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Kayaking around Britain and Ireland - Final Day
by Ceredigion
2013-08-26
United Kingdom England Plymouth
Kayaking/Canoeing
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My Adventure Story

Ayrmer Cove, near Bigbury, to Bere Ferrers. Our final day

Monday 26th August 2013.  Day 143.  Paddling day 99.
(Adapted from Jane's expedition diary.)


A day to remember! Started off very calm and we ‘chilled’ with a lie-in and a very relaxed morning… a swim in the sea too. Got underway in lovely calm, bright weather, around lunch time, with just 22 miles to cover by 7pm in perfect conditions. The first hour or so we spent paddling along, lost in our own thoughts, wondering what the next few hours might bring. Our calm was broken suddenly, by a yacht steering towards us. Some friends had come out to greet us on our last day. What a lovely surprise - wonderful! We were fed homemade ginger biscuits and given water, then invited on board their yacht for lunch at the mouth of the River Yealm; freshly caught mackerel, pasta salad and Pimms :-). That took all our nerves away from our final day. We didn't get back into the kayak until 4pm, so we paddled off hard with a big Pimms grin!

 

About 40 minutes later, as we were just entering Plymouth Sound another yacht appeared to be advancing on us. It wasn't until we could read Tempus Fugit that we realised it was our friend who had given us overnight accomodation on his yacht at the beginning of our expedition. He had threatened to see us back in, and there he was! He followed us in through the bridges and up to Saltash, where a small RIB came alongside, with a man on board who had been following our progress and wanted to congratulate us. Before passing the Dockyard there was waving & clapping from the Plymouth bank which we think might have been for us too!

 

My brother had texted us earlier in the day, to say that he, his fiance and my mother would meet us at Saltash in a canoe and a kayak. We were late, so they'd been to the pub! We were also met there by friends who presented us with a bottle of bubbly, and the men's gig team in their gig. It was by now 6.30pm when we went on our merry way... glad to be helped by a good rising tide. As we set off from Saltash another gig appeared with the ladies team. Lovely to see them all. Quite an entourage! As we approached the Tavy Bridge the gigs left us to carry on up the Tamar to Weir Quay, but our fleet was joined instead by five other friends - all in kayaks! Our canoe and kayak flotilla then paddled up the Tavy towards Bere Ferrers.

 

About half a mile from Bere Ferrers, we began to see the people gathered at the quayside. There were well over 100 people waiting for us. Fashionably late, we arrived at 7.20pm, to the familiar voices of the Tavy Tars singing us in. Andy lit a flare behind me and we paddled alongside the quay through the channel. The reception was incredible and quite overwhelming! Gathered there were family from Wales, lots of local friends, friends from Berkshire and Falmouth, friends from Jane's Plymouth school, and the Dartmoor Border Morris team. A wonderful turnout, and all for us! We joined everyone in the pub where the staff had set up a big screen to allow people to follow our earlier progress via satellite tracking and view our website www.k2gb.org.uk. There was more singing, with personalised alternative lines to one of the Tavy Tar's favourites, a curry and a few pints! We by no means had a chance to speak to everyone... but what a fantastic atmosphere & what a wonderful welcome!

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