Thursday, 1st October 2009
Paddling Through The Night For Children In Need - 11.5 Miles, LOPC To Cotes Mill Written By Stacey Warner Having been a paddler for a reasonably short time at PaddlePlus, the last six months or so that I have spent becoming accustomed to the ways of the river, has been quite amusing. I can definitely say that the Full Moon Paddle was no exception. I’d been quite apprehensive to participate in the trip as I’m not a big fan of paddling in the dark, in fact I’m not a fan of the dark all together! But after being roped into it for Children In Need, I could hardly say no, could I? So, after receiving a huge amount of sponsorship to complete the trip, I set about to complete the task at hand and invested in a nice shiny new head torch. I set off with my best friend, and paddle partner, Felicity and headed down the river towards Birstall weir, using my dad’s ‘perfect’ paddle I was quite excited and in a great mood… For all of five minutes…
The head of my paddle decided to fall off, and every time the ‘J’ stroke was put into practice, it would do so again! So in a bid to repair the broken paddle, I instructed Flick to attempt to steer from the front, only inexperienced as we are, we went straight through a huge branching tree to where I was mauled by a spider the size of Aragog and was so preoccupied with my Arachnophobia, I failed to notice that the tree had stolen my lovely shiny new head torch.
Paddling off into the darkness of the night, it became apparent that it was going to be a really long night. With a large amount of paddlers joining us, there was a lovely atmosphere, which soon became dosey and silly by the lack of sleep. By the time we got to Thurmaston Lock, I’d been told off countless times for moaning - “I’m cold”, “I’m tired!” “I’m still cold!!!” So I drank some Lucozade and Blue Charge... and this is where the fun began… for me anyway!
With an exciting array of songs performed by yours truly and Flick also, our spirits were back to a high, even though our temperatures were low, and possibly also our speed. Poor old Likko was stuck babysitting us all the way at the back, to which I am pretty sure he was not amused by. As we approached our first stop in Cossington, many of us were dropping off in our boats; the cold was starting to get to us, including the one member of the party that accidentally capsized in an Arcadia. I did feel mighty sorry for him. Upon the half-way stop at The Boat House pub in Barrow, many of the younger paddlers, including myself were starting to feel the lack of sleep. It seemed that the night would never end. Every stretch of river seemed to wind on and on and on… As we approached a small, rocky bridge, our boat became pinned. Andy pushed me, Flick and Joe in our boat over it and we ended up going backwards over some minor rapids. Derek and Likko kindly accompanied us the rest of the way. We were so exhausted that we were actually beginning to hallucinate. I dropped off a number of times and nearly ended up tipping the boat over as I jolted awake. It was quite amusing to say the least.
As the paddle ended, relief flooded over me… Only to realise that we had to haul our huge open boat up a gigantic hill! But tired as I was, I was really proud of myself for achieving the length of the paddle throughout the middle of the night! AND, even better, myself and Flick managed to raise £217 for Children In Need! When we got back to the centre, we ate a lovely cooked breakfast (thank you to Marie and Maggie).
Overall, the paddle was a complete success and the atmosphere was lovely! I myself had a great time and can only hope I can be a part of the club for many more years to come!