Thirteen Club members from the ‘Friday morning crew’ recently spent two days rowing on the Thames around Pangbourne, where Kenneth Graham wrote his famous book about Toad, Ratty and Mole. We hired two quads, a double and a single through Andy at Goring Gap club (many thanks, Andy, for being so helpful), and met him to collect them at their boathouse near Mapledurham House.
On the Friday afternoon, we rowed upstream through Whitchurch Lock to Goring, a round trip of over three and a half hours, in beautiful weather, mild and still, the river rich in bird life; red kites, grebes, herons, kingfishers. We stayed the night at the Premier Inn in Caversham (a snip at £20 a night!) where we enjoyed the comfy beds, given how sore our bums were after the hard seats, and enjoyed an Italian meal (plus the odd bottle of wine…) in the evening.
Saturday afternoon was again balmy and still. We rowed downstream through Mapledurham Lock, where one crew rode the white water as the lock gate opened, to the outskirts of Reading, with reorganised crews for variety.
The highlight for some, though, was Saturday morning, when we drove to Oxford and spent an hour in the OUBC static tank, honing our timing and hand height.
The first and second Oxford crews were on the ergos in the next room, topless and perspiring, which seemed to engage the attention of some of the party.
The crews want to thank Eleanor Burke and Julie Ruddick for impeccable organisation, and hope we can do it all again.
Author – Dr. Alan Peacock