I followed my training programme but often missing the big paddles due to work commitments.
Before I knew it, it was two wks to go and still I hadn’t reached a 3hr practice paddle!
The Monday before the Celtic Crossing I did my first paddle longer than 2hrs (a bit late I know) and it was the hardest training paddle I’ve ever done. The conditions were so tough and cold, that when I finished I was broken. This scared me to say the least!!
Friday arrived along with my partner Chloe Bunnett. I was so nervous but with Chloe driving my boat, I knew I was in good hands.
On the big day I woke up pumped and ready! After all, conditions were perfect which I took as a good sign of what lay ahead.
Getting to the Scilly’s was easy on the Carbis Bay Hotel’s power boat Sulis.
And after the start the first part of the paddle was pleasant. It was about relaxing and enjoying it. I planned my refuelling which I think was my saving grace.
As we approached the 2hr mark my shoulders started feeling it… and at 3hrs50min I started to feel the dreaded low coming on. At this point, my friend, Ryan Louw’s voice sounded in my head. “Fight the demons today! You will have lows, the mind likes to play tricks, but it’s just a phase, just push push push!!”
Jonny on our safety rib pulled up for our much needed refuelling – I devoured my mars bar, swallowed a gel and washed it all down with coke. With Ryan’s words still ringing and my sugar overdose I was ready again to battle the last stint!! Every bit of the paddle was easy until this point!! The tide was turning soon and on spring tides in these very dangerous waters it’s like paddling upstream in a flowing river!! The last hour and 20mins I dug deep, land was insight but it just never seemed to be getting closer.
Pain became the name of the game and we excelled in it. Jonny on our safety rib kept us smiling, to keep us up beat which I’m so grateful for as it was by far the hardest paddle I have ever done!! For me the best part was reaching land and seeing everyone there. I was overwhelmed with pride. It’s been a long journey, but no regrets as would do it all again. Thank you to everyone who supported and drove this project. Without their support it would not have been possible.