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 9 Doris Day on the canals?

After a restless nights sleep with the big hard lads of Stoke Bruene seeing to that my dad and I decided to just pack up and leave. My dad obviously now joining me refreshed after a few days off and myself now 9 days into the expedition really feeling it, was going to make for an interesting day.
Today was to push past Milton Keynes, Leighton Buzzard and reach the oustskirts of London so we set off at a good pace. Catching up on the weeks gossip and the adventure so far it felt nice to have some company. We passed through some great scenery along the Grand Union with a beautiful bridge on dispay as well as a rather interesting and innovative way of using barbwire, lining the locks as we made our way south. The morning was hard going with my arms aching something chronic now and I hadnt been able to use my fingers properly for a couple of days due to gripping the paddle for so long.
We gently made our way to Milton Keynes and after a breakfast which consisted of some nuts and a chewy bar we decided to stop for an early lunch and headed into a canalside Toby Carvery. As we headed in I asked a lady sat outside if she could watch our drinks whilst we filled our plates to over flowing with the roast dinner on offer. As we came to sit in the sunshine the couple were just getting ready to leave but on seeing the platefull with which we returned the question was raised " how much was that then?" after quoting the price the fella raised an eyebrow "grab your stuff again we are staying!" so having filled their plates we sat together and had a great lunch discussing the canals and what we were doing kayaking the full lentgh of them as always this comment got the usual "really? WHY?!"
After lunch we pushed on hard feeling revived if not a little bloated after such a huge meal. The hard graft was made easier with a little cat and mouse game with a barge which was lead by paddington bear sitting proudly at the front. As the open canal stretched ahead we would burn past the barge stopping for a quick chat then at the locks we would stop and relax as the barge caught up. Having being on the canal for 9 days I realised I had yet to see a lock work so took this opportunity to watch and chat to the couple on the barge. As she found out what we were doing she disappeared into the boat and returned with some money to the cause, so a perfect photo opportunity. The pose was struck and with the big glasses and sun hat it was like doris day had graced us on the canal. Brilliant form and a great laugh at the locks. As we pulled away and followed the barge I was again called to the rescue but this time it was to salvage a stray sandal and not a sheep. But was a pleasure to help a damsel in distress.

The miles were coming off now in a relatively easy and normal day with nothing to really report through out the afternoon. A few locks, some swans and a nice icecream stop all pretty normal stuff. As always the people on the barges were overly friendly and as we walked around a lock we stopped to chat to a moored couple. As you would expect as we started chatting at the side of the canal 10miles or so outside of London this couple were from the lakes and lived just along the road to us! Is a small world. Skip and Barbara were great making a cup of tea and setting the table and chairs up so we could chill. My dad was over the moon to find skip was a motorbike enthusiast the same and at 72 had just got a new bike with a bit of a kick.
Pressing on refreshed after the evening brew and donation we pushed through the locks in the pretty town of Marsworth and through the woods that followed in order to find some land that was flat enough to camp on and ended up at a small marina outside of Berkhampstead. We had reached the edge of London! After the great Sunday lunch we had enjoyed earlier in the day, the aptly named marina seemed perfect for the night, cowroast was our resting place.


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