Pete C tries a Coracle

Just a bit of fun this.  I recently had the opportunity to turn my hand to Coracle rowing.  For those who don’t know, a Coracle is a small boat traditionally used to naivgate rivers in Wales and parts of the South West.  It’s constructed using a mesh of willow rods and tradtionally covered in an animal skin.

Having spent a few minutes in the thing, I can confirm we’re not going to be crossing The Channel in it this April, but legend has it that St Piran, the patron saint of Cornwall , used a coracle to make the crossing from Ireland to my homeland.  The way you propel the vessel forward isn’t by using a normal paddling or rowing technique as that would apparently leave you in a spin.  A figure-of-eight motion is how to drive the thing forward.  If you want to see how it’s (not) done, take a look at the video.  Big thank you to Stephen, Lucy and Rob for the loan of the Coracle and the expert tuition.  Maybe one for a 2013 attempt? 

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Calais or bust

Twenty-one miles of sea and somewhere between six and eight hours of rowing await us on 21st April 2012 when we attempt to row across The English Channel from Dover to Calais.

Three of us have never rowed before and the other never in a fixed-seat boat, so it’s fair to say the learning curve is fairly vertical.  Let’s hope the waves are not.

For a taste of the challenge ahead take a look at our wonderful ‘montage’:

This adventure started life, as so many things do, in the pub.  Some heart-felt discussions, a bit of a bravado and there was no turning back.  Only now having recently rowed the boat for two and a half hours in fairly rough conditions is the scale of the challenge beginning to dawn on us.  But there is no turning back.

The row is dedicated to Toby Atkinson, a chap with an incredible lust for life and unique ability to make others smile.  We’re aiming to raise £5,000 for a charity that Toby supported and was supported by -Marie Curie.  All sponsorship is of course very gratefully received via MyDonate.

We’ll be keeping the blog up-to-date with news of our training progress and you can also follow us on twitter.  Right, back to the gym.

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