Graham’s Sponsored Row

This is a distance of about eight miles, but it involves pulling the boat out of the water and wheeling it round two sets of lock gates on the Exeter canal.
It was a lovely, calm day – perfect for rowing – and Graham was seen off by about twenty local well-wishers at Lympstone around high tide.  (There is no water at Lympstone when the tide is low.)  It took just under an hour to cross the Exe estuary to the Turf Lock, but finding a place to get out and pull the boat ashore was a problem.  Eventually Graham took to a vertical metal ladder by the lock gates holding onto a rope from the boat.  He then had to pull the boat to a part of the bank with a bit of a slope to get it out.  Then he couldn’t get his method of strapping wheels to the boat to work for ages.  In the end he had spent half an hour getting the boat less than 100 yards.
Then came the canal, much less interesting for rowing than the estuary with nothing much to see but the occasional swan.  It was also severely choked with weeds in places and slow going.  It was three hours into the row that Graham arrived at the Double Locks where Louise was waiting to cheer him on.  She had been telling all the lunchers on the bank at the Double Locks Inn what was going on, as well as getting money out of them, so it was an expectant and appreciative audience which saw Graham capsize the boat in attempting to get it out of the water.  His glasses went to the bottom of the canal.  They had been on the seat because he needed them to send Louise texts on his progress as he went.
So it was a soaking wet Graham who got back into the boat for the last – mercifully short – stretch to Exeter Quay.  The row took just under four hours.  Thanks to generous sponsorship from old friends in Hampshire, new friends in Devon and some very kind former pupils he raised £2,094.  Louise and Graham would like to thank all those who put their hands in their pockets to support this.


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