Kayaking the Coquet

Posted on 12th April 2011 | in Community

To raise money for Hospice Care North Northumberland and Cancer Research UK, Simon Tibbitts and Andy Grieves travelled the whole length of the Coquet River from source to sea in one day. This is their story.

We set off from Amble at 5.00am. An hour and a half and a couple of bananas later we arrived at Chew Green, an old Roman Fort and the closest we could get to the source by car.

We set out on foot the last 2km up to Coquet Head where we just had time to admire the views over into Scotland, before turning and starting the challenge proper heading down into the Coquet Valley. The walk went really well, the weather was great, cold and cloudy but no wind and no rain.

After only about an hour we had covered the 6km  on foot and met our support vehicle to get our bikes. The first hour on the bikes was cold but we made good time.

Just as we entered Rothbury I discovered very suddenly that I had a puncture: a hawthorn had gone straight through the tyre! We had to do a quick repair job, and were soon back on the road to our kayak change over point at Thrum Mill.

Once on the river we discovered, as we had expected, that the river levels were quite low and in places it was a bump and a scrape. This obviously slowed us down and meant that we would be having to work hard both through the rapids and on the flat stretches where there wouldn’t be as much flow pushing us along as we had hoped.
I somehow managed to get myself stuck side surfing my Wavehopper kayak in the weir at Pauperhaugh, but Andy helped me out. Ta!

We were gradually losing the time that we had gained on the walk and bike sections, but we kept moving and started to be joined by more support on the banks. The weather became sunny and we were lucky enough to see buzzards and roe deer.

The sun started to dip and we started to get very weary! A big lift for me was to see my wife and daughters just above Warkworth which spurred me on. When we eventually arrived in Amble we were exhausted but elated. It had taken us 11 hours to complete our challenge and although we were shattered we were ecstatic.

Big thanks go to our support team in particular Andy’s sister Sue and to. my Mum and Dad, also Gail and Shaun.
Thanks to everyone who has given to our charities. If you would like to show your support for what we achieved and help our charities please visit:www.justgiving.com/Simon-Tibbitts   www.justgiving.com/Andrew-Grieves
If anyone has any ideas on what we could do next year…keep it to yourself!

Simon Tibbitts

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