It seems like yesterday that I was saying we have eight months to go, now it’s less than two weeks! All through the last 12 months I have been living, breathing and sleeping all things Paddle of Britain and it is now almost time to set off.
I will not lie: the planning has been tough. With reccies, kit practices, trolley designs, route changes, nutrition plans and packing and unpacking over and over again. However, I now have everything in place and feel totally ready to take on the Paddle of Britain. This blog is to share with you the finer points of what I will be doing and how I’ve got here.
Support and logistics
Many people have questioned the support that I will have and need. In general terms it is designed as a self-sufficient challenge. I will not have a support crew alongside me all the way. However, every 7 days I’ll be met by volunteers who will supply me with my next 7 days of food, that has been batched up and given to them by my good wife. It is impossible to carry more than 7 days’ worth in the boat, so these re-supply points are crucial. I have been incredibly lucky with the support from good friends, so we have the Northern re-supplies all sorted.
At around 250 miles in my good friend Matt from Primal Bushcraft will be meeting me at Loch Lomond with a small camp set up with food on the go ready for me, this will be a big morale boost! Many people have asked how they can help. For the most part to see a familiar face and hear a cheer from someone I know will make a huge difference (especially if they have a bacon butty in their hand!) I have documented the route and whilst I do not know the timings for sure, I have estimated the dates I’ll be passing through places to the best of my knowledge. I will also have a tracking device and will be posting a link on my social media pages, so you can check in at any time and see how I am doing.
Training and preparation
I have been keeping my training varied and consistent, with a mixture of strength training (more than usual) and of course just getting out in the kayak fully loaded and getting some miles in. To be honest I am feeling well conditioned and raring to go. I have been trying to put some weight on in advance, but it’s proving tricky with the additional training and there is only so many “Carters” sausage rolls that my stomach can take.
As part of the training, I took part in one of the hardest physical events I have ever encountered, known as the Ireland C2C Extreme! One word – WOW! The race was non-stop from one end of Ireland to the other, consisting of a 60 mile road bike, 17 miles of Kayaking, followed by another 90 miles of road bike before finishing off with 20 miles of running… up to the highest mountain in Ireland!! This was 28 hours of brutal, hard work but I knew the race would toughen me up and serve as invaluable training for the Paddle of Britain. I was not wrong.
I have also been spending some long days in the kayak out on the sea around the Farne Islands and on some stunning inland lakes. Paddling the kayak – fully loaded – in different weather conditions has been a crucial part of my preparations.
I have already had so much support, from family, friends and our special clients from Northern Bootcamp. I feel very humbled by this and especially by my sponsors, who have made this possible.
There are so many individuals that I am grateful to and the sponsors who have helped below:
- Technical clothing provided by (NPS Engineering group)
- High calorie food provided by (Wilson Grey consultants)
- The kayak- aka “Tommy” provided by (Fairfield house)
- Trolley and design provided by ( Klever)
- Welding work (G fabrications)
- High speciation Kayak paddle (High Adventure)
- Solar charging equipment (Mobile solar chargers)
- Garmin GPS in-reach tracker provided by (Bournemouth Avionics)
- Overnight camp and feeding station on Loch Lomond (Primal Bushcraft)
We have had some great media coverage so far from local newspapers, radio and TV!
Finally, a massive thanks to John, Esme, Ethan and Luke at Social Communications for pulling this all together. They’ve boosted my media presence by producing a great website and a fantastic video, all pro bono!