Last year I decided I wanted to challenge myself and I could remember seeing a programme about The Yukon River Quest. I knew that this certainly was a challenge and I decide almost immediately that I really wanted to have a go!
I also decided that while I was doing it I may as well try to raise some money for a charity. I thought about how to approach this and as I wanted to raise money I thought it may be worthwhile trying to raise some form of sponsorship. I approached various companies to help and P&H very kindly offered me a very generous discount on one of their Kayaks. Obviously I didn’t turn them down!I went to Kayaks North West in Runcorn and met Jim Pearce who discussed the various P&H models with me. After a few test drives, I went with the Quest LV.
I picked the P&H Quest up in January and enjoyed my maiden voyage on the Dee Estuary in a 20 knot wind on a very choppy sea. The boat performed well and the hardest part of the trip was trying to navigate across the snow and ice on the shoreline. I had to brace myself every time the wind blew to stop myself sliding back 10m, very Bambi on ice really and amusing to anyone who had braved the elements for a stroll.
I joined Chester canoe club as this gave me somewhere to store the Kayak and allowed easy access for training however due to the fact that I work abroad I don’t get to make as much use of the facilities as I would like. It’s a good club but due to my work routine I haven’t met many of the members, I’ve waved hello as we’ve passed each other on the river but will be making more of an effort to introduce myself.
My experience with canoes was limited to the youth centre as a boy and Clepper canoes while in the military, therefore the Quest LV was a whole new beast to me, quicker and with a narrow beam it was very evident that I needed to gain confidence in the boat. After a month of going out on the river I knew that it made perfect sense to employ the experience of a professional. I looked around and luckily I found Roger Chandler who runs Coastal Spirit in Anglesey.
I booked in for 4 days of 1 to 1 tuition and I found it extremely useful, Roger taught me that is wasn’t all down to brute force and ignorance, (the military left this bit out! J). My confidence grew around the coast of Anglesey under Roger’s guidance. He put me through my paces and I can’t wait to get home from work in August so I can get back into my Kayak for more training confident that I can self rescue in a good swell with the aid of a paddle float and the P&H bilge pump. A few trips to Anglesey are definitely on the cards and I will post again in Sept with more photos.
I can’t thank enough the team at P&H for their support and fantastic Kayak, Jim Pearce for his advice, Peak UK as well as Ainsworth paddles for their generous discounts on kit and last but by no means least Roger Chandler for 4 days of cracking training.