Pedal and Paddle Edinburgh to Exmouth - using the inland waterways as much as I can
Diary of Events
(latest entry on top - the story begins at the bottom)

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Papete - Pedal & Paddle Edinburgh to Exmouth





03rd November 2013 - The Pashley sold for £505.57


24th October 2013 Here we go! The Papete Pashley is on eBay!! Click the photograph below and bid as all proceeds go to the charities! Or just donate directly and press the button above - Thank you







14th September - The last day of this epic adventure has finally come, thank you to everyone who got involved. It was great to see so many people at the beginning, along the way and especially at the finish.
There was a fantastic group of people to see Dad off, and a lot of you all in canoes and kayaks at the start in Exeter outside Saddles and Paddles thanks to supporters of the Axe Vale Canoe Club.

13th September - The final day is now here, it has been a long and challenging journey for Dad on his pedal and paddle adventure from Edinburgh down to Exmouth. He has arrived in Exeter and is preparing for the last leg tomorrow.
Do not be detered by weather, it is due to be sunny tomorrow with some canoeing and plenty of cyclists followed by some celebrations in the Strand! Come and join in!


Thanks to a few friends, he has enjoyed the luxury of a bed and a roof over his head the last couple of days and been well looked after by some others on route bringing food supplies, support and encouragement. Thank you to all you involved, you know who you are!
Thanks to Matt Wilson of Passion4photos who put me Dad up for the night and also took some cracking photos!


"It's hard to believe that I've cycled and canoed for 29 days since this photo was taken outside the Scottish Parliament. Tomorrow is the final day of what has been an amazing adventure. From day to day I've had no idea when it started as to
how it would finish or where I'd next sleep. The support and friendship from everyone has been truly fantastic and the donations magnificent.
I'm so Looking to tomorrow, meeting friends and family and relaxing. If you can make it, that would be brilliant."

12th September - "I decided not to shop this morning and so only had emergency provisions. I was just regretting this approach when out of nowhere descended a guardian angel on a Pashley in the form of Clare Fairburn together with a picnic and spirited hound. Thank you so much Clare for your very timely arrival, that was so very kind of you.


Brilliant to meet up with Tom Pales of Freetrike with retired farmer Bob. Thanks guys for the cuppa and cake.

My hosts tonight came by to say "hello". Thank you Matt Willson and Jasmine for a lovely morning greeting and for offering me a bed for the night.




Dam!







Not surprisingly after the bashing the canoe has taken on and off the water it is now leaking just a little. Once I'm home I can fix it, but for now I've decided to get my crew more involved and so I've brought Mr Papete a traditional canal bucket. He seems quite pleased really"



11th September - Another canal monster! The only vessel I've met so far on The Grand Western Canal with Ranger Craig at the helm. Craig, originally from South Africa, has been working on the canal for 18 years. He was ably assisted today, by another Craig, a volunteer. The boat/vessel/machine is a weed harvester and believe me there is a lot of harvesting to do and these guys are doing a grand job. Great boat & bike banter guys - thanks.

I confess to feeling pretty shattered now and looking forward to Saturday and the last leg of what has been an amazing journey.


Some people tie yellow ribbons, I tie a banner onto the old oak tree, so everyone knows what I'm up to! Not long now and the finish is in sight. Thank you all for your likes, comments and donations. Most of the time I can't reply as my phone battery has been low, so a massive thank you to everyone it has been a huge help and motivation to me.

I single paddled pretty much most of the Bridgewater & Taunton Canal and loved it. I finally got out yesterday afternoon at Firepool Lock, Taunton where there is a junction with the River Tone. I was tempted to paddle the river a bit, but demands of my stomach and the search for food won the day.
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PAPETE BBC Radio Devon Interview No. 9
11th September 2013 - The ninth interview between my father Alistair Cope the fantastic adventurer and Vic Morgan of BBC Radio Devon about his charity challenge, cycling and canoeing from Edinburgh to...

10th September - I am really enjoying updating this diary for Dad as every day there is something different and it is fantastic to see a few friends and followers of this papete challenge joining Dad for a while. Thank you to all involved.

