Posts Tagged ‘Sabbatical’

A little video to say thank you to all those special people who made our little trip possible, who wished us well, who inspired us along the way and of course, who made such generous donations to our charities.

There are so many people to thank and sorry if we have missed anyone!

The fabulous total raised now stands at £11,800 (including Gift Aid this should climb to over £14,000).


Andy and Geoff


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Well, a little later than advertised (2.30pm) on Thursday, Geoff and I paddled into Portscatho Harbour, let off a couple of smoke flares, jumped out the boats and gave each other a big hug. But the biggest hugs and kisses were for Sue and Tanya.

2,318 miles, 115 days, 92 paddling days, around 2 million paddle strokes (no we didn’t count). Job done, expedition over.

We had paddled to Portloe on Wednesday night and caught a glimpse of Portscatho in the distance between Gull Rock and Nare Head. Just for a moment we discussed just pushing on and landing to surprise everyone but that was just for a moment. We were looking forward to a couple of beers on our last night in the knowledge that we only had 5 miles to go and of course seeing all our families and friends.

That night we washed, changed and slept on two benches pretty much in full view of the village. Sorry about that Portloe but we were demob happy and didn’t care! The next morning after breakie and a chat with a few residents and holiday makers we launched. To our surprise we got 3 cheers from them as we left. We were both in tears as we paddled out of the harbour.

We had plenty of time so we paddled round Gull Rock and waited for some friends who said they would meet us to paddle in the last few miles. Mike Greenslade, who was so much part of the expedition early on, Simon Osborne, from Sea Kayaking Cornwall who coached both of Geoff and I to get ready for this expedition, and his fiancé  Roz Leahy. To our surprise John Shaw, Zoe and Pete Shepherd also paddled out to meet us. A couple of motor boats (sorry no names) joined too. So that was our amazing little flotilla as we made the last few miles.

As we got close to the harbour we could see the crowd that had gathered. I think we were more nervous than we had been all trip. Such an amazing welcome. Better than we had ever imagined.

Thank you all so much!!

Sorry we couldn’t get round and say hello and thanks to all of you!

It may take us both a little while to adjust and certainly a few days to clean and repair all the kit. I may just write a couple more reflective blogs as we get used to life back on land. But in the meantime thanks for following our journey. It’s great to be home!


(Photos courtesy of Mary Alice Pollard http://www.justnicephotos.co.uk/ and Simon Osborne Sea Kayaking Cornwall)





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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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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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A big thank you to MooD International who have just made a very generous donation to our charities.  MooD International are Mike Greenslade’s employer and have already donated in a sense by allowing Mike to have the time away from work to take part in this expedition.  The GB360 Team are all very grateful for this latest contribution to our sponsorship.


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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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The GB360 Team are thrilled to say that donations to our charitable causes have now reached over £5,000 – and we haven’t even set off yet!  Thank you to all of you for your generosity.

Just a reminder that all of the money that you donate goes direct to the charities. The costs of the expedition itself are being met by the three of us, with some generous support of gear and food from a number of organisations – visit our Friends and Supporters page for details.

If you haven’t sponsored us yet, and want to, then click on the link on the right. We are supporting five very worthy causes and whatever you can give will make a big difference – thank you!

Andy, Geoff and Mike

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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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….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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What better way to spend the first day of a year-long sabbatical.  Got up at 4am, but instead of climbing into a pile of emails, I climbed into the car and drove down the A3 and headed for Hayling Island with the sea kayak.  (Stopped off for a pee at the Liphook services on the way – by far the cleanest and most pleasant service station toilets I have ever visited!).  I launched near the fun fair mid way along the south coast.  Perfect conditions for a very gentle paddle – 18 degrees, force 3/4 from NW, 10KM visibility, negligible swell.  As I set off I took few minutes to watch the sail boats out in the Solent over towards Cowes.  Would have been a great day for a crossing – but maybe later in July!

Tried out my new gadget on this trip too – the Garmin Etrex.  Which told me that 14.1 miles and 3hrs and 38mins later I had completed the circumnavigation.  Thought that was enough work to justify a cheese ham toastie before heading back into London in time to watch Andy Murray lose to Nadal.  A traditional Wimbledon summer then.

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