Illuminating the past – Enhancing the present – Inspiring the future

Great River Race

Peter Clark writes …

On Saturday we took part in ‘The Great River Race’, London’s annual river marathon in the replica Bronze Age Boat, the ‘Ole Crumlin-Pedersen’; we covered around 19 Nautical Miles (22 Statute Miles) in an official time of 4 hours 28 minutes and 09 seconds, travelling from the Isle of Dogs in East London to Ham, near Twickenham in South-West London. Our average speed was 4.04 knots. The day was overcast and warm, with river conditions generally good apart from the wake from passing ships, though the water got very choppy when passing through the bridges of central London (the route took us under 28 bridges, from Tower Bridge in the east to Richmond Bridge in the west. The boat itself coped with the rough conditions easily, in what has been its most challenging test so far.

The crew was: Paul Armour, Paul Bennett, Terry Buchan, Peter Clark, James Holman, Ross Lane, Hazel Mosley and Jess Twyman.

The route

Lowering into South DockThe crew
Bronze Age crewThrough DocklandsTowards the Pool of London
The boat and its team received great support from hundreds of spectators along the route, applauding and urging us on; the heavy oak boat was in marked contrast to the lightweight, rowed vessels that formed the majority of the competitors in the race, but out of 332 participating boats we did not finish last. but were 327th! It was a very positive event, and great publicity for the Dover Bronze Age Boat and the ‘BOAT 1550 BC’ project that created the replica itself. The other boat crews and the race organisers were fascinated by the boat and many described her as a beautiful craft; as a most unexpected surprise, we were awarded a special prize for ‘Sporting Endeavour’ at the finish line!
Approaching Tower BridgeTowards London BridgeCrowds on the Millennium Bridge

Towards Houses of ParliamentOarsmanJob done
This was probably the last voyage of the boat before the winter months close in and the long-term future of the replica has to be decided later this year. It was a hard physical challenge for the crew, all of whom can now say they have completed a marathon, but a hugely worthwhile exercise in publicity, education and public engagement.

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