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.

Swim 31 Track - Gatehampton (Almost) to Pangbourne

Swim 31 Map - Gatehampton (Almost) to Pangbourne

Sunday 15 July 2012

Swim 30: South Stoke to Gatehampton (Almost)

With the Thames in full spate we continued with our current assisted swims and had another 4.9km (feels like 3km!) swim from South Stoke almost to Gatehampton. Swim number 30 – was it really that many since we started at Easter last year? – was a momentous milestone as we crossed the half way mark shortly after starting on our non-tidal Thames journey from the Source to Teddington. We also swam through the famous Goring Gap via Cleeve Lock (keep to the right) and then Goring Lock (keep to the the left). Walkers started along the Ridgeway at South Stoke on the left bank and joined the Thames path at Goring, which crosses the river to the left bank to meet the Ridgeway and the ancient Icknield Way. Goring was a major crossing point of the Thames in ancient times. This swim is swim 43,44 and some of 45 in the I ♥ the Thames book.

We met at the swim entry point at the end of Ferry Lane in South Stoke at, where there is limited parking:

Parking is also available at the Perch and Pike, where we had lunch afterwards, which is a 5-10 minute walk away from the start point at the end of Ferry Lane:

We swam down to just before Brunel's Great Western Gatehampton Viaduct (A bridge with several equally spaced arches for the less pretentious.) We exited at the beach on the left:

and walked back along the Thames path and Ferry Lane in Goring to cars that we had shuttled down to the car park in Goring:

We then shuttled back to the Perch and Pike for Lunch

Swim 30 Track - South Stoke to Gatehampton (Almost)

Swim 30 Map - South Stoke to Gatehampton (Almost)

Sunday 1 July 2012

Swim 29: Carmel College to South Stoke

This is a swim of 4.9km and is approximately swim 41 and 42 in the I ♥ the Thames book.

We met at the hard standing at Carmel College. This is private property and you should, like we did, seek permission before parking there. The gates may be locked without warning, so don't say you weren't:

The entry point is at the old Boat House at Carmel College. There is an alternative entry point on the bank opposite (not fully scouted by our team) in case you fail to secure permission to enter at Carmel.

We shuttled dry changing kit to a small car park at the exit point before setting off. We stopped for coffee and cakes at a jetty at an abandoned ferry crossing:

We then continued down to South Stoke and got out at the the slipway:

We then repaired to the Perch and Pike for lunch.

Swim 29 Track - Carmel College to South Stoke

Swim 29 Map - Carmel College to South Stoke