We arrived as you know on Thursday 20th September to a great tumult and Fanfare !
But that was not the end for your intrepid hero.
I had to get Swan home again to Huddersfield and just as well we didn’t decide on a whim to row all the way back again because as you know the weather has changed completely.
No, on Friday morning I took the train back to Yorkshire, it was raining. My son Richard collected me from the station took me home whereupon we hitched up the trailer to take it back to his works to load up with some ballast on the trailer to make it an easier journey back to Putney as the trailer tends to bounce about unloaded. We decided that it bounced about too much to risk a load on it that might become unsecure, so Saturday morning at 4.15am I set off down the motorway at 50mph.
I chose to take the M62 to the M1 and I wish I hadn’t. Only a few miles into my journey and the motorway was shut for maintenance and was diverted to Leeds. Dear readers this is north of where I want to be and at 50mph this added another hour onto my journey. There was pressure too because it had been agreed that I could keep Swan at the HSBC boat house so long as it was out of the way by Saturday morning when the club members use the facility. I arrived at about 9.45 and two young rowers knew about me and offered to help. I carefully manoeuvre Swan behind the trailer then attach winch carefully winch her on. Not a bit of it, they just grabbed Swan and with one movement plonked her unceremoniously on the trailer! Oh to have strong young sons!
Jennifer and I said farewell to our friends on Sunday morning and set off North for Swan’s final journey home in driving rain. On arrival Swan was full of water. As everything was floating in it I used my bilge pump for the first time for the purpose it was intended! Several gallons of water later I could see water seeping from the “water tight compartment”. It’s now Tuesday and I think all the water has drained. Was this compartment filling up as we journeyed? Could we have woken up one morning and found her sunk? We will never know, but she is home now and needs a thorough clean and overhaul.
The journey Lasted 35 days – 32 days continuous rowing 2 days rest at the end and then one morning to the finish.
We covered (re calculated total off Canal Planner) 315 miles to Putney.
We worked through 228 locks
We stayed in 15 different Premier Inns. I say different in the respect that they were different addresses. Every one of the hotels were great.
We have spent to date on this venture and I still have another credit card bill to arrive £5000.00 plus !!!!
I would like to thank
Safe Anchor Trust trustees and in particular Les Moss for sanctioning the project and Derek Brierley for the implementation. Plus all the volunteers who manned the Lady Brenda and worked in the background. Some are mentioned below
The Best in Class !!
Best Mate – Jennifer, Cox
Best Boy – Reg 78 years young
Best Blog Editor – Ian Hunter
Best Chuggers – Eric, Steve Langton, Stewart, Ian Hunter
Best Engineers – Steve Langton and Reg ( cooling system)
Carl of Chicago ( stern gland)
Aaron of RCL (oil valve thingy)
Tom ( discovered lack of oil )
Best Helpers – Richard Searson, DJB, Bryan Jones, Ian Hunter, Derek, Tim Nutter. Stand in Coxes Mark Jackson HSBC.
Best Equipment – Air cushion “AirHawk” loaned by Richard Searson. I couldn’t have done it without it!
Best Buys- Junior canoe paddle and boat hook.
Best Sandwich maker – Steve Langton
Best Pie maker – Sheila
Best Pub Spotter – Brian and Stewart
Best Oily Rag – Brian scooped out the oil from the bilges in a white jumper!
Best Bed Breakfast and evening meal – Ron and Margaret
Best Friends – Trevor and Maggie, Ian and Kath, Glen Bates.
Best Boat Porters – HSBC Members. Ian Swallow and mates.
Best Advice – Use talcum powder on your hands – DJB
Best Freebie – Moorings at Wallingford courtesy of the Town Clerk – Bob Appleby’s mate
Best Taxi Drivers – Ron and Margaret, Bob Lloyd, Stephanie Lloyd, Ian and Kath, Helen and Damien, Trevor and Maggie, Derek, Ian Greenhalgh, Peter (Stafford), Don, Monica, Rodney and Dorothy, Denise and Martin Bedford, Andy’s Mum and Pam.
Thanks for all your contributions keep them coming if you haven’t already. I will be acknowledging all the helpers individually when I have a comprehensive list.
Oh and by the way Lady Brenda has to be brought back to Yorkshire in the not too distant future!!!!