Day 1 Patch Bridge to Lavernock
Having spent far too long over the last 48 hours staring at weather forecasts, I decided to head up to start from Sharpness as it would give me a bit of protection from the Westerlies forecast for today,
We ended up camping at a campsite on the banks of the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal which I'd stayed when doing Lejog, it just happened to be in the right place both times. That trip went OK so I saw this as a good omen. I spent ages faffing and double checking stuff I didn't need to and got onto the water at 0720 and headed off down the canal towards the Severn full of genuine joy and optimism. Within the first 5 mins I'd been squared up to by a swan and paddled past a very dead bloated animal who was casually decomposing his way down the canal. I now decided that I didn't hold much stead in omens.
Lou (amazing wife) and Chia (amazing dog) ran the 5km on the canals with me and found me a suitable cut through onto the Severn where I could get the boat over. Turns out my launch point on the Severn was actually called the boat graveyard.... omens.
I said my goodbyes and headed off down the Severn just pushing against the last of the flood tide. If Evian les Bains is famous for it's crystaline spring water, then Sharpness les bath would be famous for a very thick chocolate milkshake that tastes of mud. The water here is like nowhere else I've paddled you can see the weight of the silt in it and it has a slight death like aroma, I'd given up counting omens at this point.
The next few hours were really quite pleasant. I was moving really quickly through the all of the various tide races, like the aptly named Shoots which were particularly shooty. I managed to deal with all the essentials without trauma.
Not long past Denny's island the headwind started to pick up and that was the theme for the rest of the day, relatively chunky wind against tide conditions that were creating breaking waves these were accentuated at the tide races which got decidedly challenging. I had hoped for a jeopardy free day 1, I even had to shelter behind Wolves (omens) island before making the final crossing to Lavernock to give my body a rest and attempt to eat something.
At 1407 I landed at Lavernock 7 mins later than my plan suggested. Better to be lucky than good. 42.99 miles done for the day.
Lou met me and we're just staying at a campsite with a gym. Not for me obviously. Similar tomorrow without the headwind would be great.
Thanks for all the messages of support and wishing me luck, maybe you all know something I don't...