−−−−− BY LINZI DAVIES −−−−−

In September last year, we reported on ‘The Pirates of the Canal’ – mother and daughter duo Addi and Athina from Horsforth, completing their adventure on the Leeds & Liverpool canal aboard an inflatable canoe. Following the huge success of their journey, this year they have been afloat England’s waterways again, this time on a raft made of recycled materials!

The adventure began several months ago when they started gathering their materials and coming up with designs for the raft. After several sketches, and the help of a family friend who is an engineer, they came up with a fantastic design which even included a washing line! The intrepid pair have sourced water pipes, pallets and other odds and ends from local building sites to create their raft which they have named ‘Pontiki’. Addi and Athina visited Redrow Homes in Leeds and spoke to site manager Simon who said, “People sometimes ask me for stuff for their homes and gardens but I’ve never had anyone talking about building a raft before!” He arranged for the water pipes to be supplied and even cut them to the right size.

The Pirates of the Canal II adventure took place this time on the Lancaster canal where they were aiming to paddle a whopping 67km in just 6 days, camping along the way. As well as using recycled materials in the raft, they also collected litter from the canal as they went, towing it inside a net bag, to promote awareness of littering and the effect it has on nature and wildlife.

The journey began just outside Preston, with them paddling north alongside the M6 through picturesque villages and the city of Lancaster, before reaching their destination just north of the A65 in a village called Crooklands.

Addi said “we have met lots of lovely canal people and plenty of animals! We were given a lovely warm welcome by people waiting for us at the Bridge House Marina at the end of day 2 and were towed for a while on day 4 by a family on their canal boat, with son Daniel drawing a fantastic picture of our raft. Paddling more than 10km each day was tiring but the adventure was worth every minute, we have had a fantastic time!”

Addi and Athina are inspirational, not afraid to try anything and prove that if you put your mind to something you can do whatever you want. We can’t wait to see what they get up to next!

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