Meet Trevor, an 82 year old from Bathpool near Taunton. Trevor was on the way home from shopping on his rod braked Triumph, when he said "I was listening to a chap on the radio the other evening doing just what you're doing, but he started
in Edinburgh, where've you come from?"
Trevor showed me the high tide mark on his bike, almost up to the axle, which happened last November when his home was flooded.
He's in good spirits now and I was delighted to see a couple of bottles of cider in his basket.

With a rucksack loaded with food to keep me going Jez Scarratt arrived just as I was sat on a bench chatting. Jez is an absolute star and is such a determined individual. I met Jez last year on a ride and couldn't help but notice his desire and drive to help others. Thanks for lunch Jez ---->

<---- Thank you David Walters for your surprise visit along the canal this morning. It was great to see you and catch up.
David does a huge amount for cycling in the West Country and in particular Devon

I thought my time had come this morning as a blood curdling sound announced the arrival of a grey monster of the canals. Water thrashed everywhere and the weed in its way was cut and consumed with a ferocity I'd never seen before and suddenly it looked as if I was the next course!! Luckily Steve spotted me and stopped. Phew! Steve was in charge of a paddle propelled craft used to cut up the very weed I'd been caught up in and Paul followed, lifting the weed out. Two great guys of the waterways, really friendly and happy to explain what they were doing.

Great pitch last night despite the drone of the M5 and the occasional passing train. Aiming to do a few repairs here and a lesuirely single paddle to take in a lovely stretch of water, although Matt Howell has warned me to look out for shopping trolleys!











9th September - Day 25. It is well worth visiting the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal to either canoe, walk or cycle and see the fascinating layout of our solar system set out to scale. The sun is huge and earth is so small, yet oh, so very beautiful. Fab single paddle canoeing today.


I have been blessed with fine weather, magical sunsets and dreamy dawns. Tonight's sunset with a crescent moon reflecting on the canal is very special and I'm close to home, family & friends.

A salutary reminder of the past on the edge of the Bridgwater to Taunton Canal.
After a rather interesting time at Gloucester Docks its good to be back on the water on a small and friendly canal (despite low swing bridges). On the Bridgwater & Taunton and making leisurely progress with a tail wind.

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PAPETE BBC Radio Devon Interview No. 8
9th September 2013 - The eighth interview between my father Alistair Cope the fantastic adventurer and Vic Morgan of BBC Radio Devon about his charity challenge, cycling and canoeing from Edinburgh to...

8th September - We met Dad for lunch today at the Plough in Congresbury with Amanda from the Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Education and her partner. It was great to catch up with him on his final week of this incredible adventure, we do hope to see as many of you possible at the finish on Saturday 14th September in a canoe or on a bicycle or maybe at the finish for a beer or two!

He was looking well and in good spirits, we enjoyed a lovely lunch and were looked after by Gary and his family there who were very interested in the papete charity challenge. It was nice for Dad to meet up with a couple holidaying on their first cycle tour too!


7th September - Message in a bottle! Just before my 'mare at Gloucester Docks I bumped into a bottle! In fact I bumped into loads of them, however one of them was worth turning back for! I picked it up and then completely forgot about it until the safety of Mike & Jeanette's sofa. Libby opened it up and as disappointed as I was to discover the Bacardi had gone, we were delighted to find 2 letters!
The first from Charlie aged 4, who cast the bottle into the Severn at Bridgnorth and the second letter was from the finder. Libby and her parents are going to add a third letter and pop it back into the Severn tomorrow on the falling tide.

A massive THANK YOU to Mike, Jeanette and Libby who took me into their home and made me feel like a long lost friend. The shared their food, wine and sofa. Provided safe storage for my bike and canoe, then to top it all made me a packed lunch! Guys you're the best! Thank you so much.




