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30 minutes is better than none but…

Written by Fiona July 08 2014

… But many more days of training in a double kayak would have been even better!

In just five days, the G-Force and I will be taking on the challenging Artemis Great Kindrochit Quadrathlon. This includes an open water swim of almost a mile across Loch Tay, a walk/run over seven Munros, a seven-mile kayak and a 35-mile round loch road bike ride.

Big, bulky, plastic but super stable sit-on kayaks

Big, bulky, plastic but super stable sit-on kayaks

It is a daunting event and I am feeling more than a little nervous. We have tried, as far as life, time and work will allow, to do some training. We have walked as many Munros as possible on spare weekends and even on the occasional evening.

We have cycled a mountain bike or road bike at least twice a week, and sometimes more. We have swum in the pool on average once a week and made it to the loch for open water sessions a handful of times.

But until last Sunday we had not tried the double sit-on kayak that we will need to paddle for seven miles on Loch Tay. We have both paddled canoes and kayaks before but not for a while.

It now feels pretty ridiculous that we have made so little time for one of the four disciplines. Finding somewhere to hire the kayaks has been part of the problem but mainly we have been extremely tight on time.

Paddling a plastic boat

I finally tracked down a double sit-on kayak to Castle Semple Loch at Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park, Lochwinnoch. After a series of frustrating phone calls I was told that there might well be someone to hire a kayak to me after 12.30 on Sunday.

We decided that although it was very late in the day, it would be an advantage to at least sit on the crafts and find out how bad we would fare at paddling together. Neither of us felt particularly enthused by the idea of the plastic sit-on kayaks, nor the basic paddles, but we thought we “might as well”.

The plastic kayaks are chosen because they are safe and very difficult to overturn. They will also make the kayak section of the quadrathlon fair for all. (Imagine the joys if we could take our own super-sleek sea kayaks instead!)

While these kayaks are hardly streamlined and not at all comfortable to sit in, it turns out the G-Force and I are fairly good at paddling the boat together. Once the G-Force worked out how to fit in with the rhythm of my weedy paddling we did  manage to go in a straight line without too much trouble.

The seated position in the boat is not comfortable and I couldn’t work out whether to stretch out my legs or bend them (in the end of did a mixture of both to stop my hips seizing up). After 30 minutes of paddling with the wind, then into the wind and then with a side wind my shoulders were aching and my hands were blistered.

However, we know that apart from the odd bad “catch” and occasional clonking of the G-Force’s paddle on my head (did he do this on purpose?!), that we can make the kayak go in approximately the right direction.

On the day we will need to paddle for up to two hours and if there is a headwind it will be even longer. It is going to be very painful but not impossible.

With hindsight – it’s always a great thing, isn’t it? – it would have been wise to kayak a few more times but at least we have been out on the water once. Apparently many people do not even get into a sit-on kayak until the challenge day.

Please do send us “feel good” thoughts on Saturday as we spend some 12 hours completing our biggest event ever.

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