Sunday, 9 May 2010

Up the Itchen

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.
Southampton Water is a slightly alarming waterway because you have to share it with things like this.
What's it like to live under a bus route?
But what makes the Itchen great is that all Southampton's rowing clubs are based on its banks, and they were out in force. Coastal fours were strongly in evidence, a few single shells, one eight being rowed by a geezer crew that I strongly identified with, and this funny.
This is Southampton Amateur Rowing Club. Clubs on the other bank include the splendidly-named Itchen Imperial RC and Coalporters ARC. Soton University boat club is further up.
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.


michael b said...

Shame on you, Chris! You of all people, should know that the view from the water is always better than viewing the water from anywhere else.

ChrisP said...

Yes, I should know better by now . Even the River Lea looks better from the water....