Thames Challenge 2013: Hiking The Length Of The Thames River

I always like the idea of finding an adventure right in your own backyard. A lot of times we miss some great opportunities to explore the outdoors close to home because we’re often dreaming of flying off on some grand adventure on the other side of the planet. Those big adventures have their time and place of course, but sometimes we don’t have the time or money for that kind of escape. That’s when a microadventure can often provide the fix we’re looking for, often to surprising results.

That happens to be the case for my friend Alan Curr, who recently decided to walk the length of the Thames River – source to sea – in England. Carrying all of his gear on his back, including a tent, food and clothes for the trek, Alan set out from Gloucestershire on September 1 with the aim of hiking the entire 186 miles (300 km) distance from the Thames Head to the Thames Barrier in London.

It took Alan a full week to walk the length of the river as he averaged more than 26 miles (41 km) per day. He wrapped up his journey last Saturday and has begun recounting his tale on his blog, giving us a daily account of each stage of the trek. Stage 1 was a 35 mile (56 km ), 13 hour walk from the source of the Thames to Tadpole Bridge. That was followed on Day 2 with a 32 mile (51 km) hike from Tadpole Bridge to Abingdon which took 14 hours to complete. He hasn’t posted any other updates just yet, but I’m told we’ll get one a day for the rest of the week with a final summary of the entire hike at the end.

This looks like it was a fun adventure and a solid challenge to complete in a single week. The fact that Alan was able to do this simply by packing up his gear and hopping on a train is just icing on the cake. These kinds of microadventures are all around us. All we have to do is look for them.

Kraig Becker