We're Off (Well Almost)

GET999.png

It’s half past nine on Good Friday evening and in about an hour and something the third expedition member will be joining us, we’ll load up the wagon and drive through the night to make the morning Holyhead - Dublin ferry. After a few hours orientation, rest and final planning Will and Sammy Kinnear will embark at midnight tomorrow on the first leg of their Dublin to London marathon by kayaking the Irish Sea in aid of the Get Exploring Trust. So why am I going? Good question.

Late replacement compass job……. Gorilla Tape?

Late replacement compass job……. Gorilla Tape?

I don’t mind admitting that it’s good to get the old band back on the road; it’s been a while since I’ve been included in the adventure thing. Some cynics among you may be muttering, ‘because they needed someone to drive the kayak and vehicle back.’ Well, I have just one thing to say to that - I’m not just a taxi driver you know; I am in fact Chief Drone Pilot, a job for which I have every confidence in myself and one which, even the doubters must agree, I am more than adequately qualified. If I’ve seen the Battle of Britain and the Dambusters once I must have seen them a thousand times. I know my barrel rolls from my Immelman’s. I even have the advantage of being given an ‘experience,’ in a Spitfire simulator at Goodwood for Christmas. While I haven’t yet had my ‘experience,’ I feel just having the certificate takes me half way there. My aerial experience also includes being a former Gold Card holder on BA, (and Virgin), and I always wear a jacket and tie when flying on Easyjet. The real trick is going to be being in the right place at the right time when the boys make land on the Welsh Coast on Sunday afternoon. You, like me, will be able to follow them on the Garmin website here with the Delorme tracking thing which we used in the Caribbean on the Golden Arc Expedition. Should make for a more entertaining Easter Sunday than many usually endure.

As you will have surmised by looking out of the window, weather conditions have been improving throughout the week and currently look reasonable for the crossing. More pertinently sea conditions, (swell, chop, interval, swell and chop direction), are managable but do look to deteriorate somewhat later into Sunday.

Updates will of course follow. I can’t say I’m looking forward to this; the worry factor is never a bundle of laughs but as always, risk has been mitigated on everything within our universe of control and at the moment; everything is looking as good as we might hope for.

Grateful thanks to all our kind sponsors and supporters. Anyone stumbling upon the page who may wish to add to the cause may do so here. We’re here to help change lives.

GET998.png





The Only Sane One Left

Mad as a box of frogs

Mad as a box of frogs

Being a parent has been one long slog of worry punctuated by occasional moments of joy and inspiration. They say as a parent you are only as happy as your unhappiest child. While that is certainly true I find myself only truly relaxed when all the planes are back on the mother ship and in the hanger. The way it tends to work though, one rolls in for a fleeting visit and another rolls out on a new crackpot scheme. In the odd idle moment of reflection I sometimes think I am the only sane one in the asylum. 

This time, it is Georgina, who is to have a crack at a 53 mile ultra marathon, The Race To The King from Arundel to Winchester, on June 23rd.

Very cool graphics of the route.


"On the 23rd June I will be attempting to run The Race to the King, a 53 mile ultra marathon along the South Downs Way.

After realising I would never run a fast 5K it seemed like a good idea to focus on a challenge where having a slow pace is an advantage. This weekend I completed my first 30 mile training run with over 1,100m of total elevation (more than Snowdon!).

A large part of my motivation for completing is the ultra marathon is the two charities I will be running for. The first is MIND, the mental health charity, which provides advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. The second is the Get Exploring Trust, which aims to inspire and support 13-25 year olds from disadvantaged backgrounds to get into the outdoors.

I understand that you receive emails like this all the time but I really appreciate the support. Here is the link to my fundraising page, any donations will help motivate me on the day!"


GET.jpg

MIND is a fantastic charity but we are thrilled that she is also running for the 'House,' charity, the Get Exploring Trust. GET is still a young and small charity. We have though made grants this Spring to a range of groups and individuals for the 2018 expedition season. These include a 22 strong team of cadets from East London heading to Namibia, other individuals joining British Exploring expeditions to Iceland and Peru and some self organised expeditions such as one with two young men cycling from China to Paris. 

So the game old Support Team will be dusting itself down for another outing. Do come and join me along the route. There are after all, some very fine pubs between Arundel and Winchester.

By Sea, By Land

Kayak.jpg

Where is that boy off to now? Some people will do anything to get attention.............. Weird to finally see the kayak for real and odd to think they did 2,000 miles in that wee thing last year, right through the current path of Hurricane Irma. The boys are in fact off to the Base Camp Festival give a talk on the expedition. Thoughts of course, are with everyone on the Islands. Hope the Royal Navy arrive soonest and that we fly out Royal Engineers and all other help to them at the earliest possible opportunity.

GET Ready!

