Posted by Dan Joyce on Monday, August 5, 2013
We began planning our adventure on Saturday night after the Row4fun day. We didn’t really know what to do and decided that it would be a good idea to try and row to Nottingham. After looking at the map and working out where we needed to boat from we decided that the best boats to take would be a double with Nicola and Simon rowing it, and Shrivenham that would be rowed and coxed by Kellie, Babs, Lucy and Dan. We then collected the blades and boats and carried them to the other side of the weir, only to get there and discover that the bank was about 6 feet higher than the river meaning we couldn’t get in. After this failed attempt we then walked up to the bridge to see about rowing that way. This looked possible but we had to boat from the club meaning we had to walk back carrying the blades and boats. We eventually got back after being out for around 1 hour carrying boats and never actually putting one in the water. After returning to the club we decided it would be better to take an explorer boat and a single. After finally putting the boats on the water the adventure began with Nicola in the single and Lucy, Kellie, Babs, Simon and Dan in the explorer boat. We headed down the canal towards the lock only to discover that the lock was too small for the width of boats and blades. At this stage we didn’t think that we would get much further but due to the determination of Simon we began to plan getting through. To begin with Simon jumped out of the four to help Nicola get out of the single. To get into the bank a blade had to be taken out and whilst Simon was holding it the boat wobbled and Nicola went for a swim. After getting out they then lifted the single out and carried it around the lock. We then began going in to the lock with our blades pulled in (yes it was wobbly). With a rope tied to the boat we threw it up to Simon on the bank and he held us whilst we began to decent down the lock. At this point, Lucy was scared and convinced the whole trip was a bad idea. After getting through the lock disaster, Simon helped Nicola back into the single and then jumped back in the four and the adventure continued towards Beeston. None of us really knew how far away Beeston was by river so we followed our nose hoping for the best. We had taken a supply of drinks and cakes with us and after about an hour of travelling we stopped in the river for a drink. At this point Babs wanted to have some cake and refused to row on until she had got some cake. But the cox said no and that she had to row on for longer. Anyway about 20 minutes later we stopped and passed the cakes up the boat. Nicola then pulled up next to us and we passed her a cake. After this we then rowed on and finally reached Beeston where there was a café and a bar so decided it would be a good place to stop. So we moored the boats up and went for some lunch. Knowing that we had done the easy part rowing downstream we then got back in the boats this time with Simon in the single and headed back knowing how far it was but against the stream. After an hour of non-stop rowing we arrived back at the lock. As it would be filling up this time we had to lift the boat out and carry it round the lock which we did without anything going wrong. The only problem once we were back in the explorer boat was for Simon to get in the single off the side of a wall. It looked extremely difficult to do and am still not sure to this day how he managed it. With a short row back to the club the adventure had finished. It was a thoroughly enjoyable day and something I think we would all definitely do again.