3 February 2006

Doing the DW

I remember hearing about the Devizes to Westminster canoe race when I was about fifteen and thinking it would be a fantastic challenge. At the time I was obsessed with paddling but I was miles away from either Devizes or Westminster and I simply did not have the logistical resources or support to do it.

Since taking up kayaking again on the Thames it has been in the back of my mind and last year I got as far as downloading the entry form. This year, however, over a few post paddle pints, four of us from THCC hatched a plan to do it for real. I was not ready to commit to it just then but over the following few days I could not get it out of my mind and last week I made the decision to do it.

I am both terrified and exhilarated. It is an absolutely daunting prospect, 125 miles non-stop paddling through the night taking twenty four hours or more. We have a very short time to prepare, the race is run over the Easter weekend (15/16 April), and there is much training and planning to do. If we can pull it off though it will be one of life's great accomplishments and the fulfilment of a twenty two year ambition.

Needless to say, I will be blogging our progress.

30 July 2004

Inspired by a tee shirt

In my teenage years in the 1980s I was a very enthusiastic kayaker taking part in slalom competitions and white water river trips at every opportunity. After I left school, however, my enthusiasm waned. Until recently.

Last year I was picking out clothes for my son when I saw a tee shirt with a picture of an elegant long kayak and the caption "Sea kayak expedition". I remembered my own kayaking days and thought it odd that what I had always regarded as a niche branch of a niche sport had found its way onto children's clothing. For the rest of the summer I found myself thinking about sea kayaking whenever my son wore the tee shirt.

At about the same time I came across Chris Duff's book, On Celtic Tides, which is the story of his 1996 circumnavigation of Ireland by sea kayak. Reading it inspired me to take the next step and join my local canoe club.

After a couple of refresher sessions on the Thames I passed my assessment for the BCU 3 star award - the kayakers 'driving test' - on Tuesday. So now I am all set for my first sea kayaking expedition this weekend.