I’ve had so much support from so many people in the run up to and during this trip. However I’ve also come to realise that much of this journey relies on me being willing to ask for help and rely upon the kindness of strangers, and for them to extend their help in return. Read about two amazing experiences I’ve had so far below!
Act of human kindness No.1
Arriving in Crackington Haven I was hoping for an isolated bay to pitch my tent. After multiple soggy nights all I could hope for was a quiet pitch close to shore, with fresh water and hopefully no rain. However, as I got close, it was clear this would not be possible, with lots of very nice looking houses very close to the beach. I didn’t think they would appreciate my slightly ripe kit and I camping out on their lawns…
It’s hard to drag the kayak even with the trolley so I was aiming for somewhere close. Saw a nearby Cafe and spotted a tent sized area by their bins – I’d rather camp on concrete (and by bins) with permission, than having to worry about being moved along.
Headed in to the Cafe and found the Boss, who after I explained my story looked at me quizzically, I waited to be politely refused looking as bedraggled as I likely did, but instead she said ‘of course!’. Off I go to collect the kayak and she appears on the beach – why don’t I just stay in her caravan she’s not using for the night? And while I’m at it, the Cafe and shop is open please help myself to any food and fresh coffee!
As a bit of background, the past few days have developed into a routine:
eat – sleep – get woken up – pack wet kit – paddle – eat maple bun – land – drag heavy boat up impossible beach – unpack wet kit in rain – cook instant mash – sleep in damp – repeat
So it’s safe to say Andrea’s offer made much more than my day. After a delicious pasty and hot drink, the sun even came out and I was able to dry off my kit for the first time in days. A full night’s sleep, not on the floor and without any local characters to wake me up? Bliss
A million and one thanks to Andrea who trusted and was generous to a complete stranger, if you’re ever down near Bude and Crackington Haven, go check out the Cabin Cafe you’ll receive a warm welcome I guarantee it! A small act of human kindness but one that meant the world to me at that moment.
Act of human kindness no.2
The day of my channel crossing was rushed and fairly stressful, by the time I was paddling the final 2 hours towards the Gower against wind and tide, I was exhausted.
I arrived in Port Enyon wet and close to my limit. My loaded kayak is too heavy to lift, so I have a trolley, however dragging it up the beach is easier said than done, the wheels get stuck on rocks and even a sandy beach just means the wheels sink. I made it up the beach – cue the rain and no phone signal. With my plan to call friends at the campsite for a pick up squashed, I put up the tent and fell straight asleep, not even the energy for my nightly mashed potatoes…
The next morning my phone had conveniently died so I set off to find a phone box. After trying the doors of the Gower activity centre only to find them locked, I wasn’t sure what to do so decided to sit and think. That was when I spotted a car and the driver getting out, so went over to ask for help.
Finally some luck! He was a fellow outdoors man and after my ramble of an explanation, went and got me a banana and chocolate milk drink saying I looked like I needed it, I imagine he was right. He offered to drive me and my kit to the campsite no issue, what a relief!
He told me how he was a climber and had relied on others in the past, all part of the outdoors. He saw it as karma, passing on an act of kindness. As I’ve said before I don’t think this trip would be possible without the help of strangers. Cheers mate!
Thanks to everyone who has donated or sent me messages along the way, it makes more difference than you know!