Where, When, How?
Starting on Saturday 13th August, I will meander 140miles from Thames Head, at the river’s source near Trewsbury arriving at Putney Bridge / Central London on Saturday 27th August. Hopefully if all goes to plan I will be able to swim into central London. But, to swim any further than Putney bridge requires the Port of London Authorities permission (which apparently is notoriously hard to get).
The first 17 or so miles will be on foot till I get to Lechlade on Thames. From here I will start swimming/wading the in the River. From then on I aim to swim approximately 10 miles a day and complete the journey over a 2 week period. I purposely want to keep the daily distance as an approximation, and if I feel stronger I will swim longer, and if I am struggling I will swim less. So, the finish date is just approximate.
I recognise that challenges like these are a great way to raise money for charity. So other than the physical and mental challenge, which I enjoy (to an extent), I am doing this swim to raise money for 2 charities that I resonate with.
Knowing that you are doing something that might help a terminally ill child to receive care or helping someone who is suffering with cystic fibrosis makes the challenge pale in comparison to what they have to go through, and helps to get through the harder days.
As said, I am raising money for two charities – Helen & Douglas House and The Cystic Fibrosis Trust – with the aim of raising £2500 for each charity. I chose Helen and Douglas house, as they are a centre who support children with life-shortening conditions. I chose The Cystic Fibrosis Trust as my Mum’s friend’s daughter has CF, and I know first hand what she has to deal with.
From my research, the main dangers are catching illnesses from all the pollutants and sewage that ends up in the river. No getting around this one really.
To quote The Port of London Authority, the dangers for swimmers in the tidal section of the Thames includes:
- Powerful tides
- Eddies and undertows – will suck swimmers under in seconds and keep them below the surface for days.
- Bitingly cold river water
- Sewage (39 million cubic litres to be exact)