I thought it would be poignant to combine these two articles, partly because I ran out of time to do my other idea and also I think they go together quite well.Over the summer the Olympic Torch went on a 70 day journey from Greece and round the UK, over which time 8000 inspiring people carried it. Myself and the rest of crew tiger were selected to be part of the penultimate section of the journey rowing with it along the Thames behind the Gloriana in our boat Tiger from Hampton Court to Putney before it continued its journey to Tower Bridge.
It is safe to say that the day was a spectacular experience going along the Thames with people crowding the banks for the entire route. We couldn’t have asked for a better day.
Like the flame coming to the end of my journey with Atlantic Rowing, many hours of training and preparation has gone into it. I have been thinking about it for years, similar to the athletes I expect. Now all that is left is a wee bit of preparation, waiting for the right weather window and then some hard work off to break the world record by rowing it in less than 30 days.
The prospects of the challenge a head are incredibly exciting and it has come round very fast. Thank you to all of those people who have helped in various ways from sponsorship, to training, preparation, advice and of course my friends and family.
Will hopefully be able to provide some updates whilst preparing but in case I can’t I hope you all have a fantastic start to the New Year. See you when I get back!
You can follow our progress on:
In case you want to read more about the journey with the flame its below
Arriving in Hampton Court we were welcomed to a huge number of people, far more than any of us expected at 7am on a weekday, all the way from paddling knee deep on the water’s edge, right up the bank and up round onto the bridge. We could see the Gloriana lying up waiting for the torch procession to bring it down and pass the flame on for the journey a head.
As we waited for the start to be announced the boats slowly drifted on the currents. Despite trying to stay a decent distance from one another and from the Gloriana, we soon found all the boats congregating in the same space. At which point oars started to get entwined and it was like playing twister with boats. The time finally arrived and we could see it being brought down to the boat before the signal was given for us all to depart and the row began.
It was certainly very different compared to the usual row along the Thames; people were crammed along many parts of the course particularly in Richmond and Kingston where it was several rows deep. We opted for soaking up the atmosphere as we rowed along the Thames and waving to the people that had decided to make the journey out to the river. It was the longest row we had done together as a team and it felt easy as our minds were taken to checking out the throngs of people who had come down. This included the people who had tried to sneak onto the rowing processions and making some good progress including a few punters and a half naked kayaker. This was shortly before some police pulled them off.
We arrived at Teddington locks at which point all the boats finally came together again while we waited for the gates to open. They opened and the Gloriana put her foot down quite literally. She was off. Due to being behind schedule they needed get a move on, we tried to keep up but the motor was certainly more powerful than any of the rowers of the river. We made our way along the river arriving in Putney shortly after they had passed through and pulled up on the beach outside the boat houses. After several hours rowing it was good to reach the pub and have a well-deserved pint and food with the team and some friends while we waited for the tides to change and make the row back.