Thursday, 4 February 2010

Kayak Coast2Coast - The Movie

We gathered up some of the footage and photographs from last years trip to make a short film to tell the story. I asked my friend Helen Lagoe if she would help and she kindly agreed. Helen has done and wonderful job with the video editing. She has whipped up a really watchable film out of a collection of photos and what must have seemed like an endless string of footage.

Another friend, Michael McGoldrick let us use some of the music from his albums: 'Morning Rory' and 'Fused'.

The 12 minute film will be featured at the increasingly popular Sheffield Adventure Film Festival in one of the 'On the Edge' evenings. Kayak Coast 2 Coast can be viewed at 'Cafe Euro' 7.00pm Saturday 6th March.  


Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Thanks for invaluable help

Right from the start we have had the benefit of encouragement, moral support and help of a more practical nature from family and friends. Kirstine Pearson and Mark Jordan made sure we could get to Crosby Beach at silly o'clock in time to start the trip.

Long standing NWSK paddlers Anne & Andrew Taylor welcomed us aboard their narrowboat at the end of day 1 and filled us up with plenty of tea and bowls of hot soup before allowing us to stay the night.

Another long standing NWSKer, Peter Roscoe met us about half way through day 2 and hurled a barrage of supportive phrases from the towpath. He also wins the prize for holding the video camera the most steady.

Jean's Husband, Andy Brown met us at the beginning of day 3 and took charge of the video camera whilst we portaged and paddled 'the Rochdale Nine' in central Manchester. By the end of that day as we weary 4 neared Smithy Bridge Mark Jordan and Paul Reynolds met us at the station car park and I was promptly handed a can of beer! (hurrah!) Paul then took us to his house where we spent the night. The next morning Paul was kind enough to give us a lift back to the canal.

Jean's mum and 4 year old son, Christopher came to meet us giving us a welcome morale boost. Photo Credit: John Coates

Later on day 4 a local NWSK paddler Richard Hayes came to our rescue. Liz and I had become exhausted and it looked as if we might not reach Brighouse. Richard picked us up from near where he works in Mytholmroyd and took us the rest of the way by road, giving us a fighting chance to tackle the next day with more gusto. The next day Richard came to the rescue once again by driving us and our kayaks around a 5 mile stretch of impassable drained canal with closed towpaths.

As we reached Goole and salt water once again we were thankful to be able to call upon the services of Sabina. Whilst Jean and I began the paddling of day 7, Glen and Liz stayed ashore with illness and exhaustion. They met us as we took a break beneath the Humber Bridge and helped us ashore as we landed at Paull shortly after dusk.

Finally Kirstine, Mark and Andy joined the crew of the Humber Lifeboat station to meet us at the end of our voyage before taking us home.

Monday, 23 March 2009

On the box and on the web

BBC Northwest Tonight have screened a report on the Kayak Coast 2 Coast journey this afternoon and this evening. For those who missed out the report can be viewed by clicking here.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Day 8

We have finished our trans-pennine voyage in fine style with a visit to the Humber lifeboat station at Spurn Head.

Last nights late arrival left only enough time for a wholesome pub meal and a few drinks in the Humber Tavern before bed. Today's tides wouldn't allow us to start paddling from Paull until lunchtime which gave us plenty of time to explore the old lighthouse.

Our pleasingly eccentric host Jim Deighton is an artist who paints mostly seascapes in watercolour and oils. The lighthouse is a living art gallery with a maritime theme. Jim lives amongst all that he passionate about. His artwork adorns the walls, maritime trinkets prop up most corners and a huge black cat prowls the corridors. I'll have to finish paying tribute to Jim by mentioning the gargantuan breakfast he cooked for us. This first meal of the day was enormous yet readily devoured by the hungry paddlers.

Following a digestive rest we slowly began to ready ourselves for the 8th and final act in the Kayak Coast 2 Coast saga.

We started close to high tide, pushing the last of the flood stream finding helpful back eddies alongside the extensive mudflats. From time to time huge flocks of wading birds kept us entertained and eventually the ebb stream gave us a little more froward progress.

