C&K Correspondent Mark Anders and his two cohorts attempted to paddle 150 miles down The Thames River with a pair of kayaks and a standup paddleboard, stopping at every bar they could find. This is the fourth of five dispatches from the (mis)adventure. Click HERE to read the first, HERE to read the second, and HERE to read the third.
By Mark Anders
An old guy we met in a pub a few days back said, “The river changes character every 15 miles.”
Here we are Day 4, about 50 miles and many pints into our floating Thames pub crawl, and I’d say that old man was just about dead on with that statement. Near the source where we put in, the river was narrow, slipping quietly through impossibly green meadows and farmlands. We saw very few people on or around the river and the ones we did encounter were totally friendly. As we’ve continued paddling toward London, the Thames has gradually grown in width and the flow has increased. It’s becoming more of an urban river, flowing through city centers, below highway overpasses. And we encounter more people each day. Most stop and look at us curiously, but in general they are not near as friendly as the folks we met upriver.
Today is the first truly sunny day we’ve had all trip. Bluebird skies, big puffy white clouds, and a nice breeze. This is what I had imagined paddling the Thames would be like, and we’re all basking in it as we float happily downriver. We’re all energized. We feel like we could keep paddling all day. And we’ll need to if we hope to make it anywhere near London.
Last night we came to the realization that we won’t actually make it all the way. Our pace has been slower than expected, partly because of lackluster weather, but mostly because we’ve been having too much fun in the pubs.
When researching this trip, I found out about a couple teams who had completed the full source-to-sea of the Thames. I watched videos of one groups’ attempt and while it was an impressive feat indeed, I have to say, it seemed like a complete frickin’ slog. And it looked like it hurt.
A wise man once said, “A pub crawl isn’t about the destination, it’s about all the pints along the way.”
Okay, maybe no wise man really ever said that—but it is true. And so far we’re having a damn fine time.