On a beautiful but windy afternoon we joined with 35 other teams to attempt the relay race across the River Severn from the Pengwern Boat House opposite the Quarry. Early arrival gave some of the crew the chance for to get in some practice, but it was evident from the strength of the wind that this was going to be a difficult challenge for all.
Amanda, and then Kara, fought bravely to control their coracles against a stiff cross wind, but both ended up being ‘rescued’ by the support boats. Derek then tried his hand to find the same happened to him. Come race time and the wind had dropped a little much to the relief of all of the teams participating.
Leading off in Heat 2 was Martin with mascot, Germaine the Penguin. At 6 foot 3 ins the small space in the coracle was quite a challenge for Martin and he battled with an ungainly oar action to traverse the river and back. He admitted: “That was the hardest physical challenge I have faced in many years, I was exhausted by the end.”
A quick changeover a hefty push saw Derek float out onto the water. The wind must have increased in strength on the return leg as he soon found himself going sideways through the coracle traffic! With hoots of laughter from the crowd and much egging on by the commentator, Derek manfully tried to make headway back to the shore, only to plunge into the icy waters. “It was very cold”, confided Derek afterwards, “but some said they would double their donations if I fell in! Time to pay up!”
A very concerned crew, albeit stifling giggles and exchanging views on whether he deliberately dived in, encouraged Derek to swim to the shore dragging the coracle. The river rescue team recovering mascot Germaine from the waters. Sadly, we only had time for Kara to get blown off course again and she had to turn back as the race had ended.
It was a fantastic event and thanks to the generosity of our many backers we have raised over £1,000 for Macmillan, which is a wonderful achievement. We all wish to express our thanks to all who have followed and encouraged us.