"Well after my escape from the clutches of Gloucester Docks I decided to get some hard cycling in to unwind. I missed a turning to the Sharpness Canal, but picked it up later and cycled the towpath looking for a pitch for the tent ..... I couldn't find one anywhere, so kept cycling, but missed out on the easiest section of canoeing of the trip! Doh!
Light was now fading and in a small village I asked a lady about B&Bs or somewhere to camp. The lady, Jeanette, her husband Mike and their daughter took pity and took me in! My first sofa of the journey and how very welcome it was!The Severn was massive, with difficult tree lined banks and water that carried a load of flotsam and jetsam. I have to say my little Flaxland canoe felt pretty small!"

"It all just about went according to plan until I got to Gloucester Docks and then a real nightmare greeted me! How to get out? This was now the land of commercial boats and proper barges. My only escape was up a ladder with a pretty big sign saying "do not use ladder!"


One by one I hauled all of my kit, the Pashley and the canoe up on a rope. I would guess a distance of 15 feet from water level to the top. It was without doubt the most precarious yet and I almost lost the canoe when it got caught in the current! No serious damage ....... i hope!"


6th September - It is great to see a few friends are joining Dad for a while, it is really encouraging and supportive for him. The donations have gone over £2000 so thank you all very much.










It's been a day of meeting up with friends. Martin Harley cycled over a 100 miles to say "hello" and then have a quick paddle. Brilliant to see you Martin.

5th September - Found a car park next to the canal last night, quite quiet and oh so lovely this morning, plus I've got a picnic table for breakfast. This is day 21 and I'm starting to count the days. Autumn has definitely arrived. It was great this morning to see two friendly faces in the car park where I'd bivouacked last night.













Simon Yates and his son Alex had worked out roughly where I was and turned up with their canoe. For the first time I had company on the water. Thanks guys.
Interview with Vic Morgan with a slideshow of pictures from the beginning, enjoy!
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PAPETE BBC Radio Devon Interview No. 7
5th September 2013 - The seventh interview between my father Alistair Cope the fantastic adventurer and Vic Morgan of BBC Radio Devon about his charity challenge raising money for Headway Devon, Exete...

4th September - Bivouacked last night on the banks of the River Avon. Awoke to early autumnal mist, on the water by 7 & followed a kingfisher downstream The locks are just killing me today. 6 so far, no escape as no towpath. Ridiculously high quay & massive bag lower. Suns shining though!  
3rd September - Always great to visit Pashley, but this time it felt very special, having battled my way from Edinburgh on the Clubman. Thank you Adrian and John for your belief and support for this unusual project.

 













I was onto the River Avon much later than played, but it had been a great day. I'm now past the second lock and feel I could canoe all evening. It is utterly tranquil. I think this must be the most special evening so far. The River Avon is quite simply beautiful and at peace with all that is around. The evening autumnal light is magical and I feel I could paddle into heaven. 














2nd September -  Looking forward to being back on the water again tomorrow and I've even been out on a little recce! This will be my first lock of the day and how pretty it is. Its been a lovely relaxing day in Stratford, just resting, relaxing, repairing the canoe and enjoying afternoon tea. I couldn't resist buying a traditionally painted wooden spoon decorated in narrow boat style art and colours.









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PAPETE BBC Radio Devon Interview No. 6
2nd September 2013 - The sixth interview between my father Alistair Cope the fantastic adventurer and Vic Morgan of BBC Radio Devon about his charity challenge raising money for Headway Devon, Exeter ...





1st September - A day of rest and somehow I end up rowing! Very relaxing though and always good to be on the water.

I think that Dad has deserved a well earned rest and so is relaxing in Stratford-upon-Avon for the weekend.






30th August - Officially half way through now so still due to finish in two weeks on the 14th September, it certainly feels a lot closer to home. Dad is currently heading towards Stratford-Upon-Avon.



“A good friend of mine Maggie as mentioned before, gave me a collection of cards to open along the way. Perhaps she knows me too well based on this card. She ever so kindly funded the purchase of a glass for me as well. Thank you Maggie, I'll enjoy one (or two) when I get to Stratford. your cards have been just fab.











The inside of Maggie's card that I opened this morning. I think this means I'm a bourgeois child. I love the quote Maggie and somehow it is so true about canoeing. I felt that yesterday as I was sat in the canoe, slowly drifting along, picking only the best and juiciest blackberries as I passed.

