You would think after all the long-distance cycling challenges Boo and Mark have completed we’d know what was involved when it comes to planning and preparing, but moving off the road and onto the water has taken us all out of our comfort zones and changed out ‘to do’ lists.
Safety One of the major differences we have come across has been the need to build on our previous family kayaking experiences (hiring one and two person kayaks whilst on holiday over the last few years) with some safety training. During the training Boo was rather discombobulated when Mark became tangled in the fishing line, complicating her rescue of him more than either had anticipated. She is not used to seeing her father in difficulties when they are together so this did shake her confidence. Jenna, of the Leam Boat Centre, worked with both of them, and by the end of their training they were both confident that they could help each other out of any difficulties they may encounter during their Three Lakes Challenge.
Route Planning for the lakes is much simpler than for our cycling expeditions since British Canoeing have prepared excellent information sheets for each lake. We have printed maps for ourselves though as it will be useful to track our progress each day by the features of the scenery we paddle past.
Accommodation We still talk as a family about the railway carriage that was our home for the night in Rogart during our LEJOG ride so we looked for accommodation that we hope will add to our memories of this paddling challenge. We have high hopes that the tipi near Windermere that will be our home for two nights will enhance our family experience. Two summers of scout camps have prepared Boo well for our wild camping night on Loch Awe and we are likely to be very grateful for her scout training when it comes to pitching our tent.
Transport Over the years we have become quite adept at putting bikes and a tandem on the roof or in the back of our car but transporting the very long sea kayaks will be a different story. We will actually be towing a trailer loaded with the kayaks for the entire team which will be a new experience for our Support Vehicle. At least there will be plenty of team members to assist with the loading and unloading of kayaks each day.
Food Boo’s testing of energy gels will not go to waste as she will have her preferred flavours in her daily snack pack. Boo has recently returned to her trusty backpack based hydration bladder for cycling and will carry it on the lakes to simplify drinking whilst paddling. All of our accommodation is self-catering so we will be able to prepare breakfasts and suppers to suit our needs. This leaves two main changes to our food for this challenge: firstly we will have to carry everything we need each day since our Support Vehicle will not be able to reach us with additional supplies; secondly our supplies include ration packs ready to cook for ourselves on Loch Awe, and marshmallows to toast on a group bonfire. The wild camping is one of the biggest differences in our planning, and has the most potential to change the way we explore the world around us by tandem, bike and kayak in future.
Video Boo is taking more of a leading role in creating and editing the videos of the paddling duo’s training. She planned and edited this video and is planning how to best capture her perspective of the Three Lakes Challenge.
Sponsorship is one area that hasn’t changed as once again we are trying to raise money for the 2nd Warwick Sea Scouts New Hut Appeal. Please do sponsor us if you can as seeing the total rise really will help to keep us going during our challenge and the new hut will make a huge difference to the scouting experience for Boo and those that follow her into scouts.