Thames Path Challenge

big ma with completed sectionsRob and I will walk the 184miles of the Thames Path, from the source of Old Father Thames to the Thames Barrier. You can find out loads about the Thames Path on the National Trail website.  Do join us!

And now we’ve signed up to do the Thames Path Challenge the weekend of 10-11 Sep 2016. We’ll be doing 50km (31m) and have a limit of 24 hours. It’s going to be the most we’ve ever walked in one go by a very long way. We’re raising funds for  Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) a charity working to reduce the frequency of young sudden cardiac death (YSCD).  CRY supports young people diagnosed with potentially life-threatening cardiac conditions and offers bereavement support to families affected by SADS.

Sponsor us here: Just Giving: Sole Mates (see what we did there!) – pretty please!

How far did you say?

Below is the rough mileage per section.  Generally these mileages are determined by where there are good drop off/pick up points or places to leave vehicles/well served by public transport.

From To Distance in miles (approx) Date
1 Source Cricklade  14 Completed Sat 29 June 2014
2 Cricklade Lower Inglesham* 8.8 Completed Sun 30 June 2014
3 Lechlade Newbridge 16 ?? 9 Jul 2016
4 Newbridge Oxford 14  ?? 13 Aug 2016
5 Oxford
Abindgon Bridge 10.5 Completed Sat 31 Aug 2014
6 Abingdon Bridge Goring Bridge 20 Completed 9 Jul 2016
7 Goring Bridge Reading Bridge 12 Completed 11 Jun 2016
8 Reading Bridge Henley on Thames 10 Completed 4 June 2016
9 Henley on Thames Marlow Bridge 8  Completed 12 March 2016
10 Marlow Bridge Cookham 4.5 Completed Sun 11 Aug 2014
11 Cookham Windsor Riverside Station 10 Completed Sat 14 Sep 2013
12 Runnymede Putney Bridge 31  To be completed 10/11 Sep 2016 at part of TPC
13 Putney Bridge Tower Bridge 10.5 North bank  ??Oct 2016
14 Tower Bridge Thames Barrier 10.5 South bank  ??Oct 2016

*A 1.5mile stretch south of Lechlade is not safe to walk at the moment. The path runs along the A361 while the National Trail are still negotiating a better route. They encourage walkers to get the bus or taxi up. So it isn’t cheating, but it is going to stop us getting killed!

How long will each section take?

Most people walk at roughly 2.5-3 miles an hour in good weather on generous terrain. The longest day at 13.6 miles should be walkable in 5-6 including breaks and lunch. Most days are much shorter.

How hard is this walk?

Contrary to what you might think, walking on flat, straight paths can be harder on the feet and legs than mountainous trails.  The Thames meanders more downstream so it isn’t straight, but it is also on concrete footpaths for a long distance, mostly through towns and London. In terms of up and down, it is mostly flat or slightly undulating. In fact it is so *not* up and down the National Trail don’t even bother doing a relief map like they do for all their other trails.

So, apart from the length of  certain sections and the material underfoot, this should not be a hard walk.

There are lots of styles, gates and a few bridges on the walk. the National Trail website does a fantastic job of documenting these in case you wanted to look ahead of time.

What will I need to bring and wear?

Upstream stretches will require more solid walking boots, waterproof layers and comfortable walking clothes. Jeans are not suitable for long distances as they tend to chafe! Downstream you might prefer to walk in comfortable walking shoes or even trainers as bobbling along concrete footpaths can be really hard on the feet.

Bring lots of water! You’ll also need food to keep you going. We do stop for lunches and on each stretch we are expecting to have pubs and cafes, but experience tells us you can never count on these being open even in high season.

We’ll be carrying first aid equipment, phone etc. If you need any personal medication please make sure you have it.

Can I bring my children/dog?

Yes, the more the merrier. Do bear in mind they (kids and dogs) might not be used to doing 12 miles in a go and will possibly need to be on a lead in some areas of farmland (dogs that is!)

Are you really qualified to be organising this?

Ha! Not technically, though I don’t really have to be either). Have a look at the photos from our walk on the Great Glen Way, which runs 127km between Fort William and Inverness, Scotland. I also walked Hadrian’s Wall in 2011 and have down plenty of hill walking and spent a month on the Isle of Skye doing upwards of 10miles a day. That was a while ago though but this isn’t remote terrain. You’ll be safe in my hands, I promise (mwah ha ha.)



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