At last the route is finalised

17/08 Day 1 Mirfield to Huddersfield Marina (5hrs)

18/08 Day 2 Huddersfield Marina  to Slaithwaite (6hrs)

19/08 Day 3 Slaithwaite to Standedge Tunnel Visitor centre (6hrs)

20/08 Day 4 Standedge Tunnel to Brook Bottom (6hrs)

21/08 Day 5 Brook Bottom to Ashton Under Lyne Junction (7hrs)

22/08 Day 6 Ashton under Lyne Junction to Marple Junction.

23/08 Day 7 Marple Junction to Bosley Top Lock ( Wilmslow/ Macclesfield)

24/08 Day 8 Bosley Top Lock to Kidsgrove (Congleton / Kidsgrove).

25/08 Day 9 Kidsgrove to Etruria Summit Lock

26/08 Day 10 Etruria Summit Lock to Stone.

27/08 Day 11 Stone to Great Haywood (Hoo mills lock 5hrs)

28/08 Day 12 Great Haywood Hoo Mills lock to Hands Acre Tuppenhurst lock (5hrs)Rugely

29/08 Day 13  Hands Acre to Whittington (5hrs)

30/08 Day 14 Whittington to Polesworth (5hrs)

31/08 Day 15 Polesworth to  Hartshill wharf ( Between Atherston and Nuneaton)

01/09 Day 16 Hartshill Wharf(Between Atherston and Nuneaton) to Whitings Bridge (Bedworth – Coventry Cruising Club)(5hrs)

02/09 Day 17 Whitings Bridge to Rugby (5hrs)

03/09 Day 18 Rugby to Braunston (4hrs)

04/09 Day 19 Braunston to Napton lock nos 9 Napton on the Hill (5hrs)

05/09 Day 20 Napton Lock to Fenny Compton Wharf at Fenny Compton

06/09 Day 21 Fenny Compton Wharf to Banbury

07/09 Day 22 Banbury to Somerton Bridge nos 196 at Somerton

08/09 Day 23 Somerton Bridge to Thrupp Wide at Kidlington

09/09 Day 24 Thrupp Wide to Oxford

10/09 Day 25 Oxford to Abingdon

11/09 Day 26 Abingdon to Wallingford

12/09 Day 27 Wallingford to Pangbourne

13/09 Day 28 Pangbourne to Henley

14/09 Day 29 Henley to Marlow

15/09 Day 30 Marlow to Magna Carter Island

16/09 Day 31 Hampton Court

17/09 Day 32 Teddington Lock


18/09 Day 33 Richmond to HSBC Rowing Club Putney Bridge

It looks a long way when its written down seems like a lot more effort in the Gym will be required ….. If you see Stephen please mention the blog and your support if you haven’t already click on the tab at the top to follow the progress it is only slow to begin with but will become a daily record of his trials and tribulations

Posted in The Early Days | 4 Comments

By Royal Appointment

Would you believe it Jennifer and I being presented to The Princess Royal and her Royal Highness being equally disbelieving that anyone in their right mind would row to London!

A bit of a chat ….

Well at least when dear Swan is put this coming Spring on ebay the poor thing will have some provenance, although I can’t remember if she actually touched it.

Anyhow a fitting tribute to Swan’s brave journey and to date peeps the total has teetered over the £7k mark. Thank you all for a great effort.

A thought for Lady Brenda she will be making the trip back up north commencing 14th October. Jennifer and I will be holidaying in the sun on that date but I may help to bring the old girl back – It’s only fair after all the stick I have given her!

Posted in The Early Days | 1 Comment

A Conclusion .. and Thanks

We arrived as you know on Thursday 20th September to a great tumult and Fanfare !

But that was not the end for your intrepid hero.

I had to get Swan home again to Huddersfield and just as well we didn’t decide on a whim to row all the way back again because as you know the weather has changed completely.

No, on Friday morning I took the train back to Yorkshire, it was raining. My son Richard collected me from the station took me home whereupon we hitched up the trailer to take it back to his works to load up with some ballast on the trailer to make it an easier journey back to Putney as the trailer tends to bounce about unloaded. We decided that it bounced about too much to risk a load on it that might become unsecure, so Saturday morning at 4.15am I set off down the motorway at 50mph.

