Thames Path anniversary weekend

The Thames Path 20th Anniversary Relay Walk has reached London.

This Saturday 23 July 2016 the relay will set out from St George Wharf in Vauxhall at 10.30am to cover the twelve miles to the Thames Barrier.

The party will be passing the great landmarks including Lambeth Palace, the Houses of Parliament, Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe, St Paul’s Cathedral and Southwark Cathedral.

From the Cutty Sark in Greenwich, the walkers will be replicating the first walk on the opening day in 1996.

The actual anniversary is Sunday 24 July when long distance path author Colin Saunders will lead the sixteenth and final walk downstream from the Thames Barrier to Crayford Marshes.

This is the unofficial but now viable extension as included in Cicerone’s new Thames Path guide published this year.

The guide is available direct from Cicerone at 25% discount and post free until 31 July.

Swan Upping week

Swan Upping starts on the Thames today at Sonning.

This week walkers will see the skiffs belonging to the Queen and the Vintners’ and Dyers’ livery companies carrying the Royal Swan Uppers and the Swan Uppers upstream as they count the swans and check on their health.

The Royal Swan Uppers wear the scarlet uniform.

Today’s trip ends at Romney Lock below Windsor Castle when the crews will stand and drink a toast the Queen.

The rough timetable is below:

Monday 18th July 2016
Sunbury Lock Cut 09.00 – Departure point
Shepperton Lock 10.45
Penton Hook Lock 12.30
Romney Lock 17.30

Tuesday 19th July 2016
Eton Bridge 08.45 – Departure point
Boveney Lock 09.45
Boulters Lock 13.00
Cookham Bridge 14.00
Marlow Lock 17.30

Wednesday 20th July 2016
Marlow Bridge 09.00 – Departure point
Hurley Lock 10.30
Hambleden Lock 12.00
Henley Town 13.30
Marsh Lock 15.30
Shiplake Lock 17.00
Sonning Bridge 18.00

Thursday 21st July 2016
Sonning-on-Thames 09.00 – Departure point
Caversham Lock 10.15
Mapledurham Lock 12.15
Goring Lock 17.00
Moulsford 18.00

Friday 22nd July 2016
Moulsford 09.00 – Departure point
Benson Lock 10.15
Clifton Hampden Bridge 13.00
Culham Lock 16.15
Abingdon Bridge 17.00

Thames Path 20th Anniversary Walking Relay

This month July 2016 marks the 20th anniversary of the Thames Path’s opening.

Today, Saturday 9 July, a commemorative baton was carried from the Source in Gloucestershire by  a group of walkers.

The baton relay reaches Cricklade this afternoon.

The series of Rambler-led walks along the length of the Thames Path will take the baton past the Thames Barrier, where the official opening took place, to Erith.

The baton reaches the Barrier on Saturday 23 July.

Those wishing to join in can book through Eventbrite.

Two Thames pubs in Times’ top 30

The Times 30 Best Summer Pubs includes two on the Thames.

The Miller of Mansfield at Goring has won its place thanks to Nick and Mary Galer who have been running the inn for just two years. “Head off on a walk along the Thames Path. Return to the comfortable rooms with quirky wallpaper and exposed beams,” say Ellie Ross and Tom Chesshyre who have compiled the list.

The Trout Inn at Tadpole with a “huge garden that tumbles down to the Thames” is desribed as “brilliantly placed for summer walks along the Thames Path”. The food gets a good report too.

But this review of the Trout comes just two days after a Thames walker Shelagh Doyle wrote: “The building was lovely and the food very good (excellent strawberry soufflé with clotted cream!), but the staff were not so welcoming…”



Jo Cox flower dinghy arrives at Westminster

red boat

The House of Commons’ Serjeant at Arms has given permission for a flower laden dinghy decorated in remembrance of Jo Cox MP to remain on the river in front of the House of Commons.

A barge carrying the family of Jo Cox, and towing the dinghy, left Wapping shortly after 2pm preceded by a police boat and a Port of London launch. A fire boat followed.


Jo Cox ‘s family sail to Westminster

From the Thames Path in London this afternoon (Wednesday 22 June 2016) you may see a craft carrying the family of the late Jo Cox MP who was murdered last week.

Today is her birthday.

The family is sailing at about 3pm from Jo’s houseboat mooring in Wapping, opposite Bermondsey Wall West, upstream through Tower Bridge to Westminster.

Friends will tow a dinghy laden with flowers and tributes which have been left at the Hermitage Moorings where she lived.

The plan is to land at the Palace of Westminster which is something Jo was planning to be able to do daily as an MP in preference to having to cycle along busy streets.

She was trying to overcome security issues about mooring outside the House of Commons. The trip in a rigid inflatable boat takes just ten minutes. She and her immediate family made the trip a week ago with an ‘IN’ flag to counter the Nigel Farage ‘OUT’ flotilla.

