The Great Thames Row – Blog 11 – It’s a big ol’ river!

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tgtr logoThe latest in a series of blogs provided by Naomi Riches – building up to The Great Thames Row, an attempt to set a record for being the fastest woman to row 165 miles along the length of the River Thames, whilst raising funds for The full archive of related blogs can be found here:

Another busy month down and now it really is frighteningly close.

There was one area of this challenge that Liz and I have been worrying about since talking to the PLA last October… the Passage Plan and the Risk Assessment.  These needed to be done by someone who knew The Thames and who understood the tides, the rules, the rowing, the big boats, and of course my challenge and all it entails.  I know rowing and Liz and I know my challenge, but that is it.  We have spent a long time trying to work out what to do and who to ask as we needed someone who was happy to take this without much input from us.

Enter Andy Knill and Andrew Bernstein, who have stepped up to the task and thankfully, they know EVERYTHING!!!  Well that’s how it appears to me anyway 😎

thames barrierOn Friday 29th July, myself and Liz, Andy, Andrew, David (chair of the ATYC) and Jon from the PLA boarded the Harbour Masters boat to take a trip down The Thames from Putney to Ford, way past The Thames Barrier and just 2 hours from the finish line.

It was an exciting and informative trip, the boys just chatted constantly about tides, which side of the river to be on, how to take the bends and how the tide will impact me.  They talked times and stop points, safety and so much more, most of which just went straight over my head.

I now feel reassured that when I get to the tideway, when I am unable to think sensibly and will just have to do what I am told, that I will be able to trust whoever it is I am listening to.   Right now, that is incredibly reassuring.

lechladeThe bit that overwhelmed me slightly was The Thames beyond The Barrier… it is a BIG ol’ river.  It is strange to think that the water flowing down to Gravesend is the very same water that was in Marlow just a few days before and was in Lechlade a few days before that!

Coming up: a paddle from Kingston to Chiswick; a visit to Gravesend; the Launch Party; an 8 hour row to try out some night time lock transitions and a 24 hour ERGOthon.  This last is at work, Thomas International, the brilliant company I work for are going to keep a rowing machine going for 24 hours alongside me as I do a 24 hour training session… it’s gonna be tough, it’s gonna be EPIC!!

Finally, our promo film is now on the website – please check it out and let me know what you think!


If you would like to know how you can get involved in this, visit


Twitter: @TGTR2016   @INvision_buzz    @NaomiRichesMBE 

The full archive of related blogs can be found here:

Article author: Paul Merchant

About the author: Founded in its original version back in 2000 - yes the internet DID exist back then. Brought up in Marlow, went to school here, now has children at the same schools. Quite clearly loves all things Marlow - hence spending over 2 decades doing this!

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