Feeling pretty happy (also exhausted) as by the time I get to Stratford Upon Avon I've only got about 100 miles of cycling, 100 miles of water and YES! Only 18 locks!!! Tonight's campsite is probably the best yet with just a pair of swans on the canal as company"





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PAPETE BBC Radio Devon Interview No. 5
30th August 2013 - The fifth interview between my father Alistair Cope the fantastic adventurer and Vic Morgan of BBC Radio Devon about his charity challenge raising money for Headway Devon, Exeter Ro...
29th August - "I had a really good nights sleep at the bottom of the garden of The Red Lion. Was it the lush grass or the excellent cider?

Thank you to Anne Cooper of Flaxland not only for the spare part for the boat, but also for the life saving and energy boosting home made flapjack!

I didn't venture into the middle of Birmingham and my route would not have taken me through the buzzing heart of the regenerated centre anyway. Instead I took the advice of a good many cyclists (who weren't towing a canoe) and most of the b
arge owners I spoke to, so I joined part of the Northern Warwickshire Cycleway from Bodymoor Heath and rejoined the canal system at Catherine de Barnes Bridge. So I'm now on the Grand Union Canal.










By the way, Lovely paddle this afternoon on the Birmingham and Frazeley Canal.
I have to admit that for the first time I'm feeling pretty tired. So roll on Stratford upon Avon and a day off (or two) to recharge."


Thank you to everyone who has sponsored so far, this is one the most challenging trips Alistair has been on so every penny is helping him get through each day.
On behalf of the charities
Headway Devon, Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Education and Blesma, thank you for the donations and if you haven't done so, please sponsor by clicking on the donate button at the top of the page.

28th August -The support Dad is getting by other users of the canal be it in the water or on the path is fantastic, meeting fishermen, families on barge holidays, walkers and cyclists all enjoying what is such a beautiful part of the UK. 












“Really enjoyed reaching Fradley Junction and taking the turning for Coventry .... no locks! Great choice of sweets if you wanted to stock up!”


27th August

“Up at 5:45, but a long lingering breakfast of porridge, tea and coffee has meant a late start. Ship shape and ready to go now. 5 locks await today. Single paddle I hope for most of the day.”


Dad met some great people on the Trent & Mersey canal today and did see some strange sites too!



“Just reached the home of Martin & Hayley Parsons (cousins) who just happen to live on the side of the Trent & Mersey Canal. It's been a brilliant day, one of the best! Mostly canoeing with a single paddle along a slow and winding canal with easy locks to pass. It's great to be with you Martin & Hayley, thanks for providing a meal and a bed for a weary traveller.”










It was great to catch up with Dad on his pedal and paddle challenge, seeing him packing/unpacking the canoe, preparing it for water travel and vice versa made us all realise how long it takes and if you are doing this half a dozen times a day, it can be really quite tiring!

26th August - The morning was fairly leisurely with a quick outing in Colin’s Austin 7 chummy wondering whether it would be any easier towing the canoe behind the car; however the role reversal did not seem so clever!


The journey through Nottingham staying on the river Trent instead of the canal was fantastic even though it was travelling upstream and very noticeable upon approach to a weir where a landing to the river bank had to rather swift otherwise he would have drifted quite a way back downstream! Dad met quite a few people today on water and on the towpath.
  “I've had great company today and some great paddling. Perhaps the most relaxing and gentle section was the last two miles, when I got out the wooden single paddle and slowly made my way passed twenty plus beautifully painted long boats, to end up at tonight's camp.”



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PAPETE BBC Radio Devon Interview No. 4
26th August 2013 - The fourth interview between my father Alistair Cope the fantastic adventurer and Vic Morgan of BBC Radio Devon about his charity challenge raising money for Headway Devon, Exeter R...

25th August - After a rather sleepless night due to the excessive amount of rain  and the proximity of the tent to the side of the river, Dad woke to find his canoe requiring bailing out before he even entered the water! He was under strict instruction to be gone early in the morning because he was on the pitch of a local fisherman and he was even accused of being a poacher, a little tricky without a fishing rod!

