[OSS Oxon] Finalised 'exploratory' swim on the River Thame - Sat 10th July

James Lowe james.lowe at datacore.com
Sun Jul 4 10:22:25 BST 2010


I went for a second look yesterday.

I think we should aim for starting at Cuddesdon Mill:


and finish near the pub in Chiselhampton


We can meet at the Pub get changed and then one or more of us can  
drive you to the start point, leaving cars in the Pub car park for  
when you get back.

The Pub starts serving at 12:00 so if we start at 10:00 we may get  
there too early if anyone wants a drink, so perhaps an 11:00 start  
might be more preferable to some?

I'll leave that open - I can do any time but I think earliest at 10:00  
gives people a chance to get to the start that want to come.

I'll say it again, that this is more than likely not going to be a  
'proper' swim, inasmuch as the start point (and finish points) are  
about a foot deep. Now there is an angling club that fish along its  
banks (according to the signs) but that is no guarantee of depth, I  
didn't do any swim yesterday and could only see the first and last 50  
yards of the route at each end.

Maybe it gets much deeper, but maybe not.

I am expecting that large parts of this 'swim' are going to be in a  
'couple of feet' of water (i.e. mainly floating or pulling yourself  
along the bottom) which may not appeal to some. I could be wrong, but  
I don't want to set any expectation. This is an 'exploratory' swim in  
the truest sense, so if the possibility of walking a lot in the water  
doesn't appeal or you are looking for a gentle breastroke (or head- 
down crawl) swim all the way, this is probably not for you.

If you are looking for some adventure and a chance to 'trek' about in  
the river in the middle of the Oxfordshire Countryside then this is  
could be the swim you want.

So bring footwear that has a reasonably tough sole - swim socks maybe  
ok, but they may get ripped if the river bed is particularly stoney- 
sharp - as I do expect to be dragging myself out of the water and  
walking along the river (there will be no real opportunities to get  
out on the bank as it is private land along most of the route). If  
this is the case you will be getting in and out of the water quite a  
lot, so depending on the weather you may want to bring a suit of some  
kind if you get cold easily - and again for protection against rubbing  
your body against a shallow riverbed.

Finally I also expect that those landowners who own either side of the  
river probably don't get much boat traffic (let alone rubber-clad  
individuals) in 'their' river so we may also get shouted at, quizzed,  
maybe just ignored or we may not meet a soul. So be prepared for minor  
confrontation (it has happened to us in the past - usually just being  
polite and explaining the 'adventure' or the 'trying to swim as many  
rivers in Oxfordshire as we can' has help people at least understand  
what we are doing there even if they are still uncomfortable.

We all know that the legalities of river swimming is a very grey area  
in England and while I am not intending to do any kind of trespass,  
people can be rather defensively aggressive if they think you are 'on  
their land' when you are just passing through on the river, so if this  
makes you uncomfortable, again, this might not be the swim for you. I  
don't expect trouble but you just never know.

Oh, if I haven't put you off already (or maybe I have whetted your  
appetite even more?) I need to just re-iterate that you swim at your  
own risk. I (or anyone else) will take no responsibility for any bad  
things that may happen to you. Swimming in rivers is hazardous and we  
provide no safety guarantees. If you do elect to come along you are  
doing so based on just that you happen to be joining me for a swim  
nothing more. If you are in any doubt, don't get in the river.

I will post a message here probably Friday just to confirm. If the  
weather is really (really) bad I may not go, but a little rain is not  
going to stop me. I can pick people up from (and drop back to Didcot  
or Culham stations if needed.

if you have any other questions, don't hesitate to ask.


On 30 Jun 2010, at 00:46, davebowen47 at tiscali.co.uk wrote:

