Sunday, 12 June 2011

Enter Elvis...

Swim 5: Round House to Buscot Lock
Sunday 12th June

How locky we are
So here we are at Buscot Lock. Cold, because it has been raining all day, non-stop angled rain that hammers in rods into your eyes so that goggles and hats are absolutely necessary. And of course so is our new mascot, Elvis the duck, securely fastened to Jeremy's zip.

More bacon, courtesy of Chris, fueled this 3.9km Sunday swim (8 & 9 of 'I Love the Thames'). It rained all night long on Camp OSS and everyone feels so damp anyway they might as well be in the water. After a few waits and forgotten gloves, we trot down to the bridge at Inglesham and swim this wide part of the river around through Lechlade. The rain doesn't let up, and some of us are tired, from yesterday's swim and from the hovering helicopter that woke some campers while other slept merrily on, sleep arguing with their demons, or just snoring. Angela distracts the swans with bits of biscuits, at least two dozen of them (swans, not biscuits). The big bridge at Lechlade is the only shelter we get and the open pasture land of the sides of the river just add to the exposure. Officially, this is the first miserable swim and where possible Sef reverts back to extreme wading.

At least it starts that way. After we stop at St John's Lock, for cakes and sweet drinks, it's with a great summoning of energy that we reenter but everyone is in good spirits. The river beyond the lock is narrower and more enclosed despite it having been joined at the lock by the River Leach. It becomes more sheltered, with great willows shielding us from some of the rain. Nevertheless, for most of this stretch we are in head-down crawl, eager to get out and back to the Trout for lunch. We get out into the still heaving skies, pose on the lock and head quickly into Buscot where we change in machine sheds.

The Trout at St John's Lock, Lechlade, where we camped, has put us in a nice little side-room in its warreny heart and its wonderful to warm up here. Formerly known as the John the Baptist's Head, giving its name to the adjacent lock, this old hostelry has been around for a while and has a well-deserved reputation for riverside fun dating back a few years. Baskerville remarked in 1690 on it as "a very good inn for entertainment, and they have commonly strong march beer in bottles to sell, and pretty good wine." Prosaically renamed perhaps, the tradition continues and outside, a mini-music festival has drawn a lot of young folk for whom the constant rain appears not too distracting. Inside, we are tired but happy.

No comments:

Post a Comment