Monday, 2 May 2011

Enter rubber ducks, exit rubber ducks

Swim 1: Cricklade bridge to Water Eaton House
Bank Holiday Monday 2nd May
We walk along the bank from Water Eaton to a small slipway just outside Cricklade, where we walk upstream to High Bridge at Cricklade where we stopped our walk. This section combines swims 1 and 2 from Michael Worthington's 'I Love the Thames', a book that has inspired us and that we will use as a guide, and put to the test. Sef has two rubber ducks dressed Hawaiian style, purchased fortuitously on a trip to swim in San Francisco's bay. These travellers are set forth from the bridge and, albeit upside down, find the river's current to float them. We have to wade as the water is not even up to our knees for much of the route. 
The riverbed is hazardously strewn with bottles, bits of cars, old clothes, dead crabs and stones so we're glad for our rubber feet. The only other hazards are the swans. They are nesting, and one pair deem us perilously close. We squeeze close to the bank trying to show the brooding mother, and panicky dad that we aren't a threat. Sef considers reigning in the ducks, but the current looks like it will sweep them past mid-river. But suddenly they eddy, chose another flow and float straight into the side of the beswanned nest, right themselves and stay there. We must ask David Walliams to collect them on his way through. 
Sometimes the river is waist deep. Sometimes you take a step and mid-sentence find yourself up to your neck. Your comrades laugh. At Water Eaton footbridge, 3km from the bridge, we get out after a swim in a deep, but strongly currented pool. 

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