You Are Here: Home » Latest Blogs » Swimming the Thames

Swimming the Thames

Following on from Running the Tube last year and as the second event in our Greater London Triathlon, Laura and I will be swimming the length of the Thames this summer.

The source is somewhere near Cirencester and we’ll follow the river for as far as we can until the Harbour Master in London says otherwise. Assuming we’re not allowed through Central London, it will be probably be about 150 miles (I haven’t actually looked at a map yet so don’t quote me).

As with the Tube, we’ll be spreading this project over several weekends, fitting it in whenever we can. I still have a bad shoulder so my swimming ability is not up to much: a gentle breast stroke and some sculling are about the limit. But it’s not a race and there aren’t any rules so wetsuits, floats and fins will all be deployed as needed.

Unlike the Tube run, however, we won’t be the first people to do this. Lewis Pugh makes that claim. Richard and Mark Walsh did it in a five day hit and David Walliams is planning it for September. More pertinently, people swim in the Thames every day and have done for years. There’s nothing daring or extreme about this, it’s just a nice big project to keep us entertained over the summer.

I think the thrill of something like this is obvious enough but here are a few specific reasons why we’re doing it:

  1. Promote outdoor swimming
  2. Get to know our country’s most iconic river
  3. Show that big challenges don’t require time (we’ll do it on weekends), money (it’s just transport), expertise (my technique’s rubbish) or extreme fitness (I have a bad shoulder and will be pootling very slowly)
  4. Complete the second event in our Greater London Triathlon

If you’d like to join us at any point (or bring us a cup of tea when we emerge!) then dates and destinations will be posted in advance nearer the time.

What do you think – is this a good project showcasing attainable adventure for all? Or a bit too easy and not that impressive?

About the Author

Tim Moss has supported over 100 expeditions across all seven continents. He has climbed new mountains, crossed a desert and recently cycled 13,000 miles around the world. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society London and a Guinness World Record Holder. He aims to encourage more people to live adventurously. Read more...

Comments (7)

  • Tom Allen

    A lot of people would say that this is really difficult to do. Not so much the swimming, but finding the time, motivation and like-minded friends to actually do it, and being open-minded enough to think that you might actually enjoy it. So it looks like you’ve already cleared the biggest hurdles by a good margin.

    Enjoy the swim, and I hope I can join in at some point!

    • Tim Moss

      Well, I definitely have the “like-minded friend” so let’s see if we can find the motivation and time this summer.

      I hope you can join us too, Tom.

  • Richard Walsh

    Thanks so much for mentioning our little swim 2009. It was a great experience and I only wish it was easier to get the permissions to swim from Teddington Lock to the mouth of the Thames.
    Good luck with your swim. Richard

  • Tim Moss

    Thanks Richard. We’ll be going a lot slower than you were but if you fancy reliving any of it then you’d be welcome to join us any time.

  • Richard Walsh

    I’ll be sure to keep checking your blog for progress and try and catch up with you at some point. If you need any information about the Locks or access points between Cricklade and Teddington, don’t hesitate to drop me a line.
    PS loving the new site!


Leave a Comment