> Am keen to come along, never done anything like this but confident.  
> 18th is better for me.
> For future oxon events am able to provide a safety boat on the thames.
> Dave
> Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone
> -----Original Message-----
> From: James Lowe <james.lowe at datacore.com>
> Sender: ossoxon-bounces at earth.li
> Date: Tue, 29 Jun 2010 21:50:04
> To: <ossoxon at earth.li>
> Subject: Re: [OSS Oxon] Proposed 'exploratory' swim on the River Thame
> Hello,
> Ok let's try to nail this down in terms of dates.
> I'd like to do either 10th or the 18th July and then if no one can
> make it 24th. Sooner than later (11th is Big Jump day and 17th is
> another swim for me).
> Morning start (say 10am) after another recon this weekend I'll firm up
> where we start and finish.
> Probably start here
> I know Carl doesn't like it ;) but can we reply-all so those that are
> interested can see what dates the others are preferring?
> Remember this will be the first time for all of us so I have no ideas
> about in and out spots, how far/short/fast/deep/shallow/hazardy this
> river is, so if you are in any doubts give this one a miss until 'next
> time' as if it proves fun then no doubt we'll do it again or we'll be
> able to give hints and tips to those that want them.
> James
> On 29 Jun 2010, at 20:34, Jaime Tinker wrote:
>> Hi there,
>> Not new to outdoor swimming but am to swimming in Oxfordshire. The
>> exploratory swim sounds right up my alley and I've driven past it
>> numerous times and considered it. I'm central Oxford and can provide
>> transport for 3 others if needed.
>> I have a fairly flexible few weekends except 17th/18th July. Were
>> you thinking of any dates in particular?
>> Cheers,
>> Jaime
>>> Date: Mon, 28 Jun 2010 18:56:16 +0100
>>> From: james.lowe at datacore.com
>>> To: ossoxon at earth.li
>>> Subject: [OSS Oxon] Proposed 'exploratory' swim on the River Thame
>>> Hello,
>>> I have done some scouting about and around the Thame between Great
>>> Milton and where it eventually joins the Thames proper at Dorchester
>>> looking for a new and interesting swim.
>>> I have come up with a speculative route (it could be done 'in one'
>> or
>>> split into two parts) which I'll list below, however I have no
>> idea if
>>> the river in the proposed part is
>>> i. Deep enough to swim on all the way down
>>> ii. What the hazards are (if any)
>>> There is no foot path that runs along side all the way like the
>> Thames,
>>> but there are some parts where a foot path does come along side.
>>> So this isn't really something I'd be comfortable doing with 'new
>>> comers' or those that don't know their own limits - so if you need
>> to
>>> get out, how far you are from 'civilization' in case of cold or if
>> you
>>> are nervous and would only want to swim part of it as there are no
>> foot
>>> paths etc.
>>> It isn't that long in terms of distance (no longer say than many
>> of the
>>> swims we have done in the past - Buscot - Kelmscott for example)
>> but as
>>> I simply cannot walk this swim prior to attempting it, I just am not
>>> sure how long it will take.
>>> Hopefully I haven't scared you all off and wondered if any of you
>> would
>>> be interested in having a go, with me on this. We would need a
>> couple of
>>> cars (I have one) for the start/finish as walking back would be
>> along a
>>> busy road and because of the lack of paths quite long.
>>> One spot does finish at the pub so it isn't all bleak.
>>> I wanted to try to get in the lesser known rivers of Oxofordshire
>> this
>>> year and having done a big chunk of the River Windrush already in
>> stages
>>> (which has been a 'hoot-an-a-half' so far) thought this might be a
>> good
>>> one too.
>>> I didn't want to advertise this as an OSS Social because I don't
>> think
>>> this is really one for those that want to get head down and hammer
>> along
>>> nor for those that just want a gentle plod (at least not until it
>> has
>>> been swam once and then we will all have a better idea).
>>> Here is are the proposed spots:
>>> Here is a good start point
>>> http://www.multimap.com/s/Mf9UyOf9
>>> You can park the car about 20 yards in a lay-by and get in at the
>>> bridge. Maybe two cars max, it is a bit remote.
>>> http://www.multimap.com/s/OZ5Q0JSB is a possible in/out point
>> although
>>> Parking here is awkward as the river is in the grounds of the
>> manor and
>>> although the foot path goes through it, there is a 'no parking'
>> rule in
>>> force, it might be tricky to leave a car here, you could leave it
>> at the
>>> end of the lane but even that is awkward and quite far away.
>>> So we could swim on then to here:
>>> http://www.multimap.com/s/Mf8cyBX9
>>> A nice easy pub-by-the-river in/out point.
>>> A bit further up is another easy in/out and park in lay-by here:
>>> http://www.multimap.com/s/Mb4T5CRC
>>> then finally get out at the bottom of a lane here:
>>> http://www.multimap.com/s/Na5f3JTD
>>> You can park the car easily here - maybe a 2 minute walk.
>>> The river is quite high at the moment, but it is a smallish one
>> (about
>>> the size of the windrush at its largest) and I am not sure about
>> depth
>>> all the way down, but it is a nice 'in the open and away from it
>> all' swim.
>>> There are a variety of paths that run alongside some of it and criss
>>> cross in places, so at a push we can get out legally.
>>> Any one up for this?
>>> James (aka Adam Smith)
>>> _______________________________________________
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>>> Please note that OSS Oxon exists to put swimmers in touch with
>> other swimmers, not to organise swim events or in any way suggest
>> that outdoor swimming is a safe activity or that you should go
>> swimming. If you choose to swim you do so entirely at your own risk
>> and on your own initiative, and any plans you make are your own
>> responsibility.
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> _______________________________________________
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> Please note that OSS Oxon exists to put swimmers in touch with other  
> swimmers, not to organise swim events or in any way suggest that  
> outdoor swimming is a safe activity or that you should go swimming.  
> If you choose to swim you do so entirely at your own risk and on  
> your own initiative, and any plans you make are your own  
> responsibility.

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