I chose to take the M62 to the M1 and I wish I hadn’t. Only a few miles into my journey and the motorway was shut for maintenance and was diverted to Leeds. Dear readers this is north of where I want to be and at 50mph this added another hour onto my journey. There was pressure too because it had been agreed that I could keep Swan at the HSBC boat house so long as it was out of the way by Saturday morning when the club members use the facility. I arrived at about 9.45 and two young rowers knew about me and offered to help. I carefully manoeuvre Swan behind the trailer then attach winch carefully winch her on. Not a bit of it, they just grabbed Swan and with one movement plonked her unceremoniously on the trailer! Oh to have strong young sons!

Jennifer and I said farewell to our friends on Sunday morning and set off North for Swan’s final journey home in driving rain. On arrival Swan was full of water. As everything was floating in it I used my bilge pump for the first time for the purpose it was intended! Several gallons of water later I could see water seeping from the “water tight compartment”. It’s now Tuesday and I think all the water has drained. Was this compartment filling up as we journeyed? Could we have woken up one morning and found her sunk? We will never know, but she is home now and needs a thorough clean and overhaul.


Some facts

The journey Lasted 35 days – 32 days continuous rowing 2 days rest at the end and then one morning to the finish.

We covered (re calculated total off Canal Planner) 315 miles to Putney.

We worked through 228 locks

We stayed in 15 different Premier Inns. I say different in the respect that they were different addresses. Every one of the hotels were great.

We have spent to date on this venture and I still have another credit card bill to arrive £5000.00 plus !!!!



I would like to thank

Safe Anchor Trust trustees and in particular Les Moss for sanctioning the project and Derek Brierley for the implementation. Plus all the volunteers who manned the Lady Brenda and worked in the background. Some are mentioned below

The Best in Class !!

Best Mate – Jennifer, Cox

Best Boy – Reg 78 years young

Best Blog Editor – Ian Hunter

Best Chuggers – Eric, Steve Langton, Stewart, Ian Hunter

Best Engineers – Steve Langton and Reg ( cooling system)

Carl of Chicago ( stern gland)

Aaron of RCL (oil valve thingy)

Tom ( discovered lack of oil )

Best Helpers – Richard Searson, DJB, Bryan Jones, Ian Hunter, Derek, Tim Nutter. Stand in Coxes Mark Jackson HSBC.

Best Equipment – Air cushion “AirHawk” loaned by Richard Searson. I couldn’t have done it without it!

Best Buys- Junior canoe paddle and boat hook.

Best Sandwich maker – Steve Langton

Best Pie maker – Sheila

Best Pub Spotter – Brian and Stewart

Best Oily Rag – Brian scooped out the oil from the bilges in a white jumper!

Best Bed Breakfast and evening meal – Ron and Margaret

Best Friends – Trevor and Maggie, Ian and Kath, Glen Bates.

Best Boat Porters – HSBC Members. Ian Swallow and mates.

Best Advice – Use talcum powder on your hands – DJB

Best Freebie – Moorings at Wallingford courtesy of the Town Clerk – Bob Appleby’s mate

Best Taxi Drivers – Ron and Margaret, Bob Lloyd, Stephanie Lloyd, Ian and Kath, Helen and Damien, Trevor and Maggie, Derek, Ian Greenhalgh, Peter (Stafford), Don, Monica, Rodney and Dorothy, Denise and Martin Bedford, Andy’s Mum and Pam.

Thanks for all your contributions keep them coming if you haven’t already. I will be acknowledging all the helpers individually when I have a comprehensive list.

Oh and by the way Lady Brenda has to be brought back to Yorkshire in the not too distant future!!!!

Posted in The Early Days | 1 Comment

Party Time

A Well Earned Pint


Up bright and early another splendid calm potentially warm and sunny day greeted us. To the Marina, into the boat, off we went at about 8.20am.  An easy row, tide with us for approximately 6 miles arriving at our destination around 10.15am.  We have done it!!

My sister was there to witness our arrival and a loyal band of volunteers made their way from Yorkshire arriving from 11 am onwards to celebrate in HSBC’s bar!!!

Kash very kindly found room in the boat house providing I can get Swan away by 8am Saturday morning!!

Happy Couple

There must be a round up of who’s who of the adventure but I will leave that for later.

Hot off the press though, Don reckons we have collected well over £1000.00 just along the tow path. I don’t think we are going to reach my £50k target unless you, dear reader have other ideas!

