Pink Doggy now near London

The inflatable Pink Dog floating downstream with the charity Thames Doggy swimmers should reach Richmond at noon this Wednesday 26 August.

The afternoon paddle goes past Kew Gardens and Chiswick to end at Putney, outside The Duke’s Head, at about 4.30pm.

The final day is Wednesday when the Pink Dog and party, probably safely in a boat, will pass under Tower Bridge at 4pm. Look out for the large dog outside All Bar One on Butler’s Wharf from about 4.30pm.

Thames Doggy swim

Ten swimmers set out this morning from St John’s Lock near Lechlade hoping to reach Putney by next Wednesday 26 August.

They are sponsored to raise over £200,000 for the Stem Cell Foundation.

The challenge is called the Thames Doggy because all ten are promising to do a doggy paddle rather than the breaststroke or butterfly.

Anyone walking up the Thames and wanting to know if the swimmers are due to appear can register for updates on the Thames Doggy website.

On Wednesday the last leg to Tower Bridge will be by boat with a large inflatable pink dog on board.

Lammas-tide in Southwark and Cricklade

Lammas is Anglo Saxon meaning loaf mass. On Lammas Day 1 August the first wheat from the harvest is made into a loaf for the bread to be consecrated with the wine at Mass.

This was the forerunner of Harvest Festival now held after the harvest.

Riverside Southwark Cathedral observes Lammastide on Friday 7 August with blessing of bread made in Borough Market. The procession to the cathedral starts from Bread Ahead in Borough Market at 12.15pm. Mass is at 12.45pm.

But Lammas also refers to the many Lammas meadows where on the 1 August hay is cut or cattle are allowed back to graze after a six month gap.

Lammas land is found along the River Lea which runs into the River Thames.

There are also Lammas meadows beside the Thames. In Staines it is a recreation ground where the barons gathered 800 years ago before meeting King John on Runnymede and agreeing Magna Carta.

Further upstream is Cricklade in Wiltshire where Lammas Day will be observed on Wednesday 12 August. This is because the town keeps the Old Calendar which was abandoned in 1752 with the famous loss of eleven days.

Cricklade’s Thames-side Lammas meadow is North Meadow. It is one of the finest examples of lowland hay meadow in Europe and noted for the scarce snake’s head fritillary. The gate will be pushed open for cattle and horses to return on Wednesday and stay until 13 February, Old Candlemas Day.

Battersea Railway Bridge: Thames Path improvements

Another stretch of the Thames Path is to be moved off road to the riverside.

Vacant Lombard Wharf, immediately downstream of Battersea Railway Bridge, is being redeveloped with a twisting 28-storey tower which is likely to be a controversial landmark.

From 2017 the Thames Path will cease to turn inland from Albion Quay to the road at the railway but instead run through a railway arch and across Lombard Wharf to join Regent Wharf.

Lombard Wharf is the proposed landing point for the Diamond Jubilee Footbridge.


Doggett’s 300th anniversary

Doggett’s Coat and Badge race takes place today Saturday 1 August at 11.30am.

It is a long time since the race was on a Saturday but it used to always be on 1 August and this year is the 300th anniversary of the first on 1 August 1715.

Dublin-born actor Thomas Doggett had just retired when he founded the race to celebrate the accession of the House of Hanover. George I had come to the throne the year before.

It is the oldest continuously run single sculling race in the world.

The young scullers can be seen on the river between London Bridge and Cadogan Pier in Chelsea. The finish will be about noon. The course was chosen by Thomas Doggett to be between The Swan inn at London Bridge and The Swan at Chelsea.

The winner receives a red watermen’s coat with a silver badge depicting the Hanover horse.

Last year the race was watched by Prince Philip.

A good place to visit today is Doggett’s Coat & Badge pub on the south end of Blackfriars Bridge.