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We had put in a huge effort over the last few days to ensure the final paddle to Sheppey yacht club was easy, and thankfully it was! We paddled happily, in formation (as we called it, 2 red boats flanking the middle yellow boat) and as usual ribbed each other silly about nothing. It was the thing we did to stave off boredom, low emotions, tempers etc, basically through the trip if anyone did anything slightly annoying or silly, or whinged, the other two would lay into him shouting way over the top obscenities and using certain words we would never normally use! It all started in the Avon on the first day when poor old Gareth admitted he had got a bit of mud on his new rash vest, we went totally over the top shouting and cursing him it was hilarious!! Well until you got it back! Anyway we realised we needed to stop using these words before we landed so we had about fifteen minutes of paddling and swearing, it was great fun! No offence was ever meant and it was our way of dealing with being tired, hungry, sore etc.
We landed on the beach to a fantastic reception, all our friends and families had come to welcome us home, too many to name but if you were there then you know you were the ones who made it very special for us. I personally was welcomed by a very teary family, which was fantastic and enabled me to slip a few tears out unnoticed!
The people and staff at sheppey sailing club were superb, giving us a great reception and a beer the moment we touched dry land! Thank you all very much 🙂
Well it’s been the hardest week of my life, emotionally it’s been up and down, physically it’s been way more demanding than a wee 30 mile kayak paddle each day sounds, I’ve been with two great friends all week who at times I could have hugged and kissed and other times I could have happily capsized and left them but that is the nature of what we did. It attacked you in all different ways, whether it be the physical work kayaking and portaging, the emotional side knowing it wasn’t going to stop anytime soon, the hunger side from living on horrible ration packs, the depression from erecting a bivvy in a damp cold field knowing you would have to take it down in the rain or any other obstacle that might get thrown in the way, it was for sure a challenge and way harder than I ever anticipated or dreamt it would be. But it’s done now and I believe we are the only people to have kayaked unsupported across the country.
Had a lovely meal tonight with my family and now I’m writing this from my lovely comfortable, indoor bed where I’m looking forward to sleeping without being annoyed by red ants, beetles, slugs, snails, toads, paraqueets, geese, kens or Gareths.
Thank you all for reading my blogs, not sure they’ve been particularly good but they were written from the heart. A few people have suggested I write a book on our challenge! Maybe I will, what do you think…
Thanks once again to everyone who has wished us luck, donated, commented on the blog, read the blog, welcomed us home today etc etc it means a lot to all of us and quite frankly kept us all going. Cheers all 🙂

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Well today was always going to be an easy day! Or so we thought! Started off by getting up very early to catch the dropping tide and do 6 of the planned 20 miles today. So that went well and we manage to get to dry land before low tide and have a bit of a sleep for a few hours whilst waiting for high tide. All that went fairly well and we set off in good spirits ready to land on the isle grain north beach somewhere. Well about allhallows way we found ourselves in very shallow water yet we were a good few hundred metres from the beach, before we knew it we’d grounded and had to drag the boats back into the channel. So we set off again intended on finding somewhere to stop but land was just too far and too much of a muddy walk. In the distance behind us we could see what looked like one evil sky brewing up some more delights for us. Sure enough it caught us up and we were treated to the mother of all rain storms in the middle of the Thames shipping lane. We couldn’t see land so just kept sticking to our compass bearings and after what seemed a lifetime of hellish weather it finally rescinded. We were then treated to 3 seals coming up to say hello, which was a nice break in the hell. So we carried on and still couldn’t find anywhere to beach, we found ourselves right out in the junction of the Thames and Medway fighting to stay upright with in the very confused water and headed down the Medway. Eventually after nearly 8 hours of non stop paddling we landed and now we are trying to cook food. Another 30 miles done today. We are all done with this now and just want to cross the finish line tomorrow. We are all exhausted, completely broken but at least we will finish!

