Other PicoMicroYacht

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Rowing with the CASPA runners and meeting the man who built the Queen's barge

3rd May 2014

I had now joined the CASPA runners and we had set up a base camp of three motor cruisers at the beautiful Harleyford Estate near Marlow.

Our thanks to Mark who runs the marina  and  who was so helpful making us at feel at home and for Philip who made sure everything ran smoothly.

I would now be trying to keep up with the CASPA runners for two days as I rowed the forty miles to Richmond, my orange flag advertising the charity event. A quick wave and I was off.

I  passed Bisham Abbey near where the English football team used to train before world cup events.

 And then through Marlow Town.

Through Cookham, Maidenhead and then past Windsor Castle, rowing hard to keep with the runners

Finally I reached Dachett. Some of the runners, including one of our group, a 400 metre Olympic medalist, were completely exhausted as we sat reminiscing in the pub. 

4th May 2014

The next day another send off, this time the CASPA runners psyching themselves up for their marathon whilst they watched me go. We photographed each other.

Paul from Kris Cruiser (see front person top) had helped us with one of the motor cruisers and also kindly stored PicoMicroYacht for the night.

To start with I tried not to row too fast, realising I had to last the 23 miles to Richmond. At one point I was rowing in tandem with a skiff for many miles; they were first to go through the lock. Two middle aged sons double sculled with their father coxing and occasionally rowing. One of the sons had ran/rowed/cycled from London to Paris and was enjoying the day out.

Different craft passed us on the way

Along the river bank I could see groups of runner through the trees as I was able to keep pace with them

The runners stopped for a break and would wave if they had the energy

A highlight was going through the huge Teddington lock and rowing down the lock to exit - runners were jogging along the lock on the right

Eventually I arrived in Richmond my destination,  which seemed packed with people. This is where PicoMicroYacht had been built (well the wooden bit) by Bill Colley. I reflected on the fact that PicoMicroYacht was visiting it's birth place.

Mark Edwards MBE from Richmond Bridge Boat Houses very kindly let me leave the boat on his pontoon for the night. Mark is boat builder, having built the Gloriana, a 94 foot rowing barge that was the lead ship in the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pagent in 2012. Mark said 'my wife saw you out there and remarked isn't that the funny boat that Bill Colley worked on a few years ago?' When I told him that the 'funny boat' had crossed the English Channel he said in his drole voice 'If you do it once I forgive you, but not if you do it again.' 

The Queen on Gloriana