After a paddle and a pedal to the Nottingham Water Sports Centre where there was a triathalon taking place, it was very amusing being passed by loads of the participants cycling! Dad met up with me, my partner Rosie and Dads partner Elaine at a Holme Grange B&B ran by Colin and Jean Wightman. We enjoyed an afternoon with Dad listening to the tales and tribulations of his adventurous charity challenge so far. I think it was a much needed rest afternoon for Dad who appreciated a boost of encouragement and support!

24th August -
    "Having the most relaxing morning yet and much needed. Staying on a farm owned by Jean (a friend of my mother's), a lovely lady who has opened her house to me and made a weary traveler feel very welcome. Heading off soon in search of the Trent at Newark. Weather is grey, a bit of mizzle and the threat of thunderstorms. It has been great seeing my mother and a wonderful coincidence that she is on holiday just a few miles from my route!"

 







   "When I left Edinburgh, Maggie Wayte a good friend from Exeter gave me some sealed envelopes that were all dated on the day I should open them. The first envelope contained a lovely card and some money to buy a pint. Maggie, you're a star! Thank you. By the way, seeing as you're a Cornish lass, I'm drinking Doom Bar

Thank you all for your comments, donations and likes. I have to admit I felt exhausted yesterday, but your support keeps me going. It was always a day that didn't quite work for me on the route planning and that's how it felt in reality. But it was another day under my belt and more miles ticked off!"


23rd August  - Every night a different location always involving early starts, paddling by 7am this morning. This paddling is a lot slower than expected, the biggest challenge being locks where dad has to try to find somewhere to disembark that is not too high and then remove all the contents of the canoe, including the bike, move everything to the other side of the lock and load it all up again! Depending on the size of the lock, this can take up to an hour each time!

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PAPETE BBC Radio Devon Interview No. 3
23rd August 2013 - The third interview between my father Alistair Cope the fantastic adventurer and Vic Morgan of BBC Radio Devon about his charity challenge raising money for Headway Devon, Exeter Ro...

22nd August - Morning normally start this way for Dad when camping that is, porridge and a cup of tea. A great way to start the day especially when on a charity challenge!










Pictured in the middle is Mr. Papete and a friend found at Whitley Lock, he is the constant companion for Dad. Although conversation is limited, he is enjoying the journey.

21st August - Luckily found Naburn Lock caravan site who had so much to offer including a comfortable pitch for the night.

Locals talked me out of paddling the Ouse on the high spring tide, so cycled to Selby to be greeted by a carpet of green. Tried to paddle, but like paddling in porridge with a thick skin. It's been raining all morning, so hoping things will get better as the day goes on. Off to find a weed free canal.


Just so you have some idea of how much stuff is being carried,
here is the Flaxland canoe, fully laden with just about room for me!

Tonight's campsite, looks idyllic until you notice the A1M in the background. What a mixed day today has been. Driving rain, weed covered canals, desolate rivers, complicated locks that took so long to get passed.


The funniest, if you were watching was the sight of the canoe overtaking me on a lock walkway. Much steeper than I thought!
Lastly, it's a lovely evening. Managing to get everything dried and hope for an early launch.
Thank you all yet again for the steady trickle of donations. They're really building up.


20th August - Great day pedalling and paddling with a mixture of stormy weather in the morning brightening up this afternoon, I pedalled down cycle tracks dodging and jumping obstacles then paddled from near Linton-on-Ouse down the river Ouse to York dodging the wild fisherman who nearly hooked onto the canoe however I was able to find a lovely ice cream boat so enjoyed my first ice cream of the trip. Thank you for all your support, it is so encouraging.












19th August - Last night was spent in a bivi bag on the edge of a car park in a nature reserve.

Apart from the bivi bag, tarmac, orange glow in the sky, you may think this would be quite pleasant however quiet car parks out of town sometimes are not all they seem. I will not write any more but you can listen to my latest interview with Vic Morgan of BBC Radio Devon below.

