Thursday, 8 March 2012

Christie Celebration & the Caledonian Canal Canoe Challenge

It was good news at The Christie (cancer hospital) today at my haematology check up. I have to go back again in four months time, then if that's OK, I'll move to six monthly appointments.

I won't give you all the ins and outs this time (if you want an insight then read this blog post), other than to say I was retching in the car on the way there and had a long chat with God before I set off.

Now I want to celebrate. This check up means that I've been cancer free for two years (since end of April '10). So with this and the fact that Tris reaches the big 4-0 in May, I'm planning a challenge - for both of us. Not your normal going out for dinner, but something really, really big.

Tris runs marathons - so I'll never be able to run anywhere with him. And he's cycled the coast2coast three times - so other than on a tandem, I'll never be able to cycle anywhere with him. But what we can do is canoe together.

Two Christmases ago I bought him a swanky inflatable canoe.

We managed to get it out twice last year (we were a bit busy with weddings and honeymoons), but it was hardly very hard core!

However, on Easter Monday this year, the plan is to ramp it up a bit. For the next five days we will be canoeing the Caledonian Canal. Coast2coast - the full 60 miles.

The route stretches from Fort William to Inverness in Scotland, taking in the entire length of Loch Ness. Click here for a bit more information.

"What's that coming over the hill? Is it a Monster? Is it a Monster?"

Very likely. Watch out Nessie, you've got competition. There's only room for one pre-historic creature on this loch!

I've done a spreadsheet and the in-laws will be flying up to drive the support Citroen.

Day 1 - Paddle from Fort William to Gairlochy (6.7 miles).
Day 2 - Paddle Garlochy to Loch Oich (13.9 miles).
Day 3 - Paddle Loch Oich to Foyers (along Loch Ness) (16.7 miles).
Day 4 - Paddle Foyers to Drochgarroch (along Loch Ness) (14.8 miles)
Day 5 - Paddle Drochgarroch to finish at Inverness (5.4 miles). 

Something tells me that once I'm in the thick of things I'll be thinking "who the bloody hell had this idea?" But I'll only have myself to blame. 

My tactics will be to pray for a really strong prevailing wind, to drink a lot of Iron Brew and to eat a lot of shortbread. 

As part of our training, I think we might canoe up to Salford Quays to see if we can get some expert tips from Blue Peter super girl Helen Skelton, who canoed the entire length of the Amazon!

People have asked whether we are doing this for charity - and on this occasion it's a no. I've got other charity plans for later in the year, but this time I don't want the additional pressure of people's sponsorship. At the end of the day I don't want to do anything stupid and if it turns out to be too much then I need the option of having a rest without feeling like I've let people down. But let's travel optimistically and assume that it's all going to be brilliant.

So - there you go, that's my Easter week sorted out. I'll let you know how we get on.


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