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

Friday, June 23, 2006

Day 4 Breakfast in the village

Day four and an early start after a goods night sleep in Boothetown marina and a hot shower mmm! Simple things in life! It was 7am when I hit the water and the mist was just clearing as I had the canal and the run to Manchester all to myself. The crisp morning air felt close as the clouds started to pile in and rain was in the air. As I neared Worsley on the outskirts of Manchester the sky turned black and there was a clatter of thunder in the air as lightening flashed down around me. This posed a very interesting question, What do I do in a thunderstorm? On one hand I am sitting in a plastic boat holding a carbon fiber paddle but at least low on the other hand the canal banks are lined by trees and beyond that open land and of course the obvious point is never walk under a tree during a storm! So am I safer on water or under a tree what to do?
I decided the best cause of action was to try outrun the storm so I picked up the pace as lightening touched down everywhere around me instantly followed by deafening thunder I pushed as hard as I could until the storm passed, looking back on the situation I have decided it would have been a great photo paddling through the lightening but probably not the ideal time to take one whilst outrunning the storm LOL

The scenery started to turn more industrial as the city approached and the aqueduct over the shipping canal offered a great view. As Manchester grew nearer the number of locks increased leaving me too portage around them draining energy and taking time. The main canal in Manchester runs straight through the city centre and through the gay village. The canal was beautifully kept but due to a large number of locks in quick succession out came the trolley and the walk was on. As I struggled to lift the kayak around the various locks and across bridges as the towpath changed sides many people offered assistance but alas unfortunately I had to decline as for the record to stand all portages must be done by myself.
As I struggled through the village a hotellier came running over to help and after explaining the situation he happily sat back and watched me struggle across the bridge. Bob was the owner of the Union hotel and pub/club in the village and quickly offered me breakfast to help refresh what must have looked like a wary traveler and frankly an odd one for the centre of Manchester. After parking the kayak on the dance floor I was whisked away to the kitchen of the hotel and set up with a continental breakfast and fresh water. Bob told me of his days traveling and was great company for breakfast, thanks for the food and support if you read this Bob will be back to buy you a pint ;p

Feeling mighty refreshed after a great breakfast the push was on for the nights camp which was planned to be Marple on the Macclesfield canal. As I trugged along the Ashton canal the biggest set back to date was just waiting. A bridge loomed before another lock so out I climbed dragging the kayak and heading for the bridge to discover the tow path bent back on itself as it crossed the bridge, there was no way a 15 foot kayak was turning this corner. Watched by barges and local walkers who chuckled as I maneuvered first one end then the other til the kayak was wedged well and truly in the U bend I gave up! Out came all the gear and the kayak was hitched onto my back so I could lift it over the railing and onto the grass above. The whole rigmarole took over an hour and made me hit a real low as the kayak was repacked ready for the next stint to yet another lock! Relief and some normality was reached when finally the Ashton canal and what seemed like 30 locks was behind me and the trek was on down to Marple along the Macclesfield canal. The scenery became more rural and the field sstarted to roll by as good mileage was achieved before the infamous Marple Flight was reached with its 18 locks, luckily I was only going half way down to the old mill where I was due to stay for the night canal side at my coarse mate Claires house. As part of the deal though I had to help with a girl guide treasure hunt and although these girl guides are hard work and mischievous I do have to say I questioned the leaders attempt at punishment on the girls!!! Good swing Claire LOL
I was well excited now day four and my first bed for a few nights and maybe even a little football should be a great night!


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