The Final Countdown...

Firstly, I must apologise for this post and future posts as I will be sending them out as I write them. I will not have the great wisdom of my grammar and spelling fairies, who check that my dyslexic posts make sense. They

have all been amazing at encouraging me to write and also not changing my style of writing when correcting my mistakes.

I’m not really sure were to begin but the final countdown has began….

I’ve been paddling in Pembrokeshire and around Anglesey quite a bit getting some extra mileage under my belt before the trip. I’ve been stressing – lots of that. Buying last minute kit I forgot to get. Getting last minute support from MSR, Themarest and Alpkit, moving house and renewing my first aid.

Tom paddling through the cave at Tenby
Seal at Menai
Jo and Kate

On Monday I went to Ogwen Cottage (Aberdfyi’s satellite centre) for my last week of work at Outward Bound, were I had lots of hopes to get route planning finished and update people on my progress in the evenings. Unfortunately, one of the delights of working at Ogwen means sometimes we have no Internet – it was one of those weeks. My good friend Matt had a look at my website one of the nights, when we went to Plas Y Brenin to steal Wi-Fi. He did all the jobs I had been meaning to do for months – uniform the pages, add my fundraising page, add some of my kind sponsors logo’s etc. I now have a website that looks a bit better and can give people more information on the charity. Me on the other hand, just about replied to emails, looked at distances for my first day, weather and it was time to get to my bed. So yesterday (Friday), getting back to Aberdyfi everything hit me hard, that I am quite unprepared. I have a million things to do BUT really all I need to do is pack the car, get to Ireland and get on the water realistically!!

The best thing about yesterday though, was after my meltdowns and stresses; my amazing friends surprised me with a final farewell meal in Aberdyfi. I was given many words of wisdom and encouragement, an Irish cake (It was a Guinness chocolate cake too) and a bunch of letters for when the days get ‘shit’, one of their letters will pick me back up and motivate me to keep going - I definitely will be thankful of them on those days!!!

Guinness chocolate cake
A Very overwhelmed Caoimhe and the wonderful cake maker herself - Katie!

A very overwhelmed Caoimhe with the Amazing cake maker herself - Katie!

I am completely overwhelmed and in shock by the encouragement and kindness of not only my wonderful friends (those in Aberdyfi, Ireland and further afield) and family. BUT the kindness of people, who do not know me or who have taken me under their wing. I do not know what I have done to deserve so much support and I cannot put into words how grateful I am. This post and future posts will never really describe how I truly feel about these wonderful people. I hope that in time I will be able to repay the favour.

So what is next – Get the ferry tonight and an early morning drive back to my home in Belfast. I will spend a day or two at home, to get my plan organised and finalised. Weather permitting, I hope to get on the water in Newcastle Co.Down on Tuesday 2nd May 2017. I am hoping to paddle around 40km a day, again depending on weather this could less or if I happen to get fitter and stronger, maybe more!! I hope that my friends and people, who are keen to watch my progress will join me along the way, whether it’s a cup of tea at camp, wave me off on a paddle or complete a few days with me. I am most definitely not be going for a record to get around Ireland and anyone who paddles with me knows I’m not a fast paddler but I’m a donkey, so I’ll just keep plodding along.

I will try to update my blog every few days and my facebook page as much as possible with my location. Until the big day…