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Saturday, 8 July 2017

My feet are red. Bright red. How did that happen?

I'd paddled a fair distance today. All the way from Parbold in Lancashire to Crook Hall Inn, on the other side of the M6 motorway, and back again. When I got home I had only one thing on my mind. A hot, relaxing bath, with plenty of bubbles. And a glass of wine. Just as I was about to step into the enticing bath, I looked down. My feet were red. Not just red, but bright red! You could have found your way home in the dark using my feet as a torchlight. How on earth did that happen?

And then I remembered. Parbold. 9am this morning. Right next to the Leeds Liverpool Canal. With my good friends from SUPNORTH. The original plan had been to get on the canal at Burscough, paddle to Wigan, and get the train back (or vice versa depending on the wind direction). But a train stike had forced a last minute change of plan.

It was a warm sunny day. An especially warm and sunny day for early July in the north of England. So I had covered myself with factor 50 sun cream, inflated my Redpaddle 10'6 iSUP, removed my shoes, and got on the water. Yes, that's right I took my shoes off after applying the sun cream to the exposed parts of my body. No cream on my feet. No wonder they were shining bright red! My poor, white, Scottish feet had been exposed to more than 8 hours of relentless sunshine.

As I eased my feet gently into the bath, through the foam and into the hot water below, I reflected on a wonderful day out. Was it worth the pain of hot water on sunburned skin? Yes probably!

15 of us. A 5 mile paddle from Parbold to lunch at Crook Hall Inn and back again, in warm windless conditions. Great company, beautiful, canal-side scenery and a great lunch with a glass of wine. And also a first! Well it was definitely a first for me. I've never paddled under a motorway before. I guess I've never paddled over a motorway either. None of my SUP activities to date had involved motorways! You can see the M6 motorway here as it passes over the Leeds Liverpool Canal at Gathurst.

I definitely think a day-long paddle along this stretch of canal should be in the diary every year.

Next time, factor 50 for my feet!

July 2017

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