Cycling from England to Finland

26.04.19 – 14.05.19

Distance: 1704km /1059miles

Duration: 18 days

Nights in bed: 7 – I used the websites warmshowers and couchsurfing to arrange a place to sleep for free. A huge thank you to everyone I stayed with, it was amazing staying with locals and taking a glimpse into their lives and their countries. Warm Showers was so much easier to use than couchsurfing, as people often leave contact information, so you can call or message directly. You have no message limits on warm Showers, whereas you can only contact 10 people a week on couch surfing.

Nights Camping: 10

Cost: Around €220 (There were a few days that I didn’t record my spending, so this is a roughly accurate calculation, I think most of the spending was on ice cream). €120 of that was on ferries. So on average €5.5 a day if you don’t include ferries and €12.2 if you do.

Injuries: Sore butt and sore neck


Earlier in the year I cycled 1704km /1059miles from my hometown of Brackley to Helsinki via The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Sweden. I was back home visiting family and friends in April, and decided I would cycle back to Finland. I left on the 26th April in the hope of getting to Helsinki by the 15th of May – in time to start my summer contract. I have included my daily instagram posts below to help tell the story, but overall – other than a sore butt (expected), sore neck and 2 punctures – all went smoothly.


Route


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Selected as one of 101 Inspiring Adventurers

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Really chuffed to have been selected for this list of 101 inspiring adventurers.

There’s a load of inspiring people on the list and many of them are personal heroes to me. There’s no reason for the order, but I am number 19 if you fancy taking a look.

Also, in case you were wondering, I had nothing to do with the picture selection on their blog post… but I have put their picture choice above: longjohns and wellies in the Russian wilderness.

Just finished my second winter season working as a husky guide in Finnish Lapland. Now I have a month off before starting the summer season as a guide Helsinki.

During this time I have a few small trips planned with friends including: a 4 day forest skiing trip in Syöte National Park and a 10 day trip in the area near Pallas yllästunturi – trip reports to follow!

https://www.campsites.co.uk/guides/feel-more-adventurous

Swimming 137 miles down the River Thames

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It has been over two months since I clambered down a ladder into a small river at Lechlade, setting of on a 137 mile swim down the River Thames, finishing 15 days later at Putney Bridge. The physical reminders and sore muscles have long since subsided, but the memories and emotions forged during countless days in the water will stay with me forever. It seems like a hazy mad hatter alice in wonderland dream and I can’t quite believe I even attempted it.

WHY?

I’ve been asked this numerous times. I undertook this trip as the thought of doing such a thing terrified the crap out of me. I wrote about my fears in a previous post here. I remember hearing about David Walliam’s inspirational Thames swim several years ago, and I was completely in awe the someone could swim that far, especially in the murky depths of the Thames. But subconsciously I think a seed had been sown and around 3 years later I decided to take on my own swim down the Thames. It was shortly after I had run the Pennine Way and I was looking for next year’s challenge. My right knee was in absolute pieces so the thought of doing a running challenge was out of the question. I’d been mulling over the idea of swimming a river from source to mouth for a while, so whilst writing a sponsorship email I decided in the space of about 5 minutes I would attempt to swim the Thames the following year. I then emailed 2 more people asking for advice, and once you’ve emailed or told 3 people or more, it becomes official.

I also undertook the swim with the hope of raising £5000 for The Cystic Fibrosis Trust and Helen & Douglas House. We ended up raising £3200 in the end, which I am really happy with. I chose Helen and Douglas house, as they are a local hospice that supports children with life shortening conditions. I chose The Cystic Fibrosis Trust as a family friend’s daughter has CF, and I know how hard the illness can be.

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Knowing that what you’re doing can potentially help someone with a life threatening disease made the harder days of the swim pale in comparison to what they have to go through on a daily basis.

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Swimming the Thames – Daily Diary Entry – Day 15

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BLOG POST – DAY 15 – 27.13.2016

Started: 10:40
Ended: 13:27
Swim Time: 2hrs 15mins(ish)
Distance: 8.9km – 356 Lengths
Total: 206.25km – 8250 Lengths


Day 15 –  Kew Bridge to Putney Bridge

And that’s that!! We made it! Was carried by the tide and flew down the river today. Touched the bridge. 137 miles in 15 days. Feels good to be here and on dry land.

