Sunday, 29 July 2012

Swim 31: Gatehampton (Almost) to Pangbourne

This swim took us under another of Brunel's Great Western viaduct masterpieces at Gatehampton and continued down past the Beale Wildlife Park.  After that we headed to the pedestrian inaccessible Whitchurch lock where we walked around and jumped back in for a short swim under the second of only two toll bridges on the Thames (Remember the other Toll bridge at Swinford on Swim #14?) to jump out at Pangbourne Meadows where we parked.

We then repaired to the Greyhound pub in Whitchurch for lunch.

We meet at the car park at Dolphin House in Pangbourne which is free on Sundays.  If you are in a large group, be aware that there are a number of car parks in the area and make sure everyone goes to the same one!

We shuttled to Goring and parked at the same car park we finished at on the last swim:

Parking is free here on Sundays as well.  We then walked down Ferry Lane and along the Thames Path to the beach entry point that we exited at on the last swim:

There is no access, pedestrian or otherwise, at Whitchurch Lock so we swam to the lock, walked around, got in and swim under Whitchurch Toll bridge and exited in Pangbourne River meadow here:

CAUTION:  Keep well to the left as you approach Whitchurch Lock as the weir is very close.  You would be unwise to attempt this swim when the flow is high. 

There is a challenge for walkers as the Thames path leaves the river at Gatehampton and heads for the Chiltern Hills only to rejoin at Whitchurch. The tow path crosses to the other side at Gatehampton via a long defunct ferry. We were unable to find a suitable place for our support team to join the river for a half way break.  We used a keysafe to keep our car keys safe rather than having the support team carry them.

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