This is long overdue, but I’ve finally decided I should write down some post-paddle thoughts. I’ll try not to waffle too much.
Firstly, there is no way on earth I can begin to express in words the gratitude I owe to such a large number of people. To everybody who went out of their way to donate to our page, send us messages of support, bring us cups of tea, offer us hot meals, welcome us into their homes or RNLI stations, cheer us on or who simply smiled and said hello as we landed, exhausted after a long slog paddling into the wind…Thank you. Your acts of kindness made this trip so enjoyable and ultimately successful. Mike and the team at Rockpool…there is no way I would ever have left Swanpool beach without the fabulous Taran 16 you made. Thank you. I was excited about meeting people on this journey, but there is no way I could have predicted the generosity Lee and I experienced from numerous people on the trip.
Before I left, I wrote a blog post thanking some of the people who had helped get us and our boats to the start line. Now that we’re back, I can’t begin to thank everybody, so I just have to hope that I thanked people sincerely at the time, and that they know how much their kindness helped get us back to Swanpool beach. I’d like to think that we were willed on by the generosity we experienced around the coastline of Britain, and that one day we may pass it on to future adventurers we meet.
Secondly, I have to say thank you to Mum and Dad for putting up with the worry of me being out at sea, sometimes without contact and often in bad weather. I’m not sure when I’ll be forgiven for not phoning when we landed on the Isle of Man. It became a bit of a running joke, but thank you to Mum for sorting us out with some of the best coastal accommodation in Britain. Somehow she managed to phone up campsites in remote areas of Scotland, Wales and Norfolk, occasionally just 15 minutes before we landed and we would almost always strike lucky.
Thirdly, I could never have predicted the fun we would have with other adventurers who we were fortunate enough to journey with. Nick Ray, still paddling around Scotland…keep it up! Then Nick and Duncan with whom we formed our little team of four around the roof of Scotland. Well done on your epic trip, and thank you for all the shared memories. I would never have believed we would paddle round Cape Wrath with two new expedition buddies who were strangers only days before. It is incredible how we can work and laugh together when we share a common purpose.
Nick and Duncan
I’ll try to be honest about post-exped. life and adapting to reality back on dry land. For a few days I loved it. Small things like toilets and hairbrushes were luxuries, it was great to catch up with family and friends and not being at the mercy of the wind and tide was something of a relief. Yet, somehow I couldn’t focus and I missed waking up with a clear purpose each day. Only a few days ago, I was preoccupied by four things; the wind, tide, tent and food. Now, it felt like this had been taken away from me and I was flailing around lacking any direction. Despite this, I enjoyed readjusting to ‘old’ life and saw it as a challenge.
Hairbrush excitement 🙂
The first thing to strike me was how quiet it was inside. Not hearing the wind or sea outside the tent when going to sleep was slightly disconcerting and I couldn’t get used to not waking up next to my Taran. My eyes and nose streamed for the first week inside and I would wake up sneezing. As unbelievable as it may seem, it felt like I was allergic to being inside.
Yet I feel like this post-journey grump is all part of the process and that it will teach me how to crawl back into society. I’ve somehow managed to get a full time job starting in a few weeks and have rediscovered a love of sea swimming which should keep me entertained while my hands hopefully stop swelling up. I’ve bimbled around on the sea in Taran a few times, but not been out in anything significant yet. I’ll get around to that soon enough though.
Last, but by no means least, I should probably thank Lee. I don’t know where to start, but I’m not sure I’d have got back to Falmouth without him. It certainly wouldn’t have been as enjoyable. Lee, I’ll maybe even forgive you calling me ‘bumder’ for 4 months solid. Cheers buddy. Oh, and Lee… guess what?
For now, I’m not going to lie. I think I’ll miss this a little bit….
After our first crossing, S. Wales