Sunday, 28 October 2012

At long last after the usual technological difficulties associated with age, here is a link to a YouTube video slide show of our trip. Enjoy!

Thanks for all your support.  It meant so much to us. 
Still not too late to donate if you would like to. Here is the link 

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Job Done

Three weary paddlers passed under Tower Bridge at 12.30 pm today to be greeted by a surprisingly large and enthusiastic welcoming committee.  4 foot waves under Tower Bridge gave us some fears that the finish could have been more dramatic than planned but all was well.  The paddle up through central London was all we could have hoped for.  What a fabulous opportunity to view London from such a vantage point. The boats are on the trailer and a suitable quantity of beer is inside the paddlers. We are now making our way home by more conventioal means. We have some wonderful pictures to share and will endeavour to add them over the coming days.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Day 15

A long day today 27 miles and the current was much less than recent days. Started in Windsor and paddled past Liz's house on the hill and finished at Teddington Lock, the end of the non-tidal Thames ready for our final run to Tower Bridge on tomorrow's early high tide.  We expect to leave at 8.15 am and with the tide we should pass Tower Bridge at lunchtime.

You may be surprised to hear that your three heroes were all pulled today by a lovely lady called Becky.  You can see her in the lock with us in the picture above.  Becky is a beautifully restored Dutch barge and was travelling at just our speed.  By sitting on her wake we were pulled along like dolphins on a bow wave.  We made great progress for many miles with very little effort.  I call that exploitation of good fortune not cheating!

If you zoom into the picture above you will see that the purpose of our exploits has nothing to do with kayaking to London.  It has been simply an excuse for David to avoiud shaving for as couple of weeks!

Day 14

Wonderful day cruising down the river,Henley,Marlow, Cookham and ending the day at Windsor where we spent the night on the driveway of Ian (David's nephew) and Alexandra. Ian paddled the last 7 miles from Cookham. Another youngster having trouble keeping up!  River flow dropping now but still very little traffic yesterday. Great fun comparing the fabulous properties by the river. Today is a long 27 mile paddle to Teddington so we hope the river flow does not drop too much

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Day 13

A record distance in a record time on the fast flowing Thames.  Very few boats around so we had the river to ourselves apart from the rowers of Oxford University out in force.  The locks on the Thames are all manned and after 300 miles on the English canals we were astonished that a chap would rush out at our approach and operate his massive lock to allow 3 weary paddlers to pass.
We were greated at Reading by Peter Wolesley, the man who did this trip some years ago aged seventy.  It was his story in the press that inspired our adventure.  Peter kindly bought us tea and cakes by the river which was most welcome.  Enjoyed our chat and note comparing.

Friday, 19 October 2012

So how do we pass the time?

There have been a number of questions from friends (so called) and family recently about what wre are doing to pass the time. Well it is really simple - paddling, eating and sleeping. We paddle for 6 to 7 hours a day. Ian collects us and drives us to a camp site where we shower, consume an enormous meal and are usually abed by 9. So that's it - no pubs, discos or nights on the town. This was illustrated well the other day when we finished work for the day right next to a pub which was showing the England Poland match. David consumed a pint, a packet of peanuts and promptly fell asleep. The other boys watched the football but all agreed that their time would have been better spent following David's example!

Day 11 & 12

No we have not sunk without trace just had no wifi and for some reason my phone refused to connect to the internet. Well we are very much on the home leg now. Yesterday and this morning we were on our last canal the Oxford Canal through Morse Country. All very pleasant. At lunchtime today  everything changed. We reached the Thames at Othe Isis Lock in Oxford. The river is in flood and canal boats are barred.  We did our last seven miles in an hour! It really does look like its all downhill now! Just to catch up on the kingfisher count 3 yesterday and ine today.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

The things to be found in canals

We have seen many of the things we expected - dead swan, dead ducks,  dead rabbit, dead fish.  Surprisingly, only one supermarket trolley but we have seen a motorbike, a floating television and a rather nice reclining leather armchair. Being autumn the apple trees are shedfing their fruit and we see lots of apples (eaters and cookers) come floating by. We were surprised the othet day to find the boats surrounded by onions.  We decided that they must have been lost overboard by an onion bargee!

