Here are some useful links for those planning their own tour on the Thames:
- List of Thames locks, distances between them and their facilities
- Abbey Guest House in Abingdon
- The Bull - a pub with rooms in Wargrave (a particularly authentic English experience for rowing tourists from abroad)
- The Catherine Wheel - a hotel in central Henley on Thames
- Henley Rowing Club is particularly well set-up to welcome rowing tours (fee applies). Contact the club Manager.
- This map is invaluable.
- Weyfarers Rowing Club runs various rowing tours many of which are open to non-members.
- British Rowing's advice for rowing tours.
And some tips:
- Touring boats have "ergo feet" so wear trainers not flipflops.
- The rudder in a touring boat is most effective at a maximum of 45 degrees - applying it further than this actually makes it less effective.
- Lock keepers' procedure for boats going downstream is to put motor boats into the lock first with rowing boats behind. This is so that, should the motor boat become detached, it doesn't crush the rowing boat into the downstream lock gates. It does, however, mean you have to row through the motor boat's wash after you have come out of the lock (possibly before them then being put into the next lock ahead of you).
- Observe the Rules of Expedition Rowing.
- Laminate your itinerary.
- If there is the slightest chance that it will be sunny or wet, wear a hat. Hint: the chances of one of these being true are virtually 100%.
- Plan your tour during British Summer Time (mid-April till mid-October. Outside that period, there is too much chance that there will be unsuitable stream conditions AND locks may often be closed for maintenance.
- Locks will be VERY busy on August Bank Holiday Monday. Locks are least busy Monday-Friday. In peak season, even on midweek days, estimate a minimum of 20 minutes per lock.
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