'We did it standing up'

My friend Dave Corntwhaite and I have just completed a mini adventure, in the form of a 150 mile Stand Up Paddle journey from Bath to London along the K&A Canal and the River Thames. ‘Stand up paddling?’ I hear you say, with a bemused look on your face. Well, it is exactly what it says on the tin. You stand up on a big surf board and paddle with a long paddle.

Blue Miles

Besides acting as a training run for our respective future expeditions, our aim was to encourage lots of people out on the water with us to complete as many Blue miles as possible. A blue mile is a mile travelled on or beside the water, and is an initiative set up by the Blue Project, for which Dave and I are both Ambassadors. Clocking up hundreds of blue miles between us and our accompanying paddlers and cyclists, we paddled under Tower Bridge on World Oceans Day, June 8th. While we weren’t at sea, the Thames is tidal below Teddington and of course this time last year I was out at sea on my very own piece of ocean, so it was important we landed on this day.

‘Are you supposed to be standing up?’

The adventure was full of thrills and spills, lots of funny misadventures and an awful lot of portages where we had to haul out and walk our boards around whatever obstacle was in our way, including 38 locks before breakfast on one day. Thankfully there were a few chocolate bars floating about, too, so I was happy! Lots of people have said that it was a bit of a step down compared to the Indian Ocean last year, but I disagree. Of course it wasn’t as long and was very different- you can see where you go on a paddle board, I had company, we had people feeding us and driving a support van and of course I had to wear clothes all the time  – but it was still a challenge and full of all the things I think adventure should be. The hardest thing was actually standing up for twelve hours a day – I had never considered how much it would hurt my feet.

For now I am supra busy with talks and finishing off my book to meet my publisher’s deadline, so I leave you with a little trailer of the documentary we shot and some of my favourite comments shouted at us from the banks. Enjoy.

YouTube Preview Image

‘That looks like the most precarious thing I’ve ever seen in my life’

Which one of you is Jesus?’

‘I hope you don’t get eaten by aligators’

‘It looks like

the working class version of punting’

‘That’s so cool. I love what you’re doing’

‘You’re never going to make it!’

A final thank you to all of our wonderful team and our sponsors for helping us make this happen, and all the lovely people who joined us en route to tear up some miles.

For more information check out www.thegreatbigpadle.com and www.theblueproject.org

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9 Responses to 'We did it standing up'

  1. Currin says:

    That was very cool…perfecting the joys of adventure!
    Currin (NZ)

  2. ( Mum) says:

    It looked like you had fun. Glad it all went well. Good to have you home again for a while though.

  3. belinda dade says:

    Hi Sarah

    What a fab video of a great stand-up paddle! What made you scream in the tunnel?!

    Belinda x

  4. clare Holt says:

    Hi Sarah!
    Well done to you both….lovely film! Speak soon, I hope?

  5. Christine & Kathleen says:

    Hello Sarah

    Well done on your recent achievements. Will be thinking of you especially tomorrow 13th. Sorry I wasn’t able to get up to Tower Bridge to meet you in like I had hoped as I was in London on the 8th.

    Take care for now and good luck with your next venture.


    C & K

  6. RoninVancouver says:

    Hello Sarah!

    Kerazy!!! Just watched a nine minute vid from Mark K about SUP. You guys have completely sold the sport to this old walrus. Ordered a board this a.m. Should arrive by end of June. Have lotsa locations – flat & calm in False Creek to wild & wooly in English Bay – to indulge myself in developing the skills to master this! Has anyone tried this on white water yet? Thank you for the intro, Ron 😉

  7. Jo Johnson says:

    Dear Sarah,what a ray of sunshine you are. Always up to new tricks and you never cease to amaze me.Never seen this done before except earlier this month in Salcombe.A man standing up and paddling with his spaniel on the bow and surfing the little waves on the beach!!!But well done you two and another first for you-you champion.Love Jo

  8. Terry Bradley says:

    Hi SARAH
    Sorry a bit late in response to your wonderful paddle experience
    So inspiring at what you do ,always happy and inspiring ,You make challangers so enjoyable and easy to accomplice.
    Waiting for your book to arrive ,Wont be able to put it down
    Happy to hear you are still very busy and racing forward,
    All the best for now take good care in health and well being,
    Hello to your Mum ,
    TAKE CARE for this time ,hope to hear more from you soon.
    TERRY B . WEST AUSSIE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Marrrr says:

    You rock my socks off albatross lady!! only just saw the video – loved it! and love that you have shared the love of percy pigs!!xxx

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