Leeds & West Yorkshire

BBC Sport Relief: Adam and Katherine take the slow boat to Leeds

Two BBC Radio Leeds presenters have begun intensive training for a special waterborne challenge in March in aid of BBC Sport Relief 2012.

Adam Pope and Katherine Hannah aim to navigate along the entire 127 miles (204km) of the historic Leeds-Liverpool Canal - using just a pedalo boat.

Travelling at an average speed of about 2mph (4km/h), and negotiating 91 locks along the way, the pair aim to complete their pedal-powered journey in just 10 days, collecting cash for Sport Relief along the way.

Hannah, who presents the BBC Radio Leeds Breakfast Show, said it was a "massive challenge" but one both she and Pope were preparing hard for.

"I'm going to the gym five days a week, doing a combination of running, cycling and weights to try and strengthen my leg muscle," she said.

"I've also borrowed my sister's bike to do some extra pedalling at weekends. It's killing me." she added.

Image caption The pair will depend on Grace the pedalo for their journey

Pope, who is a sports and also a breakfast presenter at BBC Radio Leeds, said he had lost more than a stone in weight over the past six months by running, playing squash and going to the gym.

'Raising cash'

Starting the journey at the Albert Dock, Liverpool, on 14 March, the pair will depend on a swan-shaped pedalo called Grace on their journey to Leeds.

On the route, they will travel from the centre of Liverpool to Wigan and Blackburn before heading back to Yorkshire.

Along the way, the presenters will have to negotiate the famous Five-Rise Locks at Bingley, the steepest lock "staircase" in Britain where boats descend 60ft (18.29m) using a series of locks first opened in 1774.

Hannah said she was looking forward to travelling along a historic waterway.

"Some of the scenery along the route is really beautiful and no doubt we'll meet loads of interesting people on the way," she said.

"I've never done anything like this before, so I'm excited about taking on such a massive challenge and hopefully raising lots of cash for Sport Relief."

'Aching backside'

Pope said he had some very good reasons to look forward to the journey.

"Liverpool is where I was born and the Albert Dock, where we start from, is where I proposed to my wife so it's a very special journey for me," he said.

"I keep thinking about how brilliant it will feel for me and Katherine when we finally achieve our aim and land back in West Yorkshire."

Despite all their preparations, the pair both admitted they knew the pedal-powered trip was going to be tough.

Image caption The presenters will have to negotiate the Five-Rise Locks at Bingley as part of their journey

Pope said his biggest challenges on the journey would be "the pain, the cramp and the chafing".

While Hannah said: "I'm not looking forward to the aching legs and aching backside.

"And, with it being March, the weather could be really cold and wet. Not fun if you're stuck outside on a pedalo."

"Plus, 10 days pedalling next to Popey, well, have you heard his jokes?"

Follow their pedal-powered journey on BBC Radio Leeds, BBC Look North and at bbc.co.uk/leeds from 14 March.

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