Day 10

Before I forget 4 MORE KINGFISHERS in last 3 days!   Even Michael Fish would have had a problem with yesterdays wind direction.  We were on a particularlly twisty section of The Oxford Canal North, The Grand Union  and the main Oxford Canal. No matter which way we turned there was a gale blowing in our faces . We are convinced witchcraft was involved. It did make for a hard paddle.  We are now on our last canal before the Thames - about 50 miles to the South. Special thanks to those we have met on the way and the interest they have shown especially those who have donated to our charities.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Day 9

Last night no wifi or mobile signal. Typing this on the way to work. Yesterday we were troubled with wind. No, not Ian's cooking but a near gale. In our faces all morning but on our backs in the afternoon on the Oxford canal. Just like paddling downhill. 24 good miles yesterday. We heard about the chap jumping to a new sky diving record. Good effort but if you want a real challenge try kayaking to London. We are really enjoying your text messages to the kayak phone. Keep them coming. 07583 533328 We probably won't reply but we need all your encouagement.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Day 8

Well that was another hard one. We have now completed 177 miles and 8 days out of 16 and are now at Atherton in Warwickshire. Tomorrow we reach the Oxford Canal which takes us to the Thames. All down hill now! No Wifi tonight so no pictures. We are all ready for bed at 8pm!  Just a quick note about our support crew, Ian. He has been driving the vehicle, shopping and providing us with huge amounts of delicious  food. He is great company and his efforts have made the trip far more enjoyable than it might have been. Another long slog tomorrow.

Day 7

Through the potteries from Stoke on Trent to Rugeley near Birmingham.  Long day - 24 miles and 18 locks.
What is the problem with locks?
Well a lock may be 50 yards which would be 10 paddle strokesand perhaps 20 seconds.  Put a lock in the way and we have to slow down and stop.  Haul ourselves onto the bank taking care to avoid dog mess, goose poo, nettles etc etc etc.  The boat then has to manhandled out of the water and carried to the other end of the lock. where it is pushed back into the water.  The technique for entering the boat is to keep all your weight on the bank until you are safely sitting down. This means sitting on the bank once again trying to avoid the usual hazzards.  All this takes around 10 minutes.  If the locks are close together it may be easier to fit the wheels to the boats and pull along to the next lock. 
Now do you see why we call them B........  Locks!

24 miles again today but only 4 locks!!!!

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Really good day today.  For the first 7 miles we were joined by David's son-in-law Yenson.  Young, fit and exhausted after our gentle paddle he was given strict instructions to tell everyone how hard he had to work to keep up.
The rest of the day was great, mostly in sunshine.  We are so lucky to have more sun in the first few days of our trip than most of us have seen since May.

We have now completed the Macclesfield Canal and are now on the Trent Mersey just outside Stoke on Trent.  It seems a long way from home.

We are grateful to those who have attempted to cheer us on our way. Many have missed us because we are travelling so fast.

Well done John (Kingfisher) and Linda Mitchell who actually found us.

Forgot to mention in yesterday's news that we tackled our first tunnel.  There are special rules for paddlers in tunnels on the canals.  We can only use tunnels up to a certain length with good sight lines.The Woodley tunnel was OK so on with the head torches and, you will be pleased to hear, that we made it out the other end.

Also forgot to tell you about our welcoming party at Bollington.  David's granddaughter Eva and 2 of her friends lined up to form a guard of honour.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Well, today is what we signed up for.  ONLY 2 locks today right at the start of the run followed by 18 miles down the delightful Peak Forest and Macclesfield Canals.   A few light showers and lots of sunshine.  Finished this evening in Bollington at  David's daughter Fabienne's house for dinner.  Joined by Lorraine the wife of our driver Ian.  So a good jolly time was had by all - except those of us who were falling asleep. David nearly suffered a serious head injury when a duck took off in front of him and flew straight into his face. Apart from that we are well and going strong.  A long day tommorrow but hopefully fairly straightforward.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

We now have wifi and at last can show a wonderful video of our send off.  30 people showed up to see us off including Richard Mathews our Kendal Town Crier.

Another hard day today but we are all volunteers! A simple and enjoyable 12 miles down the Bridgewater Canal then a lunch in a cold windy corner by Old Trafford Football Ground.  The afternoon was a different story.  6 miles through the centre of Manchester where the locks were so closely packed that it was not worth the effort of putting the boats in the water.  Of the 6 miles we walked over 5 pulling the boats on their trolley wheels.  We have decided to rename this trip "Carry my Kayak to London". At some points the towpath ended and we had to take to the streets.  Amazingly, the 3 of us were walking through the centre of Manchester dressed in sandles, shorts and bush hats pulling kayaks. - nobody batted an eyelid!

Kendal to London Kayakers II

Here is Bernie's other picture.

Kendal to London Kayakers III

Bernie Blackburn was sitting by the Lancaster canal with his camera when 3 kayakers appeared. He has kindly sent us 2 fabulous pictures.Thanks Bernie

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

So how hard can this be??? Well today we found out. No problem with the paddling but oh those b......... locks. 15 today plus having to limbo under numerous swing bridges. The Rufford Branch of the Leeds Liverpool Canal had been officially renamed The Rufford Obstacle Course.  It was all very tiring getting in and out of  the bosts. Still we have now finished the Leeds Liverpool and have made it to Leigh on the Bridgewater Canal. Ian has a huge pan of spag bol on the go and we have all  had hot showers so we will feel more human soon.  Only 2 kingfishers today.Tomorrow we go through the centre of Manchester (18 locks!!!).

