I've never rowed the River Itchen before, mainly because it doesn't look very attractive seen from the bridges that I drive over in my rare visits to Southampton. It is lined with dead wharves and shipyards, and filled with monster but lower-end plastic boats belonging to people who can't afford the mooring fees in the Hamble.
So I rowed up this morning just to tick it off my list of rivers rowed, putting in at Netley, a village on Southampton Water. I was pleasantly surprised.
So I did eight miles and felt knackered.
Which makes me even more open-mouthed in admiration at the three crews rowing the London2Paris Challenge, who are well on their way on the first stage from Westminster Bridge to Ramsgate, a distance of 75miles. Gravesend is about 1.5 miles in the lead - see the positions online here, and Mike Gilbert's Twitter feed here.