From Rio de Janeiro to Great Haywood – Olympian Nick Beighton’s canal adventures
What do you do after spending three years training six days a week in order to compete in the Paralympics? The answer, according to Nick Beighton, is “Go on a narrowboat holiday!!”
Former Royal Engineers captain Nick first took up rowing as part of his rehabilitation programme after losing both legs to a Taliban landmine in Afghanistan in 2009. He competed in the mixed scull at the 2012 Paralympics and won the bronze medal in the Men’s KL2 canoe sprint at the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro.
Back home after his Brazilian exploits, Nick decided it was time for some quality time with wife Alexis and son Jonah. “After Rio I was after a way to wind down with my family on a proper British holiday,” says the 35-year-old from Stockport. “Spending a week on a narrowboat seemed like the ideal solution! We were slightly apprehensive when we arrived at Great Haywood Marina, not really knowing what to expect as I’m a double above knee amputee and we have a 2-year-old son. What could go possibly wrong??!”
Happily, the answer to that latter question was ‘nothing at all’. “The Anglo Welsh staff were brilliant,” continues Nick. “After getting our kit on board and having a briefing it was straight off for a practice and a demo of how to navigate a lock. Having never helmed a narrowboat before it took a little getting used to, especially as we’d hired a 67ft barge called Oracle. Luckily, I’ve sailed a bit so it didn’t take too long to get familiar with the tiller. After being under way for about 20 minutes we were on our own!”
“Over the next five days we had a fabulous family holiday. First, we travelled down the Trent and Mersey Canal and a day-out at the National Memorial Arboretum. Then it was on to the Birmingham and Fazeley and a day at Drayton Manor Park to keep our son happy. We chose a route without too many locks to navigate and plenty of good canal side pubs to enjoy!”
“All in all it was a very enjoyable week,” concludes Nick. “We left relaxed and full of appreciation for the great service offered by everybody at Anglo Welsh.”
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