There’s so many people to thank, but first I need to do a massive shout out to Josh my kayaker and my Dad. Who I wouldn’t have been able to do this without. Thanks so much. Thanks to all the people who cheered us on and donated online and from the riverside.

Thanks to the sponsors of the trip who kindly sponsored food and kit. Shout outs to:

Meridian Foods for all the peanut butter a man could dream of.
Speedo UK for the wetsuit, cap and goggles
dryrobe For the amazing dryrobe
YB Tracking for free use of their tracking device
HIGH5 Sports Nutrition for the energy gels and bars and large discount
preventsportpain.com in Brackley for all the tubes of wetsuit lube by 2Toms UK
OverBoard – Waterproof Bags for the discount on their waterproof bags
b2B Graphics for the car signage

https://www.justgiving.com/teams/ThamesSwim2016

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Swimming the Thames – Daily Diary Entry – Day 14

BLOG POST – DAY 14 – 26.13.2016

Started: 09:55
Ended: 16:00
Swim Time: 4hrs (ish)
Distance: 11.5km – 460 Lengths
Total: 197.35km – 7894 Lengths


Day 14 –  Kingston Bridge to Kew Bridge

8:08 AM – PENULTIMATE DAY! Kingston Bridge to Kew bridge today. Around 8.5 miles. Another beautiful morning.. this is a shot our the beautiful caravan we’ve been lent for the trip 🙂

4:45 PM – Day 14 done!! THAT FOREHEAD TAN!! I would say that’s worth a donation in itself.

Almost at £1200 online with around another £1000 from riverside donations! Which is amazing thank you so much. If you haven’t already please consider donating some pennies, pounds or notes towards Cystic Fibrosis Trust and Helen & Douglas House

Today i swam 11.5 km from Kingston Bridge to Kew Bridge. I’ve swam almost 200km now. Shorter day than usual and early finish. From Richmond the river was tidal and it carried me at the speed of my usual swimming and we flew by. Having a celebratory beer. Not far now. Was also joined by Fay who did a sterling job at collecting donations.

1 more day.

 

Swimming the Thames – Daily Diary Entry – Day 13

BLOG POST – DAY 13 – 25.13.2016

Started: 10:15
Ended: 19:45
Swim Time: 6hrs 30mins
Distance: 16.5km – 660 Lengths
Total: 185.85km – 7434 Lengths


Day 13 –  Chertsey to Kingston Bridge

The river is getting properly built up now, with suburbs and city lining much of banks. We ended it Kingston and it feels like London now. We are so close I can almost taste the finish, that sweet sewagey Thames water finish. To be fair, I’ve been well impressed with the water quality so far, it is really clear. Also great to see so many people paddling and swimming.

Another long swimming day interjected with nice chats with people from pubs, boats and locks. Loads more donations and cheers of encouragement which is awesome. There’s been a few boats which we’ve seen numerous times… They overtake us and moor up or queue for a lock and we then over take them a few hours later. The support from the river has been phenomenal, thanks boaty people! Also, Josh thinks we got a donation from Jeremy Paxman… Could just be a look alike.

2 more days to go. Both slightly shorter at 7 miles a piece. Entering the tidal section of the Thames tomorrow which should be fun.

Swimming the Thames – Daily Diary Entry – Day 12

BLOG POST – DAY 12 – 24.13.2016

Started: 9.45
Ended: 19.00
Swim Time: 6hrs 05mins
Distance: 15.3km – 612 Lengths
Total: 167.35km – 6694 Lengths


Day 12 –  Datchet to Chertsey

7:59 AM – Morning everyone! Datchet to Chertsey Lock / Bridge or Docket eddy.. let’s see how we get on. Another scorcher Also going through beautiful Staines.