Posted in The Early Days | Leave a comment

Last Few Days


We have today and tomorrow Wednesday as we only have approximately 6 miles to on Thursday morning for the finish!

So today we had a relaxing late start and breakfast. We had a look at the finishing point just above Putney Bridge at the HSBC Rowing Club

Mooring up doesn’t look to be a problem. We only need to resolve where to leave Swan until I can trailer it away on Saturday afternoon, so we wondered down to the club house to see if anyone was about and indeed we met two chaps who had actually heard of us and our expected arrival, which was good news although they were not in charge but would confirm our visit with the main man Kash.

We will set off on Thursday morning from Brentford Marina around 9am and should be at the finish by 10.30.

So shopping, a visit to the launderette, and a Costa Coffee where the orders of the day.

Surprisingly  no ill effects from my exertions yesterday.


We behaved like tourists by going to Kew Gardens for the day and then on to Brentford Marina for the evening tide intending to put Swan out on the river and climb down the vertiginous ladder to the pontoon in the morning at our leisure. Steve who runs the marina thought it better that as the tide will have dropped significantly and the potential of vandalism to Swan, he would rise early on Thursday morning open the marina lock gates so that we could row out into Thames thus saving us the ladder decent of 20 plus feet but meaning we would have to be up at 5.45am to get to the marina no later than 8am. Oh well if that’s what we have to do we will.

Posted in The Early Days | Leave a comment

A Day to End All Days!!!!

Monday 17th September

Blimey what a day it has been.

Started off with a plan of moving down to Teddington lock checking out the tides times and then go from there.

A beautiful day a following wind leaving Hampton Court in our wake. We reached Teddington Lock by lunchtime. The lock keeper advised us to wait an hour and a half to allow the tide to come in at Richmond – over the weir, so you don’t have to use the lock. The appointed time arrived and in we went into the lock followed by WW2 torpedo boat. In a lock you must turn off your engines. As the lock gates opened to exit Brenda and the torpedo boat fired up their engines. The noise was awesome but Brenda was the loudest! “Good old girl” she always gives of her best when the chips are down and so it was to prove a little later on.

As we passed through Richmond we passed the boat yard of Mark. Mark you will remember said he might have the ideal boat for me for this trip but didn’t come up with the goods. Moored in the river opposite his gaff was I am sure the royal barge that he project managed the build for the Jubilee and now looks forlorn moored up with other dying hulks.

However we pressed on passed Richmond lock and, hello seem to be going very slowly umm the tide is definitely coming in and there is nowhere to moor up until our new destination one and a half miles away at Brentford Marina. We were on the incoming tide with two hours to run a spring tide to boot. For land lubbers a spring tide is the highest tide and the strongest.  Well i rowed literally for my life for an hour plus, no time for checking watches now. My fingers went numb from the shear effort of gripping the oars and inch by inch we clawed our way along the Thames to Brentford Marina, arriving an hour before high tide finally grabbing the waiting area pontoon before we were allowed in at the high tide mark.  Totally exhausted.  Never again!

10 miles  Total 293  3 locks Total 222

Posted in The Early Days | Leave a comment

Rowing boats,trains and buses.

Sunday blog

Another 12 miles rowed today from Staines to Hampton Court. We moored up at the side of Hampton Court so we won’t see its full glory until tomorrow. We had a following wind for most of the day and finished around 4.30, just as the clouds had cleared and the sun came out. We have moved far beyond the planned stopping places and, as a consequence, our hotel today was miles from our finishing point 28 miles infact, the train journey took nearly 3 hours, including a bus ride due to maintenance on the line. This has to be repeated tomorrow with our luggage, and those of you who have seen it will know what I mean! It really is enough to make you give in. However, there’s plenty of time tomorrow to make the journey down to Teddington Lock. The journey is almost finished, but, to judge the tides to achieve Putney is the final obstacle

                                                           Picture of Hampton Court

295 miles 224 Locks completed. Not far to go now!


Posted in The Early Days | Leave a comment

Broken Pencil (maybe !)

No formal words other than distance received from our crew maybe the sun and drink are starting to take its toll!!

Not far to go now — still time for readers and their friends to donate and support this terrific effort by Stephen and Jennifer.

Great Tree

Today 14 miles 6 locks Total 283 miles 219 Locks
Posted in The Early Days | Leave a comment