Four Network members travelled down to Devizes in Wiltshire to complete 30 miles on the Kennet and Avon canal in 2 man canoes for the Gold Duke of Edinburgh expedition and Queen Scout Award.

Wiltshire was the destination, the aim was to complete 30 miles of the Kennet and Avon canal and this was the first practice run for the Network members from Essex, Hertfordshire and Greater London North. Nancy Ibrahim, Sam Hewlings, Owen Ward and Kirstie Wright are all working towards their Queen Scout Award and this was the first time the group had spent a weekend together, but they bonded well as a team and had a good laugh in the sunniest weekend in a long time.

The weekend consisted of 2 nights camping and 3 days of canoeing, starting in Devizes. The hardest day was the first day where paddling was a massive shock to the body, but both boats managed the 8 miles to the pub where camp was set up.

Saturday was far the longest and most exciting day, the lovely weather had brought lots of people onto the river and then there was a swan to contend with. About half an hour into the day the group was warned about a swan that was attacking canoeists, and it didn’t fail to do so to the group, as it flew towards the canoes and attacked. After half an hour and escaping to the safety of the bank the swan returned to its nest and the group devised a new route to still ensure the 15 miles were covered.

The whole weekend was a challenge to the whole group but it was successful and gave everyone belief that the official expeditition in the Caledonian Canal in July, which covers 60 miles in 4 days, will not be as hard as first thought. Everyone came away with a sense of achievement and also the added bonus of sunburn!