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Wonderful weather today again and another 20 miles under our belts. We have now completed the Lancaster Canal down to Preston and have joined the Rufford Branch of the Leeds Liverpool Canal. Wigan tomorrow where we join the Bridgewater Canal.  The scenery today has been wonderful with very little other traffic, just a few anglers. No kingfishers today. We are all still going strong and enjoying our trip. Only problem  today was Brian's prtage trolley falling off the trailer in the middle of Preston. No serios damage and the trolley still works after some running repairs. Just eaten the biggest fry up ever and we needed it! Still no wifi. Will add some pictures as soon as we can.

Monday, 8 October 2012

If anyone would like to text us the kayak phone number is 07583533328.We saw a total of 5 kingfishers yesterday and that was thef first day!!!
We could not have asked for a better day. A good crowd to see us off this morning including our MP Tim Farron, Kendal Mayor John Wilshaw, Rotary  President Pat and we had a "cry" wishing us Bonne Voyage from Richard Mattews Kendal Town Crier  in full regalia.  Lovely Autumn sunshine, flocks of Kingfishers  a great packed lunch. In short a fabulous day's paddling. We now know why we put in all the miles of hard training. Met by Ian at Garstang who already had the stew cooking. I hope you all feel sorry for us. No Wifi here so I am having to do this from my phone. Hopefully pictures will follow

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Ready for the off!!!

Great article in the Westmorland Gazette

Article on Lakeland Radio website

An interview with Radio Cumbria. Go to Click the loudspeaker button. Use the slider to move forward to 43.25. You will have to be quick though - delated on Tuesday 9 Oct.

Excellent dinner and get together on Friday for all the team including Brian, back from Oman, our driver Ian and all our wives.

The boats are loaded. We are all packed.

Start time 10.00am TOMORROW!!! from Tewitfield at 10.00am.

Just can't wait!!!!!


Very many thanks to all who have offered support.

We will try to blog each day so you can follow our progress.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Training is Progressing

News from Brian

'Greetings from the Oman and the heat. Settled down into twice weekly training in the dark and am now completing 15 miles in circuits in the coastal waters of Muscat. Supplementing with regular rowing at the gym whilst watching the Olympics on the television. What a great summer for British sport! Will we be able to complete 30 miles a day for two weeks in October? Our driver Ian has threatened to leave us behind if we can't keep up so that is a good incentive to train harder!!!'

Trevor & David

We are now out paddling 3 times a week paddling 10 to 12 miles each time.  On Saturday the wind was a problem with 30 mph gusts forecast for Windermere so for a change we took the boats to Tewitfield on the Lancaster canal - our starting point in October.  We enjoyed the experience so much that we have back today.  Ducks, moorhens and herons abounded and fellow boaters were friendly and chatty.  Nobody offered us a cup of tea though lots of people asked if we were training for the Olympics.

Saturday is earmarked for a longer trip either twice the full length of Windermere or Tewitfield to Lancaster and back on the canal, depending on the weather.  Over 20 miles will be a big test.

Friday, 27 July 2012

News from Brian

Poor Brian is suffering from heat problems.  Only been in the boat once since his return and only managed 45 minutes in 40+ degrees.  He says that he will be training, from now on, late in the evening perhaps in the dark!  Meanwhile he is making use of his local gym but that is not as much fun.


Trevor and David have now twice paddled from Fell Foot at the Southern end of Windermere up to the Ferry and back - around 12 miles in a little over 2 hours and both of us survived well. We have set a date of 18 August for the big test - double the length of the lake, around 21 miles.

David is away on holiday for a week so no training for him.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Good News and Bad

First the bad news....

Brian has returned to Oman where he lives and works.  He has paddled with us on our training sessions on Windermere for the last few weeks but now his stay in the UK is over. 

There are not too many lakes in Oman and the poor chap will now be training on The Arabian Sea where I suspect it may be slightly warmer! He will be back in England only a couple of days before we start our trip.  Keep up the hard work!

Now the good news....

We have a driver.  Brian's friend Ian Roberts has "volunteered" to drive our support vehicle - Brian's camper van with a canoe trailer.  Not sure how Brian persuaded him. Was it blackmail or bribery? But what a relief.  Ian will drop us each morning and collect us each evening - taking us and our boats to a suitable overnight camp ground.  Having the vehicle and trailer will be an enormous help getting round some of the longer tunnels if we are unsuccessful in our bid to gain permission to paddle through.  But Ian's main job will be to scout a suitable hostellery for a well earned pint at the end of a hard day's paddling.