The return to river transport for MPs and other visitors to the Palace of Westminster was something many have wanted for some years. It seemed ridiculous that a temporary pontoon had to be used for the annual Parliamentary Regatta when Speaker’s Stairs and Black Rod’s Stairs, at the Lords’ end, were purpose by the Victorians.

Jo knew the Thames very well. She and her husband Brendan once lived on a boat at Port Meadow and moved up and down the non-tidal river. In London their boat rose and fell with the tide and from the capital they recently took their 92 year old houseboat barge out into the Thames estuary.

The party landing today at Westminster will go on to Trafalgar Square where there is memorial gathering at 4pm.

Find Leon behind Tate Modern

Leon on Bankside

Leon on Bankside

View from Leon of the new Switch House

View from Leon of the new Switch House

The Thames Path has another attraction.

The relaunch of Tate Modern with the opening of its new addition with viewing gallery means that there are even more stopping places for refreshment on Bankside.

It is now possible to walk through the middle of the Tate Modern building to the south side.

Directly ahead is a branch of Leon. It has been there for some years and is much loved by locals who have enjoyed not only its healthy reasonable menu but the until now lack of crowds.

It is a little busier now but it still offers a good resting place for refreshment on the Thames Path. The informal self service restaurant (no plates and little cutlery) has chairs and seats outside.

On the way to Leon there is Tate Modern’s new Bar with outside seating.

Tate Bar

Tate Bar

A Leon dish

A Leon dish

Pool of London welcomes RMS St Helena

Passing Rotherhithe

Passing Rotherhithe

Royal Mail Ship St Helena sailed up the River Thames on Tuesday afternoon (7 June) on a farewell visit.

The ship is due to be sold and its regular Cape Town to St Helena voyages carrying the Royal Mail replaced by an aircraft.

It was exactly 4.55pm as RMS St Helena passed through Tower Bridge. Her approach from Tilbury was as the rising tide turned and the tugs manovered her slowly into the Pool of London.

A small group of people standing outside the The Angel near Rotherhithe watched the ship gradually turn into the Upper Pool.

Meanwhile a group of Saints, exiles from St Helena, waited near HMS Belfast to see their Royal Mail ship come home.

Approaching Tower Bridge

Approaching Tower Bridge

Concern about the future of the ship was raised two hours earlier upstream in the House of Lords.

International Development minister Baroness Verma was questioned by Lord Foulkes about the failure of the replacement air service. The new airport is experiencing crosswinds and no commercial aircraft has landed.

The minister said that the government was “looking at potential providers” but meanwhile the sea service would continue.

Three more return trips from Cape town are planned with the last scheduled for 9 September.

Lord Shutt said that the RMS St Helena should not be sold.

Admiral Lord West spoke of the importance of “a regular presence in waters which belong to us”.

Lord Collins asked if there had been a risk assessment before the contract for building of the new airport was agreed. The minister indicated that there had been.

Princess Anne will visit RMS St Helena in the Pool of London on Wednesday.

Tower Bridge is due to lift at 5.45pm on Friday 10 June for the departure of RMS St Helena.

* The new Cicerone guide Walking The Thames Path is this month available at 25% discount and post free.


RMS St Helena is alongside HMS Belfast until Friday

RMS St Helena is alongside HMS Belfast until Friday

Thames Path 20th anniversary walk

The Thames Path opened twenty years ago on 24 July 1996.

This anniversary year 2016 is being marked by a baton relay from source to beyond the Thames Barrier.

The first walk is from Kemble to Cricklade. There are sixteen stages with the numner of walkers limited to fifty persons.

The start is on Saturday 7 July in order that the climax can come on Sunday 24 July – the actual anniversary.

But this will be marked by arriving at Slade Green Station near Erith because this where unofficially the Thames Path (although not the official national trail) now starts.

The walkers will arrive at the Thames Barrier, where the grand opening took place, on Saturday 23 July.

On that first day twenty years ago those of us who had long worked on the path and written guides, including David Sharp and me, walked from Greenwich to be welcomed at the Barrier. Some houses near The Trafalgar Tavern had decorated their front doors for the occasion.

More details on how to join in any one of the walks forming the 2016 relay led by The Ramblers are here.

The new edition of the Cicerone guide Walking The Thames Path includes the new alternative start at Erith.

For the first time the book comes with a 1:25000 route map booklet which also includes the new section.

The new book is available direct from Cicerone at 25% discount post free until 30 June 2016.

Travelodge opens at Richmond

Travelodge has opened Richmond-upon-Thames.

The budget hotel,  9 Paradise Road TW9 1RX in the town centre, is handy for the river.

  • Pages

  • Archives