Canal adventure

We’ve been out with the kayaks again. This time we went to the Leeds Liverpool Canal near Bingley Five Rise and launched the boats there. I had two concerns about this trip. My first concern was that the water level would be low and I’d struggle to get in the boat and end up in the canal (concern also shared by daughter, husband putting brave face on it) The second concern was that with the troubles with my bad neck (wreck that I am) that I wouldn’t be able to get out of the boat and said family would be forced to bring me food parcels.

You’ll probably be disappointed to hear that no-one fell in so there are no embarrassing photos of wet digruntled paddlers. There were more boats around than we’d expected but it was so peaceful being on the canal and we had a nice day for it. It’s strange that you’re only feet from people on the towpath but somehow we seemed not part of their world and no-one spoke to us except other water users.

It was all going well and then we spotted a woman kneeling on the path with a child in her arms, a discarded bike nearby and two over excited dogs at her heels. We stopped to see if help was needed and heard her on the phone to emergency services requesting an ambulance as her son had suffered a seizure and wasn’t coming round. He did begin to regain consciousness but they needed to get to a road for the ambulance to find them. As she set off with her son in her arms we offered to bring up the rear with the bike.

The bank here was higher than where we’d launched and after dithering as to how to get out I gave up on technique and went for the commando roll onto my belly with legs dangling over the edge. Inelegant but effective. I followed them along to the next bridge, deposited the bike and helped get the dogs on leads. Happily, her husband had arrived, the son was conscious but still floppy and as I walked back to the boat I heard the ambulance arrive.

Despite the drop I got back in without mishap but then began to tire quite quickly and was persuaded that I should swop seats with my daughter and let husband paddle me back. I couldn’t get out of the boat, daughter got out to help me but no luck. We went further along where it was lower and I tried again but still I floundered. Decided to give up and paddle back myself. Then I spotted a very low point and went for the inelegant exit – yippee. Now had very comfortable front seat view with hubby doing the hard work behind me.

Of course, I still had to get out at the end and you guessed it, inelegance won the day. My two then went on to pass under the lowest bridge they could find by lying flat in the kayak and pushing themsleves through with hands on the bridge. Mad pair. I’m so pleased no-one fell in and that I managed to get out not once but three times. I just need to work on my technique now.

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