Sunday 12 May 2013

Swim 46: Monkey Island to Boveney Lock

On Sunday 12th May 2013, about a dozen of us met up at 10.30am in a car park close to Boveney Lock. Meanwhile, Sharon had some catching up to do from Bray Lock, a little upstream of Monkey Island, so had already got in the river earlier, at 10.15am:

Sharon, leaving Bray Lock

Originally we were going to shuttle up to near Monkey Island by car, but due to limited parking spaces, it would have been a complicated shuttle run, so instead, we decided to walk up to the getting-in place. Part-way there we found Sharon swimming downstream:

Sharon says hello to Lesley, Adam and Charles (photographer) on the towpath.

Earlier, Sharon saw assorted birdlife, including some terns wheeling about the river like giant grey-white swallows, and an indifferent Great-crested Grebe.

We ended up getting in at 11.45. The temperature wasn't too bad today at 12.3°C, but was not as warm as last Monday, when some of us had had a swim in the Thames at 14.5°C!

Temperature taken at Bray Lock, 10.10am

The getting-in place we used was just upstream of the footbridge over to Monkey Island, on the towpath/Thames path side of the river.

Getting in. From left to right: Jeremy, Rafael and Paul

Getting in. From left to right: Chris, Hywel, Claire, Lesley

The swim took a while.

Swimmers, viewed from the towpath

There were a lot of people on the river, and we got many friendly greetings from people on the boats ("Isn't it cold?" "YES!"), and the occasional cheeky comment from the ubiquitous young lads on the rowing boats. Watch out for the green buoy just after the sharp bend: whilst it does provide a shallow area to stand up and stretch legs, there are a lot of hidden logs and branches. Some of us got a bit scratched.

A little after the green buoy, we were very glad to see our bank supporters Charles and Natasha, along with Sharon (finished, dried and changed already!) standing on a wooden raft at the side of the river, with refreshments.

The view from the rafts, awaiting the swimmers in the distance.

Some of us felt that choc-cherry brownies were more urgent than getting fully out of the water:

Claire refuelling.

Paul trying not to drip on the brownie.

After some chocolate krispies and flapjacks too, we got back in to do the last few hundred metres to the lock. Chris found that the edge of the raft wasn't too sound, and slipped a bit, so the rest of us decided to jump in instead. Some of us leapt in with gusto;

Rafael outdoes his usual poses for photographs.

most of us made a big splash;

Sharon watches the splash that Adam made.

...and some of us were graceful, leaving a little splash:

Jeremy watches Chloe's no-splash splash.

After reaching the lock, Paul was going to get out, then changed his mind once he spotted the photo opportunity of the flagpole on the opposite bank.

Paul and his flagpole.

After finishing, we walked back the short distance from the lock, changed, and went to The Pineapple pub at Dorney, where they serve a huge selection of (very tasty) sandwiches, as well as soup, chips, and roast dinners. Thanks for booking the table, Jeremy!

Hywel put a candle from the mantelpiece onto our table, for that romantic effect.

Swim 46 Map - Monkey Island to Boveney Lock

Swim 46 Track: Monkey Island to Boveney Lock

Swim 46 - Monkey Island to Boveney Lock

We met at the finish in a free car park near to Boveney (note that the car park is locked at 5pm):

We walked up to the start, but you could shuttle to the same small car park as at the last swim:

Then we entered water here where there is a nice beach:

We then swam down to Boveney Lock, a distance of 4km:

and returned to finish car park where we met up.  Check out the church of St Mary Magdalene once used by the river folk on your way back from the lock to the car park.

This swim brings you up to Windsor Race Course.

We ate at The Pineapple at Dorney which has an extensive selection of sandwiches.