Kayak pair are all Washed out

PUBLISHED: 16:54 10 August 2006 | UPDATED: 11:56 04 May 2010

ALL SMILES NOW: Brian Partridge (left) and Mark Turner, happy to be back on dry land.
Photo: SUPPLIED

ALL SMILES NOW: Brian Partridge (left) and Mark Turner, happy to be back on dry land. Photo: SUPPLIED

TWO Ely men who canoed across The Wash and back in their ocean kayaks last weekend got lost in fog and almost took a detour to Norway. Ely Runner Brian Partridge and former Ely Runner Mark Turner set out from Snettisham on their two-day, 34-mile, test

TWO Ely men who canoed across The Wash and back in their ocean kayaks last weekend got lost in fog and almost took a detour to

Norway.

Ely Runner Brian Partridge and former Ely Runner Mark Turner set out from Snettisham on their two-day, 34-mile, test on Saturday morning and it took them seven hours to reach Skegness.

Partridge said: "It was great trip out with smooth seas, and we had seals accompanying us at close quarters most of the way."

Trouble came at the halfway point when they were engulfed in heavy fog, leaving them unable to see any land.

Partridge said: "It was very demoralising. We had to get our maps out, plus GPS (Global Positioning Satellite), which neither of us had used before, and compasses to ensure that we didn't head out into the North Sea towards Oslo!"

After much deliberation between the two men, who came out with conflicting compass readings, they amazingly made it precisely to Gibraltar Point. Then, after six hours at sea, were told by a nature warden they were not allowed to park there.

Turner said: "It was incredible. We were told that we had parked on an area where an endangered species of duck laid their eggs. In our exhausted state we had to make a three-and-a-half mile trip up the coast to Skegness and camp overnight."

Partridge and Turner then set out on the 5am tide on Sunday morning.

The return trip was more challenging with strong winds pushing against them as well as eight foot waves and heavy rain to ensure they were both tested to their limits.

Turner said: "The kayaks we were using are not designed for this sort of trip so we were really tested on the way back, but I'm just relieved that we made it."

Both men returned in six and half hours to make landfall at Heacham, about half a mile short of their launch point.

Partridge is already out running again to train for another challenge - the Beachy Head Marathon in October. Several Ely Runners have entered this scenic but hilly (3,500ft of climb) event of 26.2 miles of cross-country tracks over the South Downs, and this time Partridge hopes he doesn't get lost.

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