We’re tackling the Mark Cavendish Rise Above Sportive on Double Trouble later this month and then it will be time for us to focus on our big challenge for the year. After much thought and discussion we decided to try something a little different, so September will find us swapping our pedals for paddles as we take on the British Canoeing Three Lakes Challenge.
Paddling the length of the longest lakes in England, Scotland and Wales feels like a suitable challenge for Boo to tackle in order to raise funds for her Scout Hut, especially as she has enjoyed watching our kayaking and canoeing athletes in Rio. It looks likely to prove to be equally challenging for Mark as his strength definitely lies in cycling rather than paddling. We briefly considered hiring a pedalo for him to use, but the realities of transporting a dragon, swan, or flamingo to each lake put paid to that idea, as did Mark’s lack of enthusiasm for our suggestion.
The Three Lakes Challenge has been completed by some in 24 hours as they would complete the Three Peaks Challenge but we are going to take a little longer. We have learned from our previous challenge rides that it is important to allow at least a little time to appreciate the scenery, and our Support Vehicle needs to sleep if we’re going to ask her to travel all over the country again.
Our approach to the Three Lakes Challenge is to start with Lake Bala, Wales. This lake is small enough that we will actually paddle all around it (7 miles) before heading into the Lake District ready to tackle the 11 miles of Lake Windermere, England the next day. We’re then going to take our time driving to Loch Awe, Scotland, for what looks to be the toughest of the three. We could paddle the 25 miles in one day but we decided it would be interesting to take two days and try a spot of wild camping, possibly on one of the Loch Awe islands. Boo is hoping that taking our time and camping will increase the amount of wild creatures we can see en route. She’s also hoping that leaving our paddle until late September will keep the midges away from her ears.
Boo usually paddles in a kayak, with friends, at Sea Scouts, or on courses at the Leam Boat Centre but we will be using the much larger sea kayaks for all three lakes. These boats have two storage areas so it will be possible for us to be self sufficient as we paddle, which is vital as our Support Vehicle won’t be as readily accessible as she is when we cycle.
Once we had decided to tackle the Three Lakes, Boo started talking to her friends about it. This has brought about the biggest change to our challenge as we won’t be alone on the water next month. Instead, we will be joined by half a dozen boys aged between 10 and 13, all paddling for charities of their choice. Most importantly we will also share the challenge with Jenna and Libby from the Leam Boat Centre coaching team. We’re sure Mark will appreciate the company of extra adults, especially as they will help identify and resolve any safety issues that might arise, and Boo will appreciate sharing the experience with friends as well as her dad. We understand, from a brief conversation with members of British Canoeing, that the children will be the youngest group of paddlers to complete their Three Lakes Challenge in solo crafts which will make it even more special.
Boo and Mark have set themselves the target of raising £1,000 for the 2nd Warwick Sea Scouts replacement hut and would appreciate any help you can offer. Please donate to encourage them on their paddling challenge.