Wednesday, 19 August 2015

A donation for a different cause.

Vinny is a former royal marine who 9 years ago lost both his legs in an explosion in Iraq.  He has gone on to work hard and train his body to deal with his new situation. However like all soldiers he craves adventure and the Pilgrim Bandits charity deliver this... In september a team will set off to kayak down 400 miles of the Yukon, having paddled with the team I have no doubt of their success but charitable donations are still necessary to allow more amputees and injured veterans to have these types of challenges in the future. Please donate what you can.
Thank you. Simon

Sunday, 7 September 2014


Just passed the grand mark with a sweet little donation from  my Cousin Emma and her family.  
My view on charity has changed so much due to this Whole experience even the pennies make a difference.  When I concieved this trip it was about me first charity second, now is a very different situation. I am so passionate about the Marine Conservation Society I've gone from armchair activist to fund raiser and I hope its only the beginning. ...... it took a lot of heart from me to get to this point. Now I wonder how I could raise not one but ten thousand pounds.... the canals next year. The rest of the trip after that  and then the future.... maybe a big swim.... not Sean Conway big..... but big for me, because one thing I've learnt about benchmarks is that they're different for each of us and we all have our own passions, our own beliefs our own adventures and our own challenges in life. I truly appreciate every single donation thats been recieved and I fully respect that not everyone could either afford or justify donating..... maybe next time you want a tee shirt or perhaps a hoodie, maybe even soap you could do an internet search and buy from an ethical manufacturer or shop that supports a charity or cause you believe in.   Even as armchair activists we can make a difference.   
Thanks one and all !

Saturday, 6 September 2014

A Temporary End (day 11)

Waking to rain after a night sleeping beneath a flight path. I muttered and grumbled and went back to sleep for a couple of hours having decided that today I would make Bristol and close this chapter until an appropriate time in the future,  I slowly packed and loaded my boat having said goodbye to the kind people of the flat Holm society I left on the last of the ebbing tide to make best of the 28ish miles I had to do. A bit of a wobbly route ensued as I couldnt see the main land for the first few miles and on rounding the island I was confronted by a huge fleet of yachts I changed my bearing to avoid their downwind course but this led me to doubt my route. I fumbled and floundered and got cross channel setting what I felt was the right course. I inadvertently paddled into a live firing range near Clevedon having failed to check if ranges were live or not (silly boy).   Then onwards towards Portishead and Avonmouth, fortunately after struggling to find the entrance to the Avon my friend JC  contacted me and told me to turn right, I'd already attempted this but in the wrong place where I'd been confronted by a massive industrial dock  I eventually found the hard to find Avon and moved up an incredibly charming and very beautiful estuary. I knew I was running out of tide so forced my way up the slowing waterway through the Avon gorge to Bristol harbour Lock. Again a bit of a paddle about followed by my exit at an old slipway at which point the tide turned (luck or skill? ) Portaging my boat was easy but disappointing because the lock keeper said I could have gone through in a sea kayak as they arent like the 'little' kayaks.
By now JC and his son Ben were with me they helped me lower the fully laden boat off an 8ft quayside where I paddled the final half mile or so past SS Great Britain, to finally many days too late make it to Bristol and the conclusion of this leg of my trip.

I expect I'll write a separate entry covering the kit I've used and things I've learnt experienced and felt.
I'm glad I reached Bristol and I'm glad I made it in the fashion that I did. The last 2 days were tough, but ultimately really quite cool..... 850 miles seems daft now but it wouldnt have under different circumstances life nor weather  nor oceans travel in straight lines   on occasion you gotta go with the flow.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Big day, Little island (Day 10)

Well what to say.... firstly I'm glad I made the island the tides just turned and the waters spewing out of the estuary. Today was only ever going to be a big day I felt I owed it to myself, but more I owed it to the journey and to the MCS. It's important to remember that when we're up against it no matter how bad it seems how low you feel, you can always rise above and do more. Thats why I'm here today, a good effort is never enough. A great effort will certainly suffice though.
I left Lynmouth in mirror calm conditions applied a little sun block as the morning mist was apparently burning off then set my course at 070° and away I went I fought like hell to maintain my course but eventually I hit rhythm and ran true....the mist never did burn off though after a 9:30 departure by 1 pm I could only occasionally see Wales and couldn't see England at all. Let alone the little island of Flat Holm.  Fortunately my Nav isn't too bad and occasional buoyage helped affirm my location the island came into view about an hour before I would have had full bowel collapse,  I was accompanied by a very camera shy porpoise for an hour mid way in and  avoided a large cargo vessel by less than 200 metres (ya just dont here the sneaky beasts in fog) I could really do without fog tomorrow as I head back to the mainland across the channel again.
I worked so hard through those bad days, To be able to sit on such a gorgeous beach in such a divine spot  really has made it worth it...
Flat Holm really is stunning and  the fact it still has 7 tonne cannon and Moncrief emplacements is even better.....and it was a Chlora hospital and it was fortified in WW2 ..... I can safely say I'll be back here, but possibly take a shorter route next time

Thursday, 4 September 2014