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British Canoeing Staff conquer the August Paddle Challenge

This August British Canoeing are challenging people to paddle 30 or 60 miles throughout the month to claim a free boat sticker. We felt we couldn’t really ask other people to take on the challenge unless we put our money where our mouth is and did it ourselves.

Craig Duff and Cadi Lambert from the Go Canoeing team decided to do just that, taking the challenge to another level by completing their 30 miles in just one day. Craig is a regular paddler and has taken on a few long distance races in the past, however 30 miles would be pushing far beyond any distance he had completed before. Cadi is more of a recreational paddler, jumping in a boat a few times a year for fun.

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Enlisting the help of colleague Steph Roberts to take them to the start point, Craig and Cadi set off at 7.30am from Willington on the River Trent. Their destination was the British Canoeing offices at the National Water Sports Centre, Holme Pierrepont; 30 miles away. If they paddled hard enough they could be back at their desks for the afternoon!

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The long, hot summer meant the river was low and filled with weeds but it was also peaceful and the pair saw no-one for the first 15 miles. The only real obstacle was the legions of swans which made regular threats in order to protect their nests.

Travelling downriver the duo made good time for the first few hours, with fatigue only starting to set in as the second of three portages was reached at 19 miles. However, at this point the end was within reach and powering up on jelly babies and fig rolls for the final push made all the difference.

After we had paddled over 20 miles I told Craig I should probably stop telling people I'm 'not much of a paddler'.

– Cadi

It was a welcome relief for both paddlers to see Steph waving them in from the bank at Holme Pierrepont. Having negotiated one last territorial swan Craig and Cadi finished their challenge 6 hours after they started, with aching arms and smiles on their faces. They’re pretty sure they earned their boat stickers.

There is still plenty of time to take on the August Paddle Challenge yourself...you might even be halfway there already. Paddle 30 or 60 miles throughout the month of August (you don't have to do it all in one go) and register your completion to receive your free boat sticker.

Learn more about the August Paddle Challenge here.