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Papete BBC Radio Devon Interview No. 2
The second interview between the adventurer and my father Alistair Cope and Vic Morgan of BBC Radio Devon about his charity challenge raising money for Headway Devon, Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Edu...


"Up on the North York Moors today! Most people said they'd not seen a canoe up there before ...... being towed by a bike! I was truly surprised! Mind you, it's been pushed as much as ridden today. Getting very close to the first paddle!"





18th August - Adventurous tracks, rivers flowing the wrong way and Warkworth Castle this morning, a stunning place and I am pretty sure that never has a bicycle towing a canoe ever passed this place before!

Have you sponsored yet?  


I enjoyed a ferry crossing over the river Tyne; I did opt for the ferry instead of attempting to play with the larger boats in my canoe. I fear I may not have come out on top!    



I've got a feeling it's going to be a long evening. Plenty of cycling still to do. Thank you everyone for your tweets, likes, messages and emails. It's keeping going through a few difficult days. AC

This has been by far the biggest day so far, cycling 82.5 miles and it is hitting home the tight schedule that I have set myself! SC

17th August - Thanks to the chaps at Wilson Cycles in Berwick-Upon-Tweed, I was able to set off again with a new back wheel. It is a wonderful strange pleasure being able to cycle a bicycle again after an afternoon of a major mechanical failure of the freewheel hub yesterday.


The pushing of the bike and canoe of weight has left me a little tired, what was I thinking! Still I was momentarily able to enjoy Berwick-Upon-Tweed this morning and Bamburgh Castle.

SC


16th August - It has begun! The inaugural Pedal and Paddle from Edinburgh to Exmouth started this morning, the reality of this personal challenge is now in full motion. Thank you to my daughter Rachel for the lift up to Edinburgh; it is rather a long way from Exmouth. We enjoyed a relaxing evening with Niall, thank you for putting us up for the night. The departure from the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh was perfect, lovely to have some supporters cheer me on my way and also importantly a clear blue sky! Thank you for the photos Maggie.  
Now I  expected the first day to be tough, however I did not expect the freewheel to malfunction, that certainly was somewhat of a hindrance on the day’s proceedings. However with the aid of twitter (@VeloVentures)  and some helpful re-twitting  I was thankfully saved by a recommendation of a local bike shop in Berwick-upon-Tweed! It did however involve a rather substantial amount of pushing the bike, this I had not trained for, cycling – yes; canoeing – yes; pushing – really, no! It was lovely to have some company today, thank you Lauren for your support and inspiration. I had a fantastic interview with Vic Morgan of BBC Radio Devon, listen here if you have a minute or two.   

Just for your information, this has and may well continue to be edited by Sebastian Cope, son of the fantastic adventurer Alistair Cope. I have not entirely decided exactly how to edit and update the posts, whether to write as if I were my father or just as me! Watch this space and please if you haven’t done so already, sponsor the old man on his epic challenge. SC

13th August - Thank you Hamish Marshall and BBC Spotlight

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Please note that I will now be leaving at 08:30  on Friday 16th August, as I'm getting an earlier lift up from Rachel my daughter and a friend has very kindly offered me accommodation near the start of my challenge for Thursday night. I have to say that it will be great to have an extra day as well!

If anyone can make it to the start and wants to cycle (slowly) with me, that would be great.

I'll be at the waters edge........or in it!
Roughly as you can see in the photo below.




13th August - Last visit to the Massage Clinic in Exmouth today to try and sort out a few little niggles. I'm not sure how I'm going to survive without them! Thank you all.



7th August - A quick paddle and a beer! Great to bump into Roy, Jonathan and Alex tonight on the Axe Estuary. Both Roy and I have set ourselves a pretty good challenge for charity and it was good to take a break from training and share a beer!


4th August - Going live with this website and the charity link today!
Hooray!

2nd August - Spent a great couple of hours with BBC Spotlight in Exeter, so fingers crossed they show details of Papete before I go as it could be just brilliant for the charities!!