GARC1.jpg

A Skype call with the boys in Grenada this morning revealed that that they face an early test of their decision making. A weather system is heading into the Lower Antilles which may develop into a tropical cyclone and is expected around midweek, (you can follow tropical storms and hurricanes here). They now need to decide whether to make a start tomorrow and get a leg or even two under their belts or wait until next weekend after it blows over. Most locals think it is coming except one old boy who resolutely expects it to miss them....... his earnest thoughts were dismissed by his wife who remarked "That's what you said about Hugo,''

Another unforeseen technical hiccup sees them short of about 100 litres of storage space leaving them to decide what to leave behind. Some of their dehydrated rations won't make the trip and they have been making enquiries to see if some helpful yachtsman heading north might take a bag with spare kit and silver packets of dehydrated food up to one of the other islands for them................ good luck with that one lads!

Otherwise all is well. The locals have been most helpful, (if somewhat bemused), sponsors decals are on the boat.... (I think they need to give her a name), and charitable donations continue to come in so thank you to all for your kind contributions and messages of support.

For anyone who missed their Facebook update this morning..... here it is,

So after months and months of preparation we are finally out here in Grenada!

After both arriving on Thursday and negotiating the delights of airport customs - for some reason George created a bit of a stir with the customs officers when he turned up with his 7 bags of equipment - we have since been unbelievably busy getting ready for the off.

Friday morning was spent collecting the kayak from Grenada's commercial port. This involved being bounced from enquiries, to security, to customs, to brokers, to more customs, back to security, and finally to the port storage warehouse. Here, after many stomach churning blank responses from the managers as we asked for what we could only assume would be a fvcking great big box, we finally found our vessel tucked nice and inconspicuously out the back.

A bemused truck driver helped us deliver it back to our poor host's house, aptly named Hard Landings after his career in the RAF. Since then it has been hard at work sorting, prepping and packing our kit and testing our equipment. Check out some of the kit we are using here.

This morning we spent time customizing the kayak and adding our sponsors details to make it look like a proper expedition boat. Check out some of our sponsors on the website here.

And this afternoon, finally, we got out on the water for a paddle. The Caribbean is average. But we think the kayak looks cool... 

(as they say in the movies.......'boys, this shit just got real..)

(as they say in the movies.......'boys, this shit just got real..)

The plan is to set off in a few days time. We have more preparation to do in the meantime and have been told Grenada's national news want to interview us tomorrow!?.. Monday is the proposed date of departure, although this may slip to Tuesday. Our only concern at the moment is the depression developing over the Atlantic heading our way - these things often turn into tropical storms, in which case we will have to batten down the hatches for a few days and wait it out.. 

More to follow! Check out our new Instagram account: goldenarcexpedition

 

GET Going!

Back in the day, I left school on a Friday afternoon and seeing no reason to muck around and waste time, joined the Army the following Monday. As it happens, one of the Crumble Kids has a few months spare before he kicks off as a long term employee of HM Gov and what bat-shit-crazy plan has he come up with this time? He and a friend are planning kayaking the 2000 nautical miles between Grenada and Miami. Moscow is closer to London than is the length of this undertaking. I swear, that boy must spend every waking moment dreaming up things for his mother to worry about. She's had a lot to worry about.

With just 24 days to go before the start preparations for the Golden Arc Expedition are warming up and every day more kit arrives at the house from kind sponsors, more 'no thanks,' emails drop into the in-box from not so kind potential sponsors and new challenging last minute issues raise their ugly heads......... 'son, this kayak which is being shipped to Grenada from Vancouver; are you on top of import duties?' 'Import what Dad?' So, what's the point?

Will and his chum George have started a charity, the Get Exploring Trust, (Charity No 116901). The aim of the trust is simple and straight forward. It aims to assist in the advancement in life of young people between the ages of 13 and 25 by providing small to medium sized grants to allow them to access recreational and leisure time activities in the outdoors designed to improve their life conditions and life chances. 

It is extraordinary just what a great equaliser clinging to the side of a windswept hill can be when you are all cold, wet and hungry. Being close to the elements on land, at sea or in the air is inspirational and life affirming. Way too many of our kids don't get the opportunity to access the outdoors. They genuinely don't know what they are missing. The Trust will help more of them discover the outdoors, and themselves, and from there they can make their own minds up.

Now, here at Expedition Headquarters we're not proud  and will of course accept help in any shape or form. If anyone were so moved to assist in sponsoring the actual expedition then there are still some niggly, naggly safety items which need to be purchased but any advice or local contacts through the route would be gratefully received. Obviously, the funding of the expedition is completely segregated from raising funds for the charity. All charity monies will go to the purpose for which donors intend and we are funding both the expedition, and the charity's administrative costs, separately.

If you did wish to donate to the charity the 'giving,' page may be found here while our bank details are, HSBC Sort Code 40-34-18, Acc No 54342615.

Of course, should you happen to be enjoying the azzure blue waters of the Caribbean between October and December and happen to see two blokes paddling in the direction of Florida then do give them a wave. If you see them paddling out to the Atlantic then give Air, Sea Rescue a wave. A bed for the night or dinner would be nice but then we wouldn't want to spoil them, would we?

I will be updating throughout.