In preparation for their circumnavigation of the Falkland Islands next year, Mick Dawson and Steve Grenham are undertaking a number of kayak challenges, each increasing in difficulty. These challenges, which will include The Yukon River Quest and circumnavigations of both the Isle of Man and Ireland, will kick off next weekend when the boys compete in the Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race.
The Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race starts in Devizes, Wiltshire, finishing just downstream of Westminster Bridge in central London, opposite the Houses of Parliament. The race has been held annually over the Easter Weekend since 1948.
This event, a gruelling challenge in its own right, will see Mick and Steve kayak 125 miles, with 77 portages, in a WWII Klepper style kayak. It is expected to take them over 30 hours to complete, finishing in Westminster on Easter Sunday Evening. However they are racing to make the two hour tidal ‘gate’ at Teddington – if the boys miss the high tide ‘window’ sunday evening they will have an enforced stop until the next high tide and will complete the race in the early hours of Easter Monday.
The first 52 miles are along the Kennet and Avon Canal to Reading, the next 55 miles are on the River Thames to Teddington. The final 17 mile section is on the tidal portion of the Thames.
Mick and Steve have already kayaked various stages of the route, competing in the Thameside 2 and Waterside C races so are well aware of what’s to come. The Devizes to Westminster is described by the organisers as a severe test of skill, physical and mental stamina and planning which produces a memorable sense of achievement for those successfully completing it.
Mick Dawson, one half of The Cockleshell Endeavour team, says:
“The Devizes to Westminster is a great event to be competing in and will put all the kayaking skills we have gained over the past five months to the test. We will be competing against experienced canoeists and kayakers so it will really challenge us and push us to our limits. “We have less than a year until we kayak around the Falkland Islands so competing in events such as the Devizes to Westminster are essential if we are to be fully prepared for the challenges facing us in the South Atlantic.”