Leaving the sandbanks behind we took on the expanse of the Spurn Bight and for a while there was little or nothing to see. When the lighthouse came into view our approach happened quickly and we soon spotted the lifeboat crew and our loved ones waiting for us. Landing after 8 days on the hoof and blade was a great relief and to be welcomed by everyone ashore was a tremendous joy.

Photo credit: Jim Deighton

After plenty of cups of tea and hot showers the lifeboat coxswain, Dave Steenwoorden presented us with a signed memento in recognition of our journey and fundraising.

Photo credit: Jim Deighton

Afterwards there only remained the sad task of packing our kit away and going to our respective homes.

Wildlife of the final day is Britain's biggest wading bird, the Curlew.

Keep an eye on BBC Northwest Tonight on Monday, and there will further tales and thank you messages from the journey on this blog over the coming days and weeks.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Day 7

We have arrived safely at the little village of Paull which is to the east of Hull on the north shore of the Humber Estuary.

In the morning it was apparent that Glen's tummy trouble had taken a turn for the worse. Liz had been suffering with back pain over the last couple of days and also took the day off leaving the paddling to Jean and I.

We got on to the murky waters of the Dutch River shortly before 1-00pm and soon began making our way down the River Ouse against the last of the flooding tide. The tide had turned in our favour by the time we stopped for a quick snack where the Ouse meets the Trent, the Humber Estuary.

Once we caught sight of the Humber Bridge it didn't seem to get any closer for what seemed ages. Finally we landed on the stony beach beneath the bridge to put on extra clothing and have a quick snack. Our spirits were lifted when we were greeted ashore by Glen, Liz and local paddler Sabina who gave us some invaluable help for the day.

Following the pit stop we got under way once again paddling with a sense of urgency in the hope of landing before dark. Once passsed St Georges dock we met with a force 3+ headwind - the last thing we needed! Despite the extra chore Jean and I landed on the mud at Paull at 6-45pm and were greeted ashore once again by Glen, Liz and Sabina.

Jim Deighton welcomed into his home in the Old Lighthous, which he runs as a B&B and before long we were all off to the Humber Tavern for a few beers and some hearty pub tucker.

Wildlife of the day is the solitary Short Eared Owl that we saw in the upper reaches of the estuary. Sadly neither Jean or I could take a photo at the time.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Day 6

Today's weather started with so much promise. There was a beautiful sunrise, and birds were singing in the woods nearby. Following a wonderful breakfast we got underway by 8-30am under a sunny blue sky, but there was a bitter chill in the easterly breeze. It soon clouded over and the temperature became more like you would expect at this time of year. Yesterday we paddled in t-shirts, by mid morning we had donned all the layers at our disposal.

There were only 4 locks to portage but the distance of over 37km combined with the cold headwind made this a long and difficult day. We passed Castleford, Knottingley and Ferrybridge which are very industrial and grim. A while later we passed Eggborough and Great Heck which have wonderfully amusing names. After the last lock we had a 2 hour slog into the wind before arriving at Goole all of us tired, cold and hungry.

Wildlife of the day is the Kingfisher. As we made our way past Castleford we saw plenty of them but struggled to take any photos.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

day 5

This has been a day of contrasts. Most of us started on the road assisted by Richard who once again has come to our rescue.
The canal is currently un-navigable in the Cooper Bridge area; firstly because a weir has collapsed leaving the canal without any water, and secondly because a bridge is being replaced which means that the towpath is closed. Glen, Liz and I got a lift with the kayaks to Mirfield. Jean chose to run the distance so as not to leave a break in the route and keep some sense of completeness.
There has been far greater distance between locks today but the take outs and put ins have been quite challenging, the crux was a 5 foot wall to climb out on to the bank.

The weather has been amazing considering the time of year. We have been roasting in our kayaks whilst paddling hard, but also finding time to enjoy some of the mellow moments reminiscent of sultry summer afternoons.
Wildlife of the day is the Gnat and having suffered them and even inhaled a few, we were happy to find some ending up as spider fodder.

Finally we have made it to the Bridge Inn just outside Castleford where we have been made to feel heartily welcome.