Gathering momentum

Its been a busy past week. Not exactly crammed full ofcanoeing, but busy and productive all the same. Since the last blog post we did do a couple more days of training: Upstream on the River Sowe, right up to the shallows where we did a little towing, and a day on the Grand Union canal which saw a classic “I thought you were holding it”, “oh, I thought you were holding it” moment as we both watched the canoe drift away from the waters edge. The canoe bobbed just out of reach and the wind wasn’t going to bring it back to us. Taking the blame and noting that I was the one wearing swimming trunks, I took a dip in the murky waters to retrieve our canoe. Fair to say it was an amusing and pretty embarrassing error. Lesson learnt there. I dried off, changed and we paddled for the rest of the day.


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With a little more water time under our belts, Nathan and I headed to visit our sponsors and gather gear for the expedition. I visited the lovely people at Countryside in Stevenage Old Town. They’re an independent out-doors store who have kindly provided us with a top notch two-man expedition tent as well as two awesome MSR camp-stoves. I had a long chat with Verity who has helped out with the sponsorship and we are hugely grateful to the store. Check them out:

Next we headed to Kent Canoes where we got the stuff that made the whole expedition feel real! The Mad River Reflection 17… the green monster that will take us to Istanbul, along with a couple of nice wooden paddles and other good canoeing gear. We’ll be updating our kit list soon to give you more details on what we’re using. Again, we must thank Kent Canoes another small but impressive establishment with a seriously big range of gear and expertise.

We also had a bit of chatting with reporters, who we’d sent press releases to, as well as my interview on BBC Three Counties radio. (It’s fair to say it was pretty sensational broadcasting and I’ve been fighting off a position on the Graham Norton Show ever since). Tweeting and talking to people, it’s been handy to get a bit of publicity rolling before we leave, trying to get some people following us online and some interest in what we’re doing.

So this is my penultimate post before we leave. Now my bedroom is filling up. I’ve got drybags, paddles, gear and clothes everywhere. I’m going to start packing and panicking all in one go. Then I’ll write on here, jump in a canoe, and point our nose East to Istanbul.