Monday, 2 May 2011

Swim 1: Cricklade Bridge to Water Eaton House

This was the first "swim" in our attempt to swim the length of the Thames. This stretch combines swims 1 and 2 from I ♥ the Thames, and covers just over 3km. We parked at the Town Hall car park in Cricklade:

From there we shuttled down to the end point at the footbridge near Water Eaton House - parking is limited in a layby close to an angler’s car park. (If no fishermen are present, it makes for a good outdoor changing room. Shhh, don’t tell anyone).

We walked up the road towards Castle Eaton and took the Bridleway to Water Eaton footbridge.  We walked back up to Cricklade along the Thames Path allowing us to survey the river for obstacles from the safety of the bank. (Recommended practice from Mike's book and particularly relevant for these early sections of the river).  To avoid any gymnastics at Cricklade bridge we got in from a slipway just outside Cricklade:

We then walked upstream to the bridge and then turned round and walked down to Water Eaton house. There were occasional pools to swim in but mainly this is a wading section in these days of dry weather. Cricklade has pubs, Castle Eaton has the best pub, the Red Lion.

It would be foolhardy to attempt this without a decent pair of 'feet' - a pair of surf boots with thick grip soles or cheapy beach shoes of the petrol station / supermarket / bucket-and-spade shop type with a pair of wetsuit socks, or even a pair of old trainers.

It should also be noted that the banks of the river on the stretches leading from Cricklade to Lechlade are often owned by angling clubs.  In order to avoid negative interaction with anglers it is recommended to do these stretches out of fishing season.

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