HCBC Row to London

On 22nd-23rd March 2019, HCBC completed a 2-day, 165km row down the Thames from Longbridges Boathouse to London (Barnes Bridge), going through 32 locks in the process. The row involved 25 different people, with every single squad being represented, from people with only a terms worth of experience to our most senior members. One of the reasons we did this was to raise money for HCBC. We want to ensure that the same opportunities that we have been given continue to be made available to future Hertford students; whether that be in the form of capping termly fees or having up to date equipment.

We would like to give a massive thank you to everyone who donated! Here is how we got on. For more pictures and videos check out the instagram accounts @hecbc or @comeergwithme. More photos will also be posted on the facebook page and website

Thames map

Friday

Oxford-Wallingford

Distance: 33km
Locks: 7
(Iffley, Sandford, Abingdon, Culham, Clifton, Days, Benson)

Crew

Bow: Patrick Austin
2: Susie Webster
3: Rosie Bound
4: Leo Santoso
5: Brian Josephson
6: Harriet Thomas
7: Harry Connor
Stroke: Danny de Rozairo
Cox: Carlo Attubato

Bank Riders

Ellie van Vogt
Kaja Fenn
Hamish Streeter

After all the preparation, the day was finally here. It was an early 4:50am meet, not helped by the fact that some of the crew had spent the night sleeping on the floor. After a panicked 30 minutes of filling the boat with supplies and running about frantically trying to make sure we hadn’t forgotten anything, we pushed off, in typical HCBC style, 7 minutes later than scheduled at 5:37.

 

We weren’t going for very long though, just 1000m as we had to navigate Iffley Lock, the first of 32 that we would face over the next two days. With Carlo expertly taking the coxing advice: “JUST AVOID THE F****** WEIR”, we were one lock down and some nerves settled. With the 80s mix blaring through the speakers, the familiar Sandford and Radley stretches were navigated without issue. We had a couple of hairy moments trying to get people in and out of the boat at Abingdon Lock as nature came calling but in general we made good time.

 

Passing through the historic towns of Abingdon and Culham we cruised into Wallingford 20 minutes ahead of schedule, landing at the OUBC raft. A quick food stop and stretch soon turned into a full on picnic, eating up the time we had gained in the first leg.

 

 

Wallingford-Reading

Distance: 27km
Locks: 4
(Cleeve, Goring, Whitchurch, Mapledurham)

Crew

Bow: Patrick Austin
2: Susie Webster
3: Rohit Vijjhalwar
4: Brian Josephson
5: Tetsuro Ono
6: Kaja Fenn
7: Harry Connor
Stroke: Danny de Rozairo
Cox: Lydia Coxon

Bank Riders

Ellie van Vogt
Harriet Thomas
Hamish Streeter

Between Wallingford and Reading there is not huge amount going on with some pretty gnarly trails along the Thames, forcing the bank riders off onto the surrounding countryside roads. And it was their turn to put in the work on tackling some mean inclines around Pangbourne.

At Goring lock we learnt that Whitchurch Lock, coincidentally the only lock on the Thames which is publicly inaccessible from the bank, was unmanned today. Fortunately the lock keeper at Goring was kind enough to come downstream and man the lock for us.

The long slog from Mapledurham lock to the raft at Reading RC was probably the toughest part of the day. Many of those in the boat had been gong since half 5 and each stroke felt like we were picking the boat up from a standing start. However we got to Reading eventually, having to tread carefully to avoid the copious amount of swan poo on the raft.

 

Reading-Marlow

Distance: 29km
Locks: 7
(Caversham, Sonning, Shiplake, Marsh, Hambledon, Hurley, Temple)

Crew

Bow: Rosie Bound
2: Patrick Austin
3: Kaja Fenn
4: Ellie van Vogt
5: Antonis Dimopoulos
6: Kate Furber
7: Katie Donahue
Stroke: Danny de Rozairo
Cox: Abbi Colwyn

Bank Riders

Harry Connor
Harriet Thomas
Hamish Streeter

With some fresh legs and added motivation, the boat set off on one of the ‘glory legs’ past some important rowing landmarks. First off, we made our way past the Redgrave and Pinsent rowing lake at Caversham, the GB training base, situated just before the picturesque Sonning Eye.

Passing through Shiplake and coming into Henley, the bank support team got a little held up ogling some of the plush properties in that part of world, including one which boasted its own miniature railway. Along the Henley Reach, not surprisingly the crew decided to produce their best rowing. Strokeman Danny finally managed to actually put his blade in the water in a bid to impress the coaches at Leander.

