Charterhouse row the Thames
A handful of dedicated "rowers-on-a-mission" left Charterhouse School to row the 100 miles from Oxford to Putney on Friday 10th April. The team managed to raise £3,600 in total from sponsorship. The journey took place over three days and aimed to raise enough sponsorship to buy a share in Walton Rowing Club’s soon-to-be-built boathouse, from where Charterhouse BC operates. This would provide a solid base from which to build successful crews.
Annabelle Bonham reports on the twists and turns of the adventurous row………
Friday 10th April
"We left Charterhouse to pick up the eight at Walton and make the deceptively short car journey to Oxford. Everybody assumes that in this day and age, with Tom-Tom’s unfailing directions, getting from A to B is not a problem. But after travelling along the same stretch of road three times, and circumnavigating a roundabout repeatedly, we are forced to extract the dust covered map from its grave. Eventually we reached University College, where we were kindly allowed to spend the night.
With two hours to kill before lights-out, a few rowers went out to purchase Kanye West-esque "bright" (barbie-pink) sunglasses to sport during the row, whilst others managed to raise £400 on Oxford’s streets. It was an impressive amount, particularly as the only assets the group had were Felix’s cute smile and the guile of rippling biceps."
Saturday 11th April
"Breakfast began at 5:30 am and a pin drop can be heard in the sleepy silence of expectation. The tension was certainly building amongst the team and was only cut by the long-awaited push off at 8 am.
Rowing through the morning the crew showed little sign of tiredness as spirits are high and jokes flowed. As we pulled in for lunch after a 5 hour row, The Meadow at Wallingford and the already smoking BBQ (thanks to the considerate support crew) helped relieve any pains.
Back on the water, nine locks and 5 hours further upstream, darkenss began to descend. Yet, we are far from our designated end of today, and so Dr. Choroba swaps in, the cox gains two torches, and we set off for a further two hours row into the fast approaching night, to complete today’s 50 miles, culminating in Henley-on Thames.
After unloading the boat with bats swooping past our heads, the team had a well-deserved feast at Zizzis thanks to Mr Gardner."
Sunday 12th April
"After another early rise the day’s course involved going through the most locks, and navigating some tricky weirs, but these turned out to be the least of our worries. We faced a large powerboat whose driver confused left and right, and a whole cohort of narrow boats, who seemed intent on racing us and causing general commotion. However these troubles were again overshadowed by enticing thoughts of lunch at Dorney Lake.
The impact of rowing so many miles finally take their toll in the afternoon with silence creeping over the crew as we doggedly pursued our goal. Thankfully the support team managed to throw all manner of snacks and drinks across to us to keep spirits and energy levels up. Never again shall I doubt the restorative effect of Jaffa Cakes on a group of exhausted rowers.
As we come closer to the day’s destination of Walton Rowing Club, familiar sights cheered us causing adrenaline to flow into our beaten muscles and inspiring us to finish an whole hour before Dr. Choroba’s optimisitic schedule."
Monday 13th April
"With only eighteen miles to go, Monday morning broke buzzing with anticipation. The crew knew this part of the river really well, having rowed along it many times at heads races or regattas. Being able to count off bridges was hugely motivational in taking people’s minds off the pain of lactic-drowned muscles and multiple layers of blisters.
A glimpse of the boat rounding the final turn by the support crew outside Imperial College Boat House, marking the end, solicited a huge cheer and cry of celebration. As the crew pass the finish line, we all sighed proudly at having completed such a momentous row. Back on dry land our achievement was marked with a glass of champagne, the coxes being ‘dipped in’ the river (which was so unbelievably cold, I still shiver thinking about it), and a hearty meal at a nearby resaturant."
So the question is, after 23 hours of rowing was it all worthwhile? I think I can speak for all the rowers, when I say that it was undeniably worth it. Not only can we be proud of completing such a feat, but also the raised funds will ensure a bright future for Charterhouse Boat Club.
The rowers were Ian Harrison-Stanton (Captian), Michael Veldman, Hugh Warrington, George Barnett, Tom Henwood, Jonny Fieldman (OC), Nidhin Laji, Jake Tempest, Ben Stevens (OC), Tom Culverwell, as well as coxes Felix Gardner and Annabelle Bonham.
We would like to thank the following people for their time, effort, and dedication: Dr. O Choroba (coach and unrelenting machine in the boat), Claire Troy (minibus chief), Mr. D Gardner, Mrs. C Warrington, Miss J Bonham, Jemma and Oliver Warrington, Andrew Bonham, and everyone at University College, Oxford, and Streatley Youth Hostel.