If anyone is free over the next few days and they fancy helping it would be great to get some people fund raising on the river side. Let us know 🙂

7:55 PM – Day 12 . Can’t quite believe I’m here and still swimming. Actually feel good and each morning during the first 3-4 hrs its (relatively) blissful swimming, and I often find myself thinking I could do this forever. Haha, this soon changes.. Usually within the last hour it feels like I have flailing hotdog sausages for arms and I’m swimming through treacle, that’s flowing the opposite way. But, and other than general fatigue, my body feels good. One thing someone said to me was “enjoy it”, and I often think of this, especially during the final 30 minutes.

Lechlade feels like a lifetime ago. I’m edging my way closer to Putney.. We went over the 100 mile mark today! Will be finishing near to Teddington Lock tomorrow, and then tackling the tidal section of the Thames.

If all goes to plan I’ll arrive at Putney Bridge sometime on Saturday. We will plan the route later and give better timings if you fancy coming down and seeing me and Josh finish.

Massage, food, beer, sleep. That’s the agenda tonight.

Swimming the Thames – Daily Diary Entry – Day 11

BLOG POST – DAY 11 – 23.13.2016

Started: 09:45
Finished: 19:15
Swimming Time: 6hrs 30mins
Daily Distance: 16km – 640 Lengths
Total Distance: 154.05km – 6162 Lengths


Day 11 –  Cookham to Datchet

9:02 AM – Morrrrnnnning! Day 11 today. Aiming to swim 16km / 10miles from The Ferry at Cookham to Datchet. The sun is out!! Looks like it’s gunna be a scorcher 🌞

21:19 PM – Day 11 done! Loong day! Lots of locks, and busy on the water today. Lots of little stops and nice chats with passers by and donations coming in. 2 guys who passed us by boat yesterday swam up to me us earlier on in the day which was a nice surprise.

It was a scorcher, but the water temp felt cooler like the last few days, but warmed up by early afternoon. Body seems to be getting used to swimming and I’ve found a good rhythm.

Just got back to the campsite, going to have a stir fry and then an early night I think.. and maybe a beer.

Swimming the Thames – Daily Diary Entry – Day 10

BLOG POST – DAY 10 – 22.13.2016

Started: 09:45
Finished: 19:15
Swimming Time: 6hrs 15mins
Daily Distance: 16.8km – 672 Lengths
Total Distance: 138.05km – 5522 Lengths


Day 10 – Remenham to Cookham

(Written by my kayaker, Josh) Today’s finish line, the blue bridge at Cookham, which we crossed at 7:15 this evening, after 16.8km. We set out at 9:45 a.m. with the swimming time racking up to 6 hours and 15 minutes. Loads of traffic on the river today in the wake of the Rewind festival, which made for some very slow progress through the locks, but Chris plugged away at it and got the day done, which we celebrated with a hard-earned meal at The Ferry pub in Cookham.

Swimming the Thames – Daily Diary Entry – Day 09

BLOG POST – DAY 09 – 21.13.2016

Started: 10:00
Finished: 18:55
Swimming Time: 6hrs 10(ish)mins
Daily Distance: 16km – 640 Lengths
Total Distance: 121.25km – 4850 Lengths


Day 09 – Just Past Caversham Bridge Remenham

 7:52 AM – Morning y’all. Aiming to swim 17.5km from just past Caversham bridge to Renemham today. Let’s do this!!
9:05 AM – Enroute to the river 🙂 if you’re in reading or Henley keep an eye out for a swimmer and kayaker 🏊 🚣 forehead tan is coming along nicely.
10:20 PM – Another longer day under the belt. Plodded it out, and swam through a beautiful section of the river. Loads of incredible houses and boats on this section of the river. Feeling good again today, and my pace seems to be back on track. I was joined by my mum, Catharine and my girlfriend who were awesome as cheering me on and getting some donations in.

Few firsts today.

– First cup of tea given to me and crew from a boat – awesome!
– First cake(lemon drizzle) given to me and crew from a boat – amazing!

Also loads of donations from the bank and from boats passing by. It means a huge amount and helps to keep me going, knowing that money is being raised for good causes.

Please consider donating using the links above, we have now raised £1200 which is awesome, but aiming to raise £5000.

Thanks everyone 🙂 

https://www.justgiving.com/teams/ThamesSwim2016