Octogenarian walks Thames for charity

Tim Bryce (left) and Dave Walker at the end of the Thames walk NNL-170914-175613001
Tim Bryce (left) and Dave Walker at the end of the Thames walk NNL-170914-175613001

A Banbury man who turned 80 in March walked the length of The Thames in support of the Rotary Club’s charity work in Sierra Leone.

Tim Bryce, of Banbury, grew up near Lechlade-on-Thames, in Gloucestershire, which is where his lifelong interest in narrowboating began.

It seemed fitting then that the Rotarian would chose The Thames for the start of a 125-mile walk towards London to raise much-needed funds and awareness of the club’s African projects.

Lechlade is the place where The Thames becomes wide enough to carry boats and acting as chief navigator was Tim’s friend Dave Walker, who followed alongside in Tim’s narrowboat.

Tim said: “Dave enjoyed the trip meandering along The Thames, which I don’t think he’s done before in quite the same way, watching the world go past and seeing things which he hadn’t seen before.”

Tim’s narrowboat gave complete freedom to the pair as there was always warm lodgings on hand and a kitchen with food supplies to refuel once the day’s walking was finished.

The route, ending in Teddington, provided the duo with one of the most scenic waterways in the British Isles as it wound its way through the Cotswolds, into Oxford and then a myriad of villages off the beaten track.

It took Tim 17 days to complete the roughly 125 miles of navigable Thames, although the exact distance could not be known.

Tim said: “There were one or two detours along the way.

“As opposed to following The Thames, you get shoved off to the side to get away from private properties that line The Thames and would have been on footpaths.

“It means you add a mile or two but I’ll never be able to calculate what those miles were.”

The trek raised about £500 for the cause and Tim also found time to write a blog about his experiences which is posted on the Banbury Rotary Club’s website.

Tim described the walk as a ‘now or never’ event and has mixed feeling about attempting such an odyssey again.

Tim said: “I have no plans to do something quite so crazy again. I’m well over the age of the expected walker but there are a few people about at my age who do ridiculous things – you’re only as old as you feel.”