Early on Monday morning I was getting my oars and single scull ready for an outing. There were two swans on the middle of the larger pontoon. As I walked up, one of the swans swam away but the other stayed sitting down. She stayed sitting even while my stern was next to her, but she was trying to shuffle away as if she had a broken leg. She was still sitting there when I got back from my outing an hour later.
I wasn’t sure what to do, but when I got to work I looked on the internet for a swan sanctuary and came up with Swan Support in Datchet. I got in touch and they had a rescuer at the pontoon in 90 minutes. Unfortunately the swan swam away, so they had to get a boat to come, but they caught her after a couple of hours. She had a huge gash in her side above the leg and below the wing.
They took her back to their base and tried to save her, but had to put her down as the injury was too severe and infection had set deep into the tissues. Tragic, but at least she had no cygnets and she suffered less.
If you see sick or injured swans, please contact Swan Support on 07968 868172 or firstname.lastname@example.org. They are open 24/7 and I was very impressed with their response time and dedication to caring for the swan.
The plan for the sponsored Long Row on 3 June is firming up. We will row an eight, Mark Hayter, and a coxed quad, Bob Bushnell, 32 miles from the City of Oxford Rowing Club to our current base at the Oratory boathouse. We will have Keith Jackson’s 6 meter rib and Murray Bracewell’s 4×4 to support us. There are 18 rowers, who will alternate between the two boats and our support rib and 4×