Day 6 (12th Sep 2013) – Stainforth to Keadby

DSC02508The day dawned cloudy but warm and dry on a picturesque scene. The multi-coloured canoes lay about on the lawn of The New Inn at Stainforth and the narrow-boats ‘Merlot’ and ‘Michael Hayes’ were moored side by side on the edge of the canal. The lads had been well treated by the owners of the pub the previous night, having been told to help themselves to the pool competition buffet, consisting of a layout of most excellent BBQ chicken legs, kebabs and chips, and then at the end of the night the publican whipped up some tasty chicken and rice. Mmmm…

The day started badly when Terry, our guide for the River Trent later,  tripped up on some cement and twisted his back badly. But we were low on crew so Terry volunteering to steer the boat while Curtis opened locks and bridges. Terry even managed to use the vibrating tiller handle as a makeshift massager for his back. So there were four kayakers into the canal; Patrick borrowed Terry’s racing kayak to try and set a new speed record from Stainforth to Keadby, Bryan in a modern sea kayak this time and Justin and Stevo on their usual steeds. There was only one lock, at Thorne, followed by what was basically a day of long, straight sections interrupted by swing and lift bridges. The kayaks and boats kept up a similar pace so that Curtis could open the bridges and let everyone through. Halfway through the day Terry felt good enough to swap out with his brother Bryan and paddle the rest of the way. Towards the end of the day the three non-racing kayaks encountered a gang of young swans out and about and looking for trouble but after a bit of bluster from both sides it came to nothing. Finally the smokestacks of Keadby power station appeared and the lads came through the last bridge, a sliding railway model, and up to Keadby lock and the looming tidal Trent on the other side. After the boats moored Bryan borrowed Stevo’s kayak to see if he’d like the type and Curtis hopped into Terry’s sea kayak for a spin. Curtis decided to check how far the boat could tilt before he could use his paddle to re-right her and became swimmer #3 for the trip. This seems to be maintaining an every second day swim compared with only one on the 2010 trip (by Stevo after Justin convinced him that a seal launch of the bank was a cool idea). Patrick wandered by to announce a sub two hour Thorne to Keadby time compared with the three hour fifteen minute time of the others.

A long delayed Bundaberg toast was made for new paddlers Curtis, Terry and Bryan with the other lads joining in, and afterwards there was sadness as they discovered that of the two pubs in Keadby, one had burnt down and the other had closed down.

Crazy wildlife entrant #3: Stuart likes to play BBC Radio 1 as he drives the boat and when Stevo spotted him jumping around and waving his arms wildly he figured he was just dancing to a Lady Gaga tune. Turns out he was trying to ward off an attack of killer wasps.

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