30th July - I better say sorry to Pashley first, as I've just spent an evening with Magic Bike Mike and the beautiful GB chainset has temporarily gone and a used MTB set has now moved in! Only the two lower rings work, so I've got a 32 and 22 on the front and a megarange on the back 34 to 11. that I fitted a few weeks ago! So that gives me some pretty good gearing for towing a fully laden canoe up on to the North York Moors in a few weeks time! Many thanks Mike for your help and time.


17th July - I was still out last night as the sun set on yet another gorgeous summers day. I eventually towed my canoe back home with my Pashley, getting back at about 11:00 pm. Why so late? Well quite simply so many lovely people, many of them cyclists who were so encouraging about my up coming challenge and wanted to talk. Thank you all, it really helps.





9th July - Summer has arrived in Devon and I'm out with the new canoe (wider) canoe and a new method of fixing the Pashley after a rare flash of inspiration!





29th June 2013 - Simon and Ann from Flaxland turn up with a new canoe! I'm hesitant as it's bigger and heavier! The canoe has been lengthened slightly, but is now also wider, adding to the stability significantly. I'm still unsure, even after testing but agreed to let g of the original boat and test further the new one.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Okay, I agree, it does look a little strange seeing a bicycle in a canoe.......but give it time, I'm sure it'll catch on!


Spring arrived .... a little late, however everything is starting to look rather pretty! 



A classic looking bicycle demands some classic recycling and so my son Sebastian, together with his work colleagues came up with a new tow hook for the Pashley. It incorporates a special connector donated by Nick Lobnitz of Carry Freedom. The 'Lollypop' is simple and so very effective!

2013 began and everything seemed to start falling perfectly into place!

Pashley Cycles very kindly donated one of their gorgeous Country Clubman bicycles to the project, which after the challenge is over will be auctioned off on eBay and the proceeds going to the tour charities! Thank you so much to all at Pashley for your support and backing, the classic style of the bike goes so well with the canoe.


2012 arrived, and it was hoped that the tour would take place in the summer, however a number of events together with the weather conspired against the project and it just didn't come together. Coming off my motorbike whilst following the Tour de France and breaking a few bones didn't help!

Over the next 6 months, bit by bit the canoe also became the trailer!

An inspired moment by Simon of Flaxland incorporated an axle housing into the canoe and a fixing point to the bow and with a solid tow attachment to the test bike, towing from directly behind the rear wheel.



It was a total transformation!






November 2011 - At the Clovelly Herring Festival, where Simon and Ann were displaying their boats we tried towing the canoe up their 1 in 3.5 gradient hill and with the boat upside down! It was such a useful day, but back to the drawing board as still far too much flex in the trailer.

Summer 2011 - Conversations with the likes of David Harmon who interviewed me about the idea and branded me "bonkers" to Matt Barbet who thought it was just brilliant and suggested a book about the journey called "Happy Pedaling  Paddling" usually encouraged me and we worked hard to make things work, but the towing of the canoe was causing difficulties - just too complicated and far too much flex in the trailer under-load.

22nd July 2011 - Axe Vale Canoe club very kindly offered to lend their expertise and before I knew it we were at Maunsell Lock on the Bridgewater & Taunton canal for an evening practice to see how on earth I could manage the portage around locks on my own


8th July 2011 - A chance meeting in the spring of 2011 with Ann Cooper of Flanxland and the conversation about the beautiful flax covered boats that they were building ended up with the first test paddle on the River Axe. The Adventure was coming together  



3rd July 2010, I was one of two guides that worked on The Great Tour. A fantastic cycling adventure where we circumnavigated the UK coastline and clearly saw a lot of water.......perhaps too much at times! 


This 9 week journey without a day off made me want to pursue the canoe cycling idea even more


19th May 2007 cycling from John O'Groats to Lands End I bumped into John somewhere just below Wick on his 1948 BSA that he brought in 1954 and has used daily since! It was on this journey that I realised just how much water there is in Scotland and England and started to ponder how to combine two passions - cycling and canoeing. By the way, it was nothing to do with John, but he was such a great character and a real inspiration that you should do what is right for you, I just had to post his photo!