The Improbable Blog

Getting It Back

It’s been over a year since I took on any decent challenges.

I had planned a low budget bike ride through Spain and a three day walk to Britains remotest pub in 2020, but the pandemic put an end to that.

lillith, the bike I picked up from a skip for £12.50 and planned to cycle to Spain

It’s wrong to say that I’ve had no adventures this year, I moved up North, founded and ran an NGO, moved back down south, found (and lost) love and had a long overdue mental breakdown.

A couple of months ago I had a thought that no-one had swum the length of the country using inland waterways. As far as I can see there are two reasons for this:

  1. You physically cannot swim a line through the UK because the different waterways don’t all link up (if you think there is a way then please do get in touch!)
  2. The list of possible diseases I would catch include; Weils disease; Cryptosporidiosis; E Coli; Hepatitis A; Hepatitis C and Botulism

Post mental-breakdown, I was thinking that I could just go for it anyway and see what happens. But in a move of growing concern, my brother-in-law gave me a book (possibly as a deterrent) called ‘The Worst Journey In The Midlands‘ by Sam Llewellyn and, not for the first time, a book changed my life.

The book chronicles a journey in a rowing boat from Llanidloes to Westminster via the River Severn as well as a network of canals and waterways. It is rib-creakingly funny, as well as being poignant and quintessentially British. Buy it.

A day later I had all but inhaled the book, and I could feel the dusty old idea lightbulb in my brain starting to glow a dim orange, it felt like I was coming back to life.

Anyone that has experienced depression may be familiar with the feeling of when it starts to lift. To me it was like gasping for air and knowing that I wasn’t going to die anymore – this means that a man I have never met helped pull me to my feet by taking on and writing up a challenge before I was even born!*

A notable loss of sparkle behind the eyes in Sept 2020

Armed with this new lease on life, I decided that instead of swimming the length of the country using inland waterways, I will row.

In May 2021.

*I credit this book with a lot here, but I was also pulled back to my feet by my sister and her boys, my brother, friends, therapist and Citalopram.

CLICK HERE to see how this challenge is going

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1 Comment

  1. Dan Q December 6, 2020

    The anticipation of seeing what you manage to pull off is electric.

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