Lakes 24 Hour Kayak Challenge
The challenge involved kayaking 10 lakes - Coniston, Windermere, Ullswater, Bassenthwaite, Derwentwater, Buttermere, Crummock Water, Loweswater, Ennerdale and Wastwater non stop in under 6 hours.
The total length of the 10 lakes is 66.55km or 41.39 miles with the longest being Windermere at 11.23 miles or 18.08km and the shortest at 1.1 mile or 1.8km.
Our back up crew consisted solely of Simon Thomas and his large white van. After picking Keith up at 3.30am in Kendal and myself at 4am (Windermere) we headed for the southern end of Coniston for a 5am start just as dawn was breaking.
Coniston 8.8k/5.5m time 45mins 30secs
We set off from the southern end of Coniston Water (opposite Water Yeat) at 4.55am in calm conditions but pouring rain.
We made good progress and were soon passing Ruskins house on the east shore and the Blue Bird Cafe on the west shore before arriving at the Northern end of the lake at 5.40am. Although raining heavy the calm conditions had allowed us to make quick progress and record a time of 45mins 30secs. After quickly loading the kayak on top of Simons van we were off to Lakeside to start the Windermere leg.
Windermere 18.08k/11.23m time 1hr 33mins
After launching from Lakeside Hotel at 6.24am we were quickly into our paddling rhythm.
Familiar sights soon came into view on the lake shore Storrs Hall Hotel, Ferry Nar, Belle Isle, White Cross Bay, Brockhole and finally Waterhead. Although it was still raining very heavy conditions continued to be calm which allowed us to record an excellent time of 1hr 33mins.
After emptying the kayak of water and loading it onto the van we headed to Ullswater and Glenridding our entry point being the pier.
Ullswater 11.8k/7.3m time 1hr 4mins
As we launched from Glenridding at 8.35am we were immediately hit by strong cross winds. These eased as we rounded the headland at Silver Point but returned again as we passed Long Crag.
Fortunately in the main the wind was behind us at this point, however occasionally we had to go sideways onto the waves to regain our direction.
Finally the pier at Pooley Bridge appeared and we had finished in a time of 1hr 4mins.
Bassenthwaite 6.4k/4m time 35mins
After a long drive from Ullswater we arrived at the northern end of Bassenthwaite and launched from Ouse bridge.
Again initially we were hindered by the cross winds but these soon became head on winds.
Although these moderate strength winds slowed us down somewhat we soon reached Redness point at the southern end of the lake in 35mins
Derwentwater 4.6k/2.9m time 19mins
With the wind now very strong we decided to paddle Derwentwater from South to North (not as planned)
Our decision proved to be wise as we launched from the National Trust car park we were hit by large waves.
The paddle down to the visitors centre at Keswick was more of a surf and we arrived in a very quick time of 19mins.
Buttermere 2k/1.4m time 12 mins
We entered Buttermere at 12.36pm after traveling over Honister Pass in bright and clear weather conditions.
The paddle took just 12mins
Crummock Water 4.02k/2.5m time 21mins 30secs
We quickly travelled to Crummock Water and entered the lake at 13.08pm the sun began to shine briefly and we were able to enjoy the beautiful scenery.
We finished at 1.29pm some 21mins 30secs later.
A long walk then followed with the kayak on our shoulders as we headed for the National Trust car park at Scale Hill.
Loweswater 1.8k/1.1m time 6mins
Loweswater is a difficult lake to access. Our entry point was at Crabtree Beck and our exit at the car park just south of Water End.
The paddle was over very quickly in a time of 6mins.
Ennerdale 4.17k/2.59m time 22mins
We had decided to paddle Ennerdale from East to West which again proved a good decision as we encountered side winds which would have been much worse the reverse way.
After rounding the headland at Anglers Crag the water conditions became much calmer and we soon arrived at the weir at Broadmore the paddle had taken just 22mins.
Another long walk with the kayak on our shoulders brought us to the van parked in the National Trust car park.
Wastwater 4.88k/3.03m time 26mins 30secs
After almost a one hour journey from Ennerdale we arrived at Wastwater Youth Hostel and our entry point for our last paddle
The time was now 3.57pm and we were still well ahead of schedule
As we entered Wastwater we were greeted by flat calm conditions - ideal for our 10th and last lake paddle.
Wastwater is always one of the more dramatic lakes with Scafell in the distance.
We finished the paddle at 4.24pm the final lake had taken 26mins 30secs to paddle.
Total Paddling Time 5hours 44mins 30secs
Total Travel Time 5hours 45mins
Complete Time 11hours 29mins 30secs
Paddling Speed Over 11.5kph/7.14mph
Lakes Kayak Challenge