Posted by:
Nigel Bates

Thames Canoe Trip


This month Socio embarked on a grand adventure, navigating one of the mightiest rivers in the world… the Thames. Equipped with a 3 man canoe, paddles and a tent we began our 36 mile trip starting in Reading with our finish line in Windsor.

The weather was less than desirable, but kitted out in matching ponchos we made good headway on the first leg of our voyage. After a few miles the weather cleared and we could appreciate the beautiful scenery the Thames provided, something only achieved by our particular method of transport. However our cheerfulness was short lived as the further we rowed the darker the clouds got, and soon enough the rain was back but this time thunder and lightning came too. Our initial checkpoint was a campsite in Marlow, however after six straight hours of rowing we were still two hours away and with a storm upon us we had to seek an alternative solution. Luckily, we got a camp spot at Hurley lock, so we dragged the boat out, put up the tent and headed to the local pub.

The following morning wasn’t the greatest start. After the 6 hour slog the previous day we had all been looking forward to a good night sleep. But with none of us being seasoned campers, we had neglected to bring a comfortable mat to separate us and the cold, hard ground resulting in a poor night sleep and even poorer attitudes (it was also raining still).

Before long we were back on the river. With a much shorter three hour distance to the next campsite, we took our time and got some tunes on the go from our aptly named playlists ‘river slow’, ‘river medium’ and ‘river fast’, depending on how lazy or energetic we felt. We soon arrived at our second and final checkpoint, the lovely riverside village of Cookham. The campsite sat along side a quiet stretch of river, so with the sun shining we got back in the boat and had a leisurely row, with some obligatory boat beers in hand.

On the third and final day, the sun had decided to stick around so we were keen to get back in the boat and coast our way to Windsor. We hadn’t seen any other canoe’s on the river the previous days, but on the last day we met some adversaries. Armed with ergonomic paddles, padded back supports and two men to a boat rather than our cumbersome three, we thought we we dead in the water. But our competitive nature kicked in, and with pedal to the metal (or a similar boating analogy) we left them for dust.

After another four hours on the river, we rowed into windsor and pulled the boat out for the last time. The trip had been a big test physically and mentally (the british weather can do that to a person), but it was a feat we were proud to have achieved and a good laugh.

Image by Ollie Harding


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