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Another tough day! Started from Kew Gardens at about 0800 and had a nice flat water paddle with the tide, went 10 miles without seeing a single boat and had just commented how quiet it was and then the boat traffic started! And boy did it start. We got just after London Bridge dodging the boats and ferries and realised we were now paddling against the Thames, only gaining about 1mph. So we decided to drag the boats up onto the embankment and wait for the tide to turn again. We were sat there for about 3 hours whilst the crazy London tourists took photos of our kayaks! Lots of people asked us what we were doing, which was just as well cos I was sat on the embankment, smelly and dishevelled drinking cough medicine out of a bottle! Probably fitted in quite well. So we launched again at about 3 and we had a very tricky launch with the wash from the boats making it hit and miss whether you’d get in dry. We all managed it and my mate Steve turned up just in time to wish us luck, cheers Steve.
And then the terror began…
Paddling along the Thames at high tide from London bridge was challenging to say the least, we had swell and wash coming at us from all angles, constantly trying to keep the boat upright whilst making ground was very hard, you couldn’t stop to drink because another lump would hit you. Somehow we managed to all stay upright but it was touch and go at times! We then finally entered flat water again and headed towards our bivvy point around the woolwich ferry, except by then the tide had dropped too much to land, so we carried on, and on, covering another 6 miles more than we intended. We were really struggling to find anywhere to land when we finally came across a sailing club. Erith sailing club to be precise. And what a club, not only would they let us bivvy there but they also had toilets, showers and a bar! Result ! Huge thanks to everyone at Erith sailing club, really friendly bunch and they have a great club. Cheers guys. So we have now had two beers and are off to cook our rations for the night. Nearly home now:) some pics below of big Ben and ickle Steve complete with beard cos some people wanted to see it!

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Pretty good day today, covered 32 miles, about 4 more than planned so hopefully we can capitalise on that tomorrow, which will then enable us to get right on the Hoo peninsular Friday night for a quick dart across the channel Saturday. It wasn’t plain kayaking today though, still very hard work with our pretty knackered old bodies crying out for a rest after covering 160 hard miles. It rained yet again today too, it’s just not funny anymore! Where’s the summer?
We got through teddington and Richmond locks into the tidal Thames. The tide was dropping so nice paddling but we did struggle to find a bivvy spot. Eventually found a small island near Kew gardens and are pitched up on it, just waiting for the river police to come and speak to us!
We took some lightweight shaving oil with us so we could shave everyday, however it doesn’t work plus it rains every morning so we are all growing beards until we get home! And to top it all I’ve got some poxy grey bits, how does that work I’ve never grown a beard in my life, surely it would be black first! Still we’ll all look like proper expeditionaries when we get back!
Right bed now, early I know but we are all knackered and got early start tomorrow to get the tide. As you can see another professionally erected bivvy shelter! Night all.

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Woke up to a nice dry day for a change which was very pleasant for decamping, got on the water a bit later than usual at 08:30 and did the 5 miles to the Thames junction pretty quickly. We’d heard all these rumours that the Thames was flowing really fast and all unpowered craft were recommended not to enter! But not quite, it was flowing and it did help but you still end up putting the same effort in so after about 22 miles our shoulders were screaming at us to stop, not literally that would be scary. Somehow we carried on through the pain and covered 33 miles. Up until now we’ve been 4 miles behind schedule which we lost on day 2, but today we made that back up and are near Windsor. The pic is me at exactly half way, well 110 miles in anyway, oh and that’s the last you’ll see if my sunnies unless you go diving just after the lock ! It’s great going down the Thames, all the lock keepers have asked what we’re doing and everyone wants to wave, especially the Chinese holiday makers! We have set up probably the best bivvy ever, right by the river, we’ve had a toad visit us already but he didn’t want to stay and talk.
All feeling good today, starting to believe we’ll make it but it’s still a long way and we have the tides to play with after tomorrow. Ration pack tonight is lamb curry so off to cook that 🙂

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Although happy is a relative term when you have to paddle for 12 hours and portage around 40 locks! Knackering is not the word, but I’ve no idea what the word is, in fact I don’t know where I’m going with this! Met Gareth’s mum and dad in Newbury and had tea with them, great to see you both.
We are nearly at reading so soon will be on the hopefully fast flowing Thames tomorrow morning. We all ache big time, are shattered and have slightly iffy tummies but we were in good spirits today. Big Thanks to Ian Broad for the goodies yesterday I forgot to thank you, we got there at about 9 I think!
As you can see in the pic we even had a little play on a slalom course!! Thanks for all the good luck messages and the donations much appreciated. Overtook a guy in a transatlantic towing boat today who is rowing from Portishead to Westminster, think he was a bit shocked when he found out what we were doing! Right I’m off for food and bed..ooh ooh just remembered I used a public toilet today and it was luxury, so much better than carrying a trowel 😉

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Horrific day, 14 hours of either paddling or pulling the kayaks on wheels around locks, up Devizes lock system which was a 2 mile walk. Ended up dehydrating myself so the next 20 miles was absolute hell, slowly watching every point 1 of a mile tick by. All of our shoulders ache, and possibly more of the same tomorrow. Short tonight i’m afraid and not funny , bit like our day. Still it doesn’t have to be fun to be fun. Er apparently! No pix cos poor signal. Night all