If you’re looking for something to push your limits, completing the challenge could be perfect for a whole host of reasons! But preparing for the Three Lakes Challenge needs to be taken seriously.
And who better to advise you than those who have already done it. Our easy to follow tips below on preparing for the Three Lakes Challenge come from paddlers who have completed it. So let’s learn from the experts.
Preparing for the Three Lakes Challenge – the basics
- Pick your paddle buddy and support crew carefully! It’s a long paddle. Make sure everyone is up for the challenge. They’re vital to a successfully completed challenge!
- Make sure you take in the surroundings. Sure, you might be going for the fastest time on the leaderboard, but don’t make that the be all and end all. The Three Lakes Challenge takes place in three beautiful locations, so take advantage of the flora and fauna as you go. It will make the paddle just fly by.
- Have a plan before you set off and make sure you check things like access points before hand. Some can be a little tricky for support crews to reach, so always have a plan A and B.
We’re getting a bit more serious for this part…
- Train, train, train! – “Fail to prepare, prepare to fail” Obvious right? But this is a 43 mile challenge with some potentially difficult conditions ahead. Take precautions and prepare yourself for the challenge. The more you train, the easier the challenge will be.
- Take logistics seriously. Make sure you have enough straps for the boats to attach to your car. What about the boats you are taking? Are you taking any extras to account for changing weather conditions? What kit do you intend to take? Have you got every eventuality covered? How will you be getting to the locations? Will you be doing them all in one go or all on separate days? Do you have hi-vis jackets so you can spot your support crew from the water? Consider how much change you might need for car parking and snacks on site. Have you got a sat nav and a map as back up? All things to think about!
- Weather is important! If you’re taking on any of the challenge routes, you need to remember to check the weather. Not only do you need to look if it will be hot or cold, but also wind direction, wind speed and precipitation is important too. Cold? Wrap up with layers and wear a hat. Warm? Sun cream, extra water and a sun cap are a must. Light wind? You’re in luck, but it might mean a slower paddle. Strong cross wind? Make sure you are capable of paddling in potential chop. Also think about wind direction – would it be more suitable to start at the other end if it means you get a tail wind? Who’d have thought the weather could throw up so many considerations!
We’re not finished yet…
- Snacks and supplies. You’re likely to be on the water for a considerable amount of time, burning energy and needing to refuel often. Make sure you take a healthy supply of snacks with you – fruit, energy bars, anything like that. Plan support crew stops if you need to, that’s what they’re there for! You’ll also need plenty of water onboard too, so a camelbak might be a sound investment.
- Make sure you know your left from your right! Some of the lakes can split off in different directions, so you really need to study the map and have a support crew barking orders to keep you on track… especially on Loch Awe as it opens out quite a bit in the middle!
- Take a camera to record the memories, and a phone to call for assistance if needed. Some of the Lakes, especially Loch Awe, are pretty big. If you get into any sort of difficulty, always make sure you have a means of calling for help (or at least to make sure your coffee order is in with the support crew before you beach!)
- It’s good to consider any potential risks. Think about the kit you will take onboard. Airbags, buoyancy aids, a small first aid kit, spare blanket, warm, dry clothes and any other ’emergency’ kit. Just incase!
- Remember to log your times. We want to know all about your paddle. So make sure you keep a log of the times when you paddle each one and enter them on our leaderboard in the paddle section.
Right, now you know the drill, it’s time to start planning your challenge in more detail. Good luck!