Welcome to the website for my attempt at Lands End to John O'Groats by kayak.
In 2013 I managed to complete Lands End to John O'Groats by kayak. The blog details the trip, and the route taken page shows the route as recorded by my GPS device. It took 32 days and raised over £3000 for the two respective causes. Thank you to everyone who supported the trip.
To paddle from Sennen Cove in the far SW of Cornwall to John O'Groats in the far NW of Scotland in less than 45 days, whilst still maintaining an ability to move and hold polite conversation afterwards! This is a personal challenge that's been milling around for a while, and as I approach my mid life crisis years, 2013 seemed the right time to make an attempt, (and it will be significantly cheaper than a soft top sports car). The trip will be self supported so I'll be carrying all my equipment and supplies with me.
As far as I'm aware, I don't think this trip has been completed before as a stand alone trip, rather than as part of a circumnavigation. I may find out why when I get going...
The planned route is to start from Sennen Cove, journey up the beautiful Southwest coastline, and follow it right up the Bristol Channel. At Sharpness, take to the canal network, and keeps travelling North untill I can re-join the sea at Ellesmere Port. From there it's up the West Coast, via the NW Coast of England and round into Scottish waters. A visit to Ailsa Craig whilst en route to Arran, then through the Crinan canal and onward to Fort William where the route takes the Caledonian Canal to Inverness. From there it's the home straight, paddling up the east coast and round into John O'Groats where I'll have to try and work out how I'm going to get back...
This works out to be just short of 900 miles which I'm hoping to be able to achieve in less than 45 days. This also is a plan, so will bear very little resemblance to what is likely to actually happen. The reality could be far more dull/exciting...
The choice of route should hopefully allow me to experience different types of paddling conditions from the wild West coast to the calmness of the canals. There are roughly 150 loch gates to contend with, so I've been reading up on manual handling techniques...
I'm planning to leave anytime from March 2013 onwards, but I'm hoping to wait for a weather window that might allow me to clear the SW. Given our recent weather history I could be waiting until October!
Glyn Brackenbury (known as me to myself) has been falling out of boats since the 1980's. Growing up on Anglesey, kayaking became the sport of choice from an early age. My main passion in Wales was always white water paddling, although most of my ww skills were honed on the tidal waters of the Straits, Penrhyn Mawr, Four Mile Bridge, and Stanley Embankment. A move to Devon in the mid 90's shifted my paddling focus to the sea, and particularly the surf became the boating venue of choice.
Noteable boating achievements include
None of which will help me in the slightest for this challenge.
I've been really fortunate to be supported by some great organisations for this challenge. Anything I'm using for this trip is through choice, and all the organisations I'm involved with have provided products I'm really keen to be using.
Allthough having a worldwide reputation for producing hand crafted surfkayks, Mega have a strong pedigree in Sea Kayak production spanning two decades. Many of their designs were forwards thinking and innovative, and thousands of their boats are still being paddled worldwide.
The companies concentration on innovating in surf kayaks meant the sea kayak range has remained relatively unchanged, until now.
2013 sees the launch of their latest sea boat, the Viking. It's an aggressive v hulled expedition boat perfectly suited to long distance multi day work, as much as it is in taking a short day trip along the coast. The balance of speed and stability is just right, giving a solid dependable feel when you need it most, but the ability to rack up the speed and watch the scenery cruise by.
It really suits my trip, as being comfortable both with, and in the boat were absolutlely critical in my boat choice. Because I'll paddle with both wings and low angle sea blades, the ability to change and adapt my seating position to suit my paddling style was important whilst deciding on which boat to take. www.surfkayaks.com
I'm delighted to have been able to become involved with Celtic Paddles, who are supplying me with the finest carbon for my trip. Celtic paddles are a company steeped in Sea Kayaking expedition expertise, and having them involved in the trip is fantastic. I'll be using a two piece high angle blade as my main source of propulsion, with a low angle blade as a spare. I'm absolutely delighted with how they feel and I'm looking forwards to racking up the miles with them. www.celticpaddles.com
Skern Lodge is an outdoor activity centre based on the North Devon Coast. I've been lucky enough to have been employed by them since the mid 90's, and during that time I've had the opportunity to work alongside some truly fantastic coaches and adventurers. They provide residential and daily programmes for schools, companies, families, and individuals.
The location on the banks of the Torridge estuary has been an ideal training venue, combined with the heated pool, keeping my wet skills honed through the winter has been a thoroughly more pleasant experience. www.skernlodge.co.uk
Reed are a British company providing a vast array of technical garments to the kayaking community.
I've been fortunate to use their equipment for all of my Surf Kayaking. The companies innovative approach to kayaking products have devloped some essential items that I'll be using for my trip. Their transpire fleeces will be lived in for the duration of the journey. www.chillcheater.com
Nookie produce clothing and technical gear for kayaking, canoeing & stand up paddling (SUP), including buoyancy aids, spraydecks, jackets, thermals, dry trousers & drysuits.
They have been very supportive in providing some of the softwear required for my trip. I use their gear to work in so know it will survive the constant battering this trip is going to put it through. www.nookie.co.uk
It seems rude to do this just for myself, so I have two causes which I'd like to support through my adventure.
The MS Trust.
Without trying to be all "X Factor" about it...
Having been diagnosed with MS myself in early 2011 the information and advice given to me through the trust was exactly what I needed in a way I needed it, and I'd like to repay the help I recieved in some way.
The English Surf Kayak team are one of the most succesful national teams in the sports history. Made up of amateur athletes who self fund their training and competition, anything that can contribute to help them is always incredibly well recieved, and incredibly well used.