 

More by luck than judgement, the boat pulled up to Marlow Rowing Club right on schedule at 6:15. We were met by MRC’s lovely boatman John who showed us where we could store out boat. We are very grateful to Marlow for their kind hospitality!

 

We hopped on the bus to High Wycombe, where we picked up our overnight bags from the storage locker and checked into our glamorous accommodation; High Wycombe Travelodge.

Saturday

Marlow to Eton

Distance: 24km
Locks: 4
(Marlow, Cookham, Boulters, Bray)

Crew

Bow: Rosie Bound
2: Patrick Austin
3: Harry Connor
4: Harriet Thomas
5: Antonis Dimopoulos
6: Kate Furber
7: Katie Donahue
Stroke: Danny de Rozairo
Cox: Abbi Colwyn

Bank Riders

Ellie van Vogt
Kaja Fenn
Hamish Streeter

Another early start on the Saturday with a 5:15 meet time. We dropped our stuff off at the storage unit and got taxis to Marlow. We had a bit of a wait for someone to let us in but we managed to push off by 6:40. It was a lovely, bright morning for rowing as we made our way down from Marlow, getting a few odd looks from boats as we passed who clearly had no idea who we were or what we were doing there!

 

There we some nervous moments on the Maidenhead Stretch as Abbi was required to do sculler dodging as we interrupted what seemed to be the entirity of Maidenhead Rowing Club heading upstream on there saturday morning time trial. We made our way to Eton Excelsior RC where we picked up our next batch of rowers.

Eton to Molesey

Distance: 30km
Locks: 8
(Boveney Lock, Romney Lock, Old Windsor Lock, Bell Weir Lock, Penton Hook Lock, Chertsey Lock, Shepperton Lock, Sunbury Lock)

Crew

Bow: Ellie van Vogt
2: Harriet Thomas
3: Kaja Fenn
4: Alison Carrington.
5: Philippa Thornton
6: Kate Furber
7: Katie Donahue
Stroke: Danny de Rozairo
Cox: Jack Yates

Bank Riders

Harry Connor
Patrick Austin
Hamish Streeter

The weather had clearly read the script and the sun came out to play. After Eton, the Thames becomes fairly windy as it meanders it’s way down into the outskirts of London. A highlight was seeing the boat cruise past Windsor Castle, with Jack of taking extra care not to mow down any swans!

 

 

At Bull Weir Lock we came across our first hand wind lock, giving the bank support a good upper body workout. It was surprisingly hard work, so much so that the bank support boys decided that their efforts deserved a cheeky 99 and a Nobbly Bobbly from the Ice Cream van at Penton Hook Lock.

 

 

 

The boat made good progress coming down through Shepperton and onto Sunbury Lock as the river started to become wider. The boat arrived at Molesey Boat Club at around 2:30pm. Since Kingston Head of the River Race was taking place just past Molesey Lock, we had a bit of a wait until the river closure ended at 3:30pm. We stuck the boat on trestles round the side and enjoyed the coffee on offer at the MBC café.

Molesey to Barnes

Distance: 21km
Locks: 2
(Molesey, Teddington)
Crew
Bow: Ellie van Vogt
2: Alison Carrington
3: Kaja Fenn
4: Patrick Austin
5: Rafee Ahmed
6: Harriet Thomas
7: Philippa Thornton
Stroke: Danny de Rozairo
Cox: Jack Yates

Bank Riders

Harry Connor
Hamish Streeter
Katie Donahue
Kate Furber

Once the racing at Kingston had finished, we came through Molesey Lock and completed the 8km down to Teddington. Luck was on our side as the boat pulled up to Teddington lock just before 5pm as high tide hit. This meant that Richmond Lock gates were open so it was a clear run down to the finish! The Empacher was swept down with the tide and stream, rounding the bend at Kew and crossing to the Middlesex side in the shadow of Chiswick Bridge.

IMG_20190324_164620_306

The bank riders had substantially more difficulty navigating the now flooded footpaths through Richmond. The boat came under Barnes Bridge just before 6pm and pulled in to Cygnet RC to the cheers from a small but enthusiastic crowd. Landing took a couple of attempts, but they got there in the end. Tired and exhausted, but we had made it!

 

 

London finish

After de-rigging and trailering, we all made are way to the Blue Anchor by the river at Hammersmith to celebrate. It was fantastic to see so many Alumni there including Steph Cullen and Zoe Lee!

The Row to London has been a fantastic experience that has really helped to bring the club together and we would like to extend a massive thank you to everyone who donated. As many current and former members will testify, HCBC is a wonderful club that has provided people with amazing experiences and a passion for life. We want to ensure that the same opportunities that have been afforded to us are available to the next generation of Hertford students, and this money will help us to do that.

 

 

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