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Once we made it down off the Reeks after our impromptu game of Twister in a Bothy and safely crossed the raging river we trotted on down the road and worked our way to the final transition area …

When we reached Lord Brandon’s cottage, we saw several non-competitive teams who had been sleeping there, who were waiting to start the last stage which was a 13k paddle across Killarney lakes in Canadian canoes. There was only a limited number of these canoes but as a ranked team we were able to skip the queues and take the remaining boats which were waiting for us by the banks.
Helmets and pfd’s on and we were ready to haul the fairly heavy boats 500m to the put in. I can’t say I was too ever too happy in these boats. They’re not very stable and really difficult to manoeuvre. The first part down the river was nice though. It was a lovely morning and you could actually see the mountains and valleys for a change. Peter and I capsized going through the main rapid and we had a nice swim as we were swept down river.
Mike – I loved the first half of this. A glass like lake under the sun, enveloped by a the surrounding mountains. The canoes just gliding silently along. It was a magic moment, knowing we were going to finish after all we had been through, not just in the race, but this year as a team.

We entered the river and Kate and Peter took another swim through the rapids beneath the bridges. It took a while and a kind bystander on the bank to right them again while we were all eaten alive by midgies.

This isn’t us but it gives you an idea of conditions which had worsened by the time we were on the river

We had to keep to the right bank once we hit the lakes to avoid being pulled too far down by the wind and that meant we overshot the entrance to Muckross lake.

That was soon rectified and after a difficult paddle across the lake, where we were constantly being tugged in the wrong direction, we came gleefully to the ITERA flag. There were loads of marshals on hand to help us bring in the boats and then Mike’s mum appeared to give him a big hug.
She also had the most amazing sugar coated, jam filled donuts and with this sugar high we trotted off on the final kilometre to the finish, crossing the line at 11:56 am to finish in 13th place

Stage 8:
Canoe: 4:08
Total race time: 144:25:37*