This morning we saw off the latest team to tackle the 128 miles of the Thames from Lechlade to London – by pedalo!
Workmates, Dan, Dom, Josh & Tom, are raising money for Age UK and attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the journey.
This had originally been due to take place back in June, at which point the record (set in 2018) stood at 4 days, 12 hours, 49 minutes & 17 seconds. But all the restrictions around the coronavirus meant they had to reschedule and, in the meantime, another team pipped them to the starting post.
So, the question is, will they break the world record that’s just been set by Alex Gibson (former GB decathlete, who was diagnosed with MND in 2018), Andy Long, Alun Thomas and Joel Reid? They made the same journey in 2 days, 15 hours, 2 minutes & 46 seconds at the end of August and have raised more than £14,000 so far for Challenging MND. This current team’s goal is to get to the finish line in under 2 days 12 hours!
You can follow Dan & the team’s progress on Instagram and support them via their charity page on JustGiving.
**UPDATE – 20th September**
Huge congratulations to Dan and his team, who completed the pedalo challenge in 2 days, 10 hours & 15 minutes – a new record!
As we celebrate two years since we bought the marina, we’ve been reflecting on what’s changed in that time. We knew we were embarking on a restoration project that would take several years to complete, but feel as though we’re now well on the way. We are grateful to all the contractors, neighbours, family, friends and of course the moorers who have helped us along the way.
Looking back at pictures of the site as it was when we acquired it, we're really encouraged to see how much difference the work we’ve done so far has made.
And with lockdown measures hopefully continuing to ease, we look forward to welcoming back our moorers and slipway users over the coming weeks, as they return to enjoy this beautiful part of the Thames.
It’s been a year since we hosted the Steam Boat Association rally here at Lechlade, when eleven beautiful steamboats of different ages, shapes and sizes were launched on the slipway and moored with us.
We were asked to choose the winner of the Thames Cup and decided that the best way to avoid showing favouritism was to delegate that responsibility to our five year-old son. He was delighted and picked ‘Zara Finn’ as the boat that he most wanted to go on…a boat that actually belongs to the SBA Chair and his wife! They very kindly gave Hugo (and Ian) a ride down the river to Ye Old Swan pub at Radcot, with Hugo steering the boat some of the way.
Ian finally had the opportunity to present the award to Kevin and Gillie Slater at the SBA AGM this March, a review of which appears in the latest issue of The Funnel magazine (Summer 2020).
Slip into the river at Lechlade…
While all our moorings are currently taken, anyone is very welcome to use our slipway to access the Thames. And our secure, on-site parking means you can leave your vehicle here and cruise the river for however long you want. We charge just £20 for the use of the slipway and one day’s parking; £5 a day for parking thereafter.
So, as the Coronavirus lockdown restrictions lift and river use returns, we look forward to welcoming more of you to the marina.
On 31st January, we finally completed the mammoth task of replacing the entire electricity and water supply around the marina, which we’d begun in September last year. The services hadn’t been upgraded since the marina opened in the early ‘80s and were really no longer adequate for the needs of our moorers. (And Ian was getting very bored of multiple daily visits to the main fuse board every time the circuit breaker tripped!)
This was a huge undertaking, as trenches had to be dug across the whole site – many by hand because of the location. That presented a challenge in itself: finding contractors who are prepared to hand-dig is not easy. Once we’d got a new electricity supply for the site, 800m of cables and water pipes were laid in the trenches and smart new bollards were installed by the moorings. We have to say, Stuart Baines from RMCS did a superb job of project-managing the installation of the bollards and we’d highly recommend his services.
At the same time as this work was going on, we put in new SOS stations and replaced many of the wooden landing stages, as well as doing a lot of general tidying up. So, although there are still a few jobs on the list that we made when we arrived at the marina, we’re getting there!
One of the most important jobs on the very long list we made when we took over the marina was refurbishing the bridge to the island. A general lack of maintenance over the years since it was first built in the early ‘90s had been further compounded by mild damage suffered when a boat underneath it caught fire!
So, as well as giving it a much-needed aesthetic facelift, we wanted to make sure the whole bridge structure was fully compliant with current Health & Safety standards and providing proper services to the island moorings.
Over a period of two weeks, we reinforced the structure, painted it, replaced all the stair treads and walkway deck with an anti-slip surface and put up safety guards. We also had a cable tray fitted to support the new insulated water pipe and mains electricity cable.
And we’re very pleased with it. The only downside, as our son pointed out, is that he can no longer play ‘Pooh sticks’ from the top. More outings to Halfpenny Bridge have been promised!
At the weekend Lechlade Marina hosted a rally for The Steamboat Association of Great Britain (SBA). Eleven beautiful steamboats of different ages, shapes and sizes were launched on the slipway and moored with us. There was also an electric Frolic 21 and a traditional styled diesel cabin launch. One or two intrepid boaters stayed onboard overnight, to the amazement of some of our moorers.
The air was filled with the traditional scents and sounds of the steam age: coal fires, steam being let off and the occasional whistle. Saturday was a perfect summer day. The steam boats headed down river for lunch at The Swan at Radcot, before returning to the marina in the early evening. Their arrival was announced by a chorus of whistles. On Sunday, several boats went upstream to explore how far they could go. Others enjoyed quiet runs between St John’s Lock and the Riverside Inn. Sadly, the weather brought a rather swift end to the weekend when rain stopped play.
The SBA rally enhanced Lechlade’s participation in Steamboat Sunday, a day organised by the Consuta Trust and National Lottery Heritage Fund to promote interest in steamboats. Ian has been a member of the SBA for a number of years and was delighted when the opportunity arose to invite members to bring their boats to Lechlade. The SBA Members chatted to many moorers who showed great enthusiasm and interest in the boats. The organiser commented on how welcome they had been made to feel by our moorers, for which we thank you. We hope to see many more of these beautiful boats being launched on the marina slipway again.