Riding the Thames 184 miles

“What?…..riding the Thames on a tandem?” someone retorted. “Yep, we’ll just pump  a few more pounds of air in the tyres, and go with the current….kind of pedalo style”.
Joking aside, our first task was to find where the source was. Hard enough in late summer after so little rain, but even harder when there are several differing theories about the true location of the rising of the Thames.
Even the biggest rivers in the world develop from totally unspectacular beginnings….usually a bare trickle from the earth, or a mere dripping from a rocky outcrop. But the Thames was being especially unspectacular this summer. Marked only by an illegible stone marker and a few rocks, the source was notable by its total absence.


For three, four, five miles or more….the river bed was still ‘running dry’.


Somewhere between the source and Lechlade, the mighty Thames made its tentative, hesitant beginning, colluding with incoming tributaries and canals, and we wended our way awheel through typical Cotswold villages, past ancient decommissioned churches,


to spend our first night in Lechlade, an ancient ‘inland port’, due to it being located at the highest navigable point on the river.
We have embarked on a mini-adventure riding the 184 mile length of the river, as far as the Thames Barrier.


It will be a journey of companionable discovery, stopping in village community cafés, checking out heritage properties just off our route, and catching up with friends and family over convivial meals.

Cirencester-Thames Source-Lechlade

Cirencester-Thames Source-Lechlade

About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on September 22, 2015, in The Thames by tandem 295km and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I think you need to go to Thames Head in the winter to see any water at all – but there is some doubt as to whether it flows even then! See http://www.thamestrek.co.uk/thames-head.html

    Perhaps you should have gone to another possible source, Seven Springs in Gloucestershire?

    • Now, is Seven Springs the actual source of the Churn? Which some say is the real river that flows through London?
      Or is the confluence at Cricklade the real beginning? Whatever is the truth, a perpetually dry Thames Head doesn’t make a good candidate for the post!

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