Nick Arding who has led our Mountain Medicine course in Nepal is off again!
The idea of a circumnavigation of mainland UK had been in Lee’s and in my mind for a while. In May 2010 we were paddling around the Isle of Wight with Philippa and Jo and the subject of the ‘Around Britain’ came up – as it had done on numerous occasions before. The girls called our bluff, “we’ll support you” they offered – “unless of course you’re not really up for it!” – we were committed!
I think my initial approach was quite naïve. I thought we could just paddle around the coast; break no records; enjoy the scenery; we could just ‘chill’. I thought that raising funds for charity and completing a series of beach-cleans (Philippa’s idea) would actually provide a welcome diversion to the otherwise dreary routine of paddling. That was until I bothered first to look at John Willacy’s excellent website www.performanceseakayak.co.uk and then to look at the road atlas.
John says about the circumnavigation;
“The limited number of paddlers to complete this trip shows just what a major undertaking it is. The UK circumnavigator has to contend with committing coastline, demanding tidal flows, busy shipping lanes and challenging weather. It is no surprise that many have had to return to daily life without quite completing the full distance, often after being delayed by the weather. To complete is an impressive achievement whatever the route or the timescale involved.”
Hmm… then I looked at the road atlas and marked out 30mile sections thinking ‘we’ll never average 30 miles a day but let’s just see…’. I got to day 82 before arriving back to Totnes – blimey! I soon realized that at my planned ‘leisurely’ pace we were going to take the whole summer!
Nigel Dennis and Paul Caffyn completed the first circumnavigation of mainland UK in 1980 in 85 days. Since then it has only been completed by a further 11 people. On reading this I began to realize the enormity of our task!
Since then our plans have developed; we have teamed up with Clic Sargent and The Marine conservation Society both to raise funds and to raise awareness; we’ve blocked 3 months out of our diaries and we’ve ordered the fastest boats we could get hold of (Rockpool Tarans www.rockpoolkayaks.com ) not to break records but more to stack the odds in our favour as much as possible!
If you would like to sponsor Nick’s challenge then please feel free to click here….