We spent a couple of days visiting my parents in the Lake District over Easter so, regardless of the stiff 15 mph breeze whipping across the lake, we decided that it was time that the canoe had its first outing of the year.
Although we have already had an outing on Windermere near Bowness by canoe, it is pretty large, so we felt it ought to count as separate “bagging” if we launched from the top end of the lake, at Waterhead.
It took me about the same length of time to put all my layers on as it did Pete to inflate the boat and put the seats in ready for launching. In my defence I had on so many layers that I looked like the Michelin man – there are definitely no photos of this look!
Once afloat (another ungainly procedure – this is where having MS is a good excuse for the palaver involved!) we hugged the coast, negotiating our way past the many boats bobbing at their moorings. It’s funny how very close to the water you are in one of these canoes, and yet how stable it feels too.
As soon as we’re away, we get straight into Swallows and Amazons mode, and everything is a huge adventure. (You can see why the teenagers want nothing to do with us!) In fact, we were very soon in danger of being dashed against rocks poking their jagged edges out towards us. Suddenly, not only did the water feel very close, I was very aware of being in an inflatable canoe. However, fear not, I bravely lent a hand to avoid calamity and we were soon heading towards calmer water, and I could stop “helping out”.
We headed towards the far side of the lake, less than 2km as the crow flies, flying along very much as a crow would until we realised that we would have to make it back without wind assistance; indeed, battling very definitely against the wind. Once more, I felt it my duty to assist as otherwise we would have been knocking on the door of some unsuspecting local asking, shamefaced, for a lift back to our car.
So, some time later, we rounded our own Cape Horn and glided into a hidden cove, somewhere we fondly imagined that no-one had found before us. We hauled the boat out of the water (oops, that’s a royal “we”!) and set about munching our lunch. We were immediately disturbed by a rowing boat filled with six people making the same discovery and were sadly reminded (again) that nowhere is undiscovered on Windermere (it’s much more fun to live in Swallows and Amazons world though!)
After a leisurely lunch stop we made an exploration of the mouth of the River Brathay, wondering about the possibility of a trip downstream another day … we’ll see. It was very mellow and gentle, and we watched families walking along the river as we paddled by.
Once back on land a trip to the teashop warmed us up sufficiently to be able to feel our limbs again. Brrr! Easter!