Day 1: Everyone hates traffic
With a team of 30 people, 2 buses, a canoe trailer and a storage trailer we all left Essex and slowly headed across to Wales ready to take part in the 100 Mile Canoe Test.
Day 2: Slow and Steady
The day was started with Words of welcome and information from Andy Oughton the event organise and Laura Pope, all the teams were set and ready to go!
The first day on the water is always the hardest, with 28 paddlers in the Essex Team we had to see how was best to use the boats and who worked well together in what boat. We set of from Glasbury in high spirits. The water level were very low which meant on several occasions we had to get out and push the boats over the stones. This definitely slowed us down along with several capsizes it meant we had a long first day getting off the water around 9pm.
It took 9.45 Hours to paddle 24 miles
Day 3: Powerful Paddle
Day 3 started at Byford and we decided it was a good decision to split the groups to enable faster times for both teams. Our two team technique worked well as both teams paddled strong all day and managed to clock good times on the water.
We were met several times by our lovely support team Sue and Liz to take on supplies, which included water, homemade flapjacks and brownies, this always went down a treat! When we got back to camp it was time for a shower, followed by dinner.
It took 10.25 Hours to paddle 33 miles
Day 4: Carnage Corner
We decided to keep to two separate teams as it had worked well the previous day, there were several more challenging parts of water to navigate as well as a raft race on part of the route. We were joined by Dave and Martin in the morning who spent half the day with each group.
Most of the morning went smoothly with both groups making good time, in the afternoon we had a couple of challenges that needed to be navigated including Symonds Yat! The groups were briefed at the top and one by one the boats navigated through the white water, all but 1 boat successfully passed. The individuals in capsized canoe got back in and continued feeling refreshed by their dip in the river.
It took 8.33 Hours to paddle 27.3 Miles
Day 5: Race to the Finish
With the last day paddling arriving and only 14.5 miles till the finish line at Monmouth the group were raring to go. Another decent down Symonds Yat and this time everyone concurred the water and made it down safely. With a mile left the paddle all the teams huddled together to complete the last mile together, it was an amazing achievement that everyone was able to share together.
The event finished with awards outside Monmouth Sailing Club before we reloaded the trailers and headed back to Essex.
What an achievement for everyone involved!
Thank you to Andy and his team, the water safety marshals and paddlers, all our canoe instructors, Capel Manor and Maes Y Lade for their boat use, all the volunteers, staff and young people and the clubs involved.
To see all the photos please click here
See you all next year! If you would like to get involved please contact Katie Churchill on 01245 264783 or Katiec@essexboysandgirlsclubs.org