Day 12 Holt Heath to Patch Bridge
Well that was a bit quicker than I thought! I'd set out with the intention of trying to go round as quick as I could and felt that I could probably do 14 days. A combination of things conspired to allow me to go a bit quicker and I finished on my 12th day which came with the added bonus of setting a new record for the lap which previously stood at 15 days. I'll wait for the invitation to Buckingham Palace for some sort of presentation.
Today was quite the contrast to yesterday. Head was in the right place as I could clearly see a finish in sight, I had a plan for the locks, of which there weren't many and Lou was going to meet me to resupply on the way so I could go really light.
My British Canoeing membership card has never wielded so much power. The waterways license that comes attached to it got me access through the locks and these things are huge. Having 1000's of litres of water moved just for me seemed a little extravagant but after yesterday I was all for it, the lock keepers were great and rang ahead to tell the next one I was coming to the point that the gates were opening as I arrived and I barely missed a stroke.
Boat overtaking wasn't so successful today given that they move faster and the river is much quieter. I did stop briefly and one came past which I saw as a quick opportunity for some free miles and tried to jump on his wake. It wasn't as free as I thought and once I realised I was working harder than I needed to I dropped off but it added something different in for what it is essentially pretty monotonous paddling.
It wasn't an accident starting on the canal rather than the Severn it gave me options today planning for the finish on day 1 was bit a bit presumptuous but needed doing. If the tide was favorable I'd stay on the Severn with the advantage of its flow and finish at Sharpness, if it wasn't I could swap on the canal and finish at patch Bridge. A quick check on the tide time made my decision and canals it was for the last stretch. Lou ran out to meet me and ran alongside for the last 3.5 miles and managed to take some pictures of the rather unceremonious scrape under the low bridge that marked my start and finish.
Round Wales finished, slightly ironically in England. 47.8 miles today, I'll spend some time when I get home getting some stats and pictures together and post up here, right now I'm looking forward to spending the next few days where how little I smell of wee is no longer a success criteria....