzles you sometimes get in Christmas crackers – where you have a plastic frame with 14 numbers that can slide around but only one space free.

"My shoes wouldn't even fit in here!"

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Geoff and I recently had our NDK Explorer kayaks smartened up by Andy Willcocks of ASW Boatbuilders.

Our kayaks are around three years old and whilst still in great structural condition, the gel coat was beginning to show the signs of wear and tear – hundreds of launches and landings on sand and rocks and more than a few misjudged ‘rock hopping’ manoeuvres.  We wanted to make sure that the kayaks are in great condition before we set off.

Repairing the gelcoat

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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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One the GB360 Team gets married this afternoon. Mike and Caroline are finally tying the knot at St Mawes Castle.  As Tanya hunted through her wardrobe this morning trying on several outfits asking for my expert advice on each, I made a clumsy remark about never finding a man struggling with what colour to wear or what shoes to go for.  Tanya gently reminded me just how many hours I spent looking at the Kokatat catalogue and just how many phone calls and emails there were between me, Mike and Geoff before we could finally settle on our expedition kit.  Ok, good point.  I may not worry so much about my shore clothes but when it comes to looking the part on the water and feeling safe and warm – well that’s another matter altogether.

Our yummy Kokatat gear has arrived and this week Geoff and I got together for a couple of days paddling to get some miles in and test the new gear.

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A post with a bit of a serious theme this one.  When we talk about the trip to friends and family, after the initial “you are joking right?”, the conversation quickly turns to how we plan to keep safe through out 2,500 mile paddle.  We have prepared a full risk assessment and will be talking this through with the Coastguard before we leave – below is an extract from it.

Safety kit carried by each paddler in their PFD (Personal Flotation Device) or within easy reach - cockpit or day hatch

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The round Britain team are absolutely thrilled to announce that Kokatat, have agreed to be the official sponsor for our paddling gear.  For those that don’t know the company – it focuses on paddle sport clothing and equipment and has an enviable reputation for quality. Based in California since it was established 40 years ago, and named after the Native American word for ‘into the water’, they are easily the most highly regarded manufacturer of kayaking kit.

When we were seeking advice from some of the UK’s top sea kayakers about which kit which should go for, Kokatat was the name that kept being mentioned. Both Geoff and I have purchased some of their kit before and the advice we got reinforced our own views that we ought not to use anything else on this trip.  With 100 days and 2,500 miles of paddling – the last thing you want to worry about is your kit letting you down.

Once the new kit arrives we’ll post some photos, tell you about how it shapes up in training and on the expedition itself.  Can’t wait!

 

 

 

 

 

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….either way, the GB360 team met up recently to start to pull together the route plan for the journey.  Surely all we need to do is set off from Cornwall and keep turning right?  Well at one level that’s accurate but if we want to keep safe and make the most of tidal streams there is a whole lot of detail to plan.

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Half the fun of the round Britain expedition is all the planning that needs to go into it in advance.  Not least it provides the perfect excuse to purchase some new kit and some fancy gadgets.  This is the list we are currently working to.  Hope to have all this together by the end of January – that should keep the Postie busy for the next few weeks (and our wallets)!

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