PaddleAid

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!! www.justgiving.com/paddleaid please please make a donation and be part of this with me www.justgiving.com/paddleaid

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Day 6 Deflated


After Garys great bit of work turning around the boss decision last night and allowing me to stay at Festival park, I got a great nights sleep and felt refreshed and ready to hit it hard in the morning. Having rushed to pack up my tent and loaded the kayak as to not outstay my welcome, I popped the kayak on the trolley and headed for water but nothing happened, the kayak just fell off, strange. I took another five minutes to load the kayak back on and again of it fell without the trolley so much as moving a mm. So off I trot to check the trolley to find a punctured wheel where a massive thorn had gone through the tyre!! Gutted! Without the trolley there was no way to get around the tunnels or flights of locks as the kayak was just to heavy to walk for 2miles dragging it or carrying it! At this point Gary was up and about and doing the morning rounds to check everything was ok with the marina and spotted my anguish. Amazingly he had an old bike repair kit and said not to worry. He shot off and came back with a pump, repair kit and most importantly a cup of coffee! Great news.
Having looked at the wheel we were both struggling to take it apart and access the inner tube. Now this is where I hold my hands up cos I am useless at anything like this!! Put me in a kayak and say paddle 320miles fine, but ask me to repair a punctured tyre no chance! Barry the marina owner then turned up for the day and thankfully was an expert at tyre mending and had the trolley up and working in no time! Although he was a whiz with tyres he didn't like cameras so the piccie is of Gary my other tyre hero!! Thanks guys for the help!

After the delay in sorting the tyre I set off a little later than planned but feeling good after a coffee and the fact that my trolley was now fully operational. Heading through Stoke was a pleasant experience as being a stokey myself was nice to see the development happening along the canal and hopefully pushing it forward into the naughties from what appears to still be the fifties! The canal banks were lined with the pottery houses which once made stoke so great with royal doulton canalside and numerous other kilns standing out.
Leaving an industrial rustic beauty to this stretch which was nice as it broke up the fields and green in a pleasant way. As I motored through stoke and downwards through more locks the oustkirt town of Stone was reached which was extremely pretty canalside and finding a lovely little Italian restaurant decided to park the kayak up and head in for the lunchtime special. 3 courses for £7.50!What could be better.Salad, Lasagne and chocolate cake with icecream left me feeling ready for the afternoon and ready to attack the trent and mersey canal hard and head for the Coventry canal at Fradley Junction, this would mean another 38miles done today.

Along the trent and mersey the monotony of paddling was broke by the presence of a lone cyclist Mick who had been paroling the tow path looking for a barge to buy. Mike slowed to my pace so we could chat away as he used to regularly kayak the canal here too before hopping on the river trent and playing in the flow. This is where I realised a couple of things, yes I was faster than the walkers and barges yet a lot, lot slower than the cyclist I had failed and chose the wrong mode of transport, I would have finished by now but then everyone cycles so at least is something new! And secondly why didn't I head onto the trent and use the flow to move me quicker? Oh well to late now. I was perked up when I noticed that thankfully I was the only idiot in England that was camping on the tow path and as Mick told me how he scoured the area with a metal detector looking for old Anglo Saxon treasure and was currently going through the process of selling a rare broach he discovered in the area to the British Museum the afternoon flew by. At school I was never really into history but I have to say Micks knowledge and stories behind what has been and can be found was most interesting. As Mick left me I realised it was only a couple of miles now until I reached Fradley Junction and tonight's camp. Once there the facilities were great a shower toilet and most importantly pub!This shower was great as it had been a couple of days since the last one and I don't mind admitting I needed it although this did let me know where was hurting as I relaxed and undid the good work my brain had achieved in helping me forget. Nevermind a lovely mixed grill and chat with some local bargers Andy and Janice in the pub soon made me forget my aches and an early night was in order.




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