Hilary Dowson and her husband Peter completed our Three Lakes challenge in celebration of having owned their kayaks for ten years and because they thought it was a good challenge for a couple of grandparents to undertake!
The couple had bought their kayaks in 2015, to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. They had always been active and into outdoor activities and wanted a new and accessible sport to try.
The couple planned their challenge paddles well in advance. With no support crew to go with them and meet them at the end of the lakes they decided they would need to paddle each route out and back.
The couple’s first challenge route was Llyn Tegid (Bala) which they took on in March and on Peter’s birthday. They found the lake looking stunning on a beautiful, clear day and decided to take their time and enjoy the scenery. Lunch at Llangower allowed them to watch the miniature steam train go by before they headed on to the rest of their paddle.
A couple of months later Hilary and Peter hired a log cabin at Dalavich in Scotland in preparation for the longest of the three lakes in the challenge; Loch Awe. Despite having a week to do it the paddle proved to be quite a challenge due to the weather. ‘Wild wet and very windy’ was Hilary’s description of the week! However they spent three of those days paddling out and back on different parts of the lake until they had completed the whole challenge – and then some!
The Dowsons found that keeping close to the sides of the loch and to each other kept them safe despite large squalls. They did make sure that they had throw lines to hand just in case either of them was to capsize. Luckily the sun did shine on at least one occasion, showing off the real beauty of the loch and its surrounding area.
Heading to Lake Windermere in October, the Dowsons could have been forgiven for expecting bad weather again, but this time they were blessed with sunny and calm days. The trees showed off their best autumn colours and the wildlife put on a great display, with kingfishers and herons putting in an appearance.
Hilary and Peter also found themselves popular with the local tourists with some coming over to enquire about their paddle and take photographs.
They completed 39km on Windermere over two days and finished the second day with a, well deserved, celebratory meal.
Hilary told us “We had great fun doing the challenges, a few difficult paddles with the weather conditions, but what a fantastic way to enjoy the glorious scenery our little island has to offer. Go on, give it a go.”