one man, one boat, one paddle and one goal!! to kayak the length of england for water aid to raise as much money as possible, some 380 miles along a route which has never been attemted before in a world record attempt. read everything here and view updated pictures for the training and the journey itself as well as the aftermath!! please please make a donation and be part of this with me

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Day 11 the last stand!!

After a great night last night at the willow tree marina we awoke fresh and ready for the last day looking forward to gentle paddle into the city centre. The campsite in a west London park was actually suprisingly quiet and comfortable. With only one interruption as a couple walked past the tent at 3.30am surprised to see us there, as we were surprised to be there. But as we awoke and packed away the tent for the last time the mood was good and relaxed and with only 10miles to go there was no rush and we chilled in the marina having a relaxed breakfast and one last goodbye to Graham the warden.
As we jumped in the canal for what would be the last time a photo of big boat little boat just had to be took as much as I love the kayak I reckon next time it would be more comfortable and easier in the white one!
After letting our guard down and relaxing the aching muscles came into play making the last stint hard work and slow going, over the last 11days I felt today that I had given my all and it was now just the adrenalin and determination to complete this adventure that drove me forward. It amazed us how much greenery still lined the canals as we worked our way through London towards Little Venice and the finish.
We knew it would be a low key affair as due to finishing so far ahead of schedule people had been unable to get the day off work and cheer us over the finish line so as we pulled into Little Venice and stopped, we just sat and floated that was it all this work all this effort and now all this pain and like that... it was over! Mixed feelings welled up I was glad to finish at the thought of a shower and a bed for the night but at the same time sadness and emptiness, everything was building upto this moment and now it was here it was over!! Nothing left. Well I say nothing my brain went into overdrive as I started to plan the next expedition, something bigger, more dangerous and challenging to really push the boundaries of endurance kayaking. I hand now done 326miles in around 77hours worth of hard paddling, I can push it harder.
We jumped out the canal and parked ourselves in a lovely barge cafe drinking tea as we waited for Duncan Wilbur the wateraid representative to turn up and take our pic and sign to say it was completed, Duncan was well impressed and a great guy to meet at the end. He was really enthusiastic about what I had achieved and was well behind pushing it further so watch this space PaddleAid 2007 is on and going to be bigger and hopefully now everyone can get involved and try kayaking and set yourself challenges in order to raise money for a most worthy charity.
We must have sat in the same cafe for 5 hours waiting for the support team to arrive and take us away. My mum and sister had made the journey from the lakes to london to pick us up in only a few hours, a journey that took me 77hours over 11days, but we were glad to site them and loaded the kayaks up ready to make the way home a journey of which I would share my part in driving, no rest for the wicked. At this point I would love to give abig shout out firstly to my paparazzi sister for her great piccies, updates on my myspace and apparently some great navigation through London, secondly to my mum who over the course of the last few weeks drove hundreds of miles to drop off and pick up my dad to be with me and of course my dad for being there at the beginning and the end without any of them this would not have happened and the money would not have been raised so a huge thankyou, the effort you have all put in has been amazing!!

As for me, well now I am off to Spain to look at rocks and recharge but this is only the beginning I have plenty more ideas for next year and will definately be back with a bigger challenge and a new record to break. So watch this space and keep checking in to see any developments. Have a great summer and keep on paddling who knows where it will take you!!!


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