The river Thames and rowing have had a long and historical relationship. Indeed, the sport of rowing as we know it was developed over the past two centuries on river Thames itself. Whether you wish to row for pleasure, or are interested in the sport of rowing, you can join a club along the river Thames. You can also row on your own if you have your own boat.
Rowing and the River Thames
As the largest river of the British Islands, and one that does not drop more than 71 meters from Cricklade to the sea, the Thames is ideally suited for rowing. The section of the river that sees tides is called the tideway, and is just about 160 km long. The rest of the river upstream, up till the town of Cricklade, is divided by locks into component lock reaches. As far as rowers are concerned, a single lock reach in effect acts as a lake, where they can row as individuals or as members of clubs.
Popular Rowing Events on the River Thames
A number of boat races and rowing regattas are organized on the river Thames, particularly in the summer. Boat races are the highlight of the sporting life for many colleges on the Thames. The boat race between the Cambridge University Boat Club and the Oxford University Boat Club, which is so popular that it is known simply as The Boat Race, is just one of the many rowing events organized on the river Thames in the spring and the summer. The Henley Royal Regatta is another major boating event that is organized in the first weekend of July every year, and lasts for 5 days.
Membership of Rowing Clubs
There are countless rowing clubs active along the river Thames. Most of them are open to all and their fees usually vary from £35 to £200 per year per member. Once you become a member on payment of the fee, the club will issue you a boat whenever you require, and as allowed by rules, as well as other equipment such as oars etc. You can also buy your own boat if you are so inclined. A single-seater boat can be bought for as low as £1,500. If you have your own boat, you can take it anywhere on the river after registering it with the Environment Agency, which is the agency responsible for the management of the waterways of the country.
Once you get started, as part of a club or with your own registered boat, you can row in any part of the river. As a rower, you should always remember to take adequate safety precautions, especially with respect to other rowers and the locks found on the river at regular intervals. Rowing on the river Thames is not only a great way of exercising your body, but also a very appropriate way of enjoying the sights along this historically and culturally significant river.
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