We now have our donations page up and running on the new BT managed site "mydonate".  Unlike other similar sites there is no charge and no commission so every penny donated (other than normal credit/debit card charges) will be going to our charities. If anyone would like to be among the first to support our good causes then go to mydonate

Tuesday, 10 July 2012


Detailed planning is now well underway.

It's amazing what resources can be found on the web.  Jim Shead's site has been very helpful
and Trevor is now putting together very detailed daily itineries from  Using this site Trevor is able to chart in fine detail the locks, bridges and points of interest on each stretch of canal and the distances between each point. He is looking particularly for places to finish each day with good access for the vehicle.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Kendal to London by Kayak

Three old paddlers, David Oates, Trevor Hughes and Brian Wilson. Combined age 185, plan is to kayak from Kendal to London on the Inland Waterways over 16 days in October 2012 - a distance of 379 miles. We have been in training for the last 3 months regularly paddling on Windermere, over increasing distances and at ever higher speeds. We hope that our fitness levels will have risen, above that of couch potatoes, before the off.

Preparing for a training run.

We will be supported by a driver taking Brian’s camper van and towing a canoe trailer to meet us at the end of each day and to bring the kayaks and the weary paddlers home from London at the end of the trip.

Trevor and I are members of Kendal Rotary Club and we hope to raise sponsorship, through the Rotary Club’s charity account, to support two causes.

The first recipient is to be Sandgate Special School in Kendal and in particular the School’s Outdoor Education programme.  The School serves a huge area of South Lakeland and has some 60 children on roll all of whom have severe or profound learning difficulties.  The school recently gained accreditation as an “Adventure Learning School” and is nationally recognised as a leading school in special needs education through physical activity and adventurous pursuits.

A fine example is the annual week long Sea Kayaking trip in the Sound of Arisaig on Scotland’s West Coast.

Taking children with special needs on trips such as this is extremely expensive. There needs to be a high ratio of adults to pupils, equipment, for safety reasons, has to be of a very high quality and the accommodation needs to be suitable for the children. On the other hand the children benefit enormously from the challenging experience.  We are hoping to raise at least £3,000 to cover the cost of the sea kayaking trip next year – we would however like to raise substantially more! Much of the school’s outdoor equipment and clothing was donated some years ago and is now in urgent need of replacement.

The second nominated charity is to be Shelterbox, a charity originally set up by Rotarians in Cornwall and now an independent charity fundraising worldwide and providing immediate vital aid when disaster strikes anywhere. 

The ShelterBox solution in disaster response is as simple as it is effective. The charity delivers the essentials a family needs to survive in the immediate aftermath of a disaster.

Each large, green ShelterBox is           tailored to a disaster but typically contains a disaster relief tent for an extended family, blankets, water storage and filtration equipment, cooking utensils, a stove, a basic tool kit, a children’s activity pack and other vital items.

Please take a look at

Dar Al-Tifel Al-Arabi Organization (DTA) was founded in Jerusalem, by the late Ms. Hind Al-Husseini, the pioneer in voluntary work in Jerusalem. It is a charitable organization, formed to serve Palestinian orphans and needy children, providing them with good care, accommodation and education. The organization was formed after the massacre of Deir Yassin, a small village located nearby Jerusalem, in the year 1948. The Israeli gangs invaded the village, demolished its houses and killed most of its residents.

Some managed to survive - 55 children, whose parents and relatives were killed, escaped to the Old City of Jerusalem and were found traumatized near a wall between the Holy Sepulcher Church and Omar Mosque. Ms. Hind Al-Husseini sheltered them initially in two small rooms in a small market in the Old City .She then formed a society under the name of Dar Al-Tifel Al-Arabi, in its recent location, her old family home, as the number of these orphan and needy children increased day after day.

We often aspire to ‘ build the new Jerusalem in England’s green and pleasant land’. As Kendalians we thought what it would feel like if someone came and massacred the residents of the village of Staveley and the children were found wandering homeless and traumatized in the centre of Kendal! In supporting the existing orphans of Dar All Tifel who are now effectively cut off from the rest of Palestine by political boundaries, we can do something practical and meaningful to help .
Please take a look at


This centre caters for children with special needs including profoundly physically handicapped children whose mobility is very limited. It is run by a few dedicated staff and a team of volunteer professionals, both Omani and expatriate. The two two school physiotherapists, both of whom are volunteers, have identified the need for a pony walker and need to raise 1500 pounds sterling ( OR1000) for this piece of equipment. This team of volunteers is personally known to Brian.

Brian is hoping to raise funds towards the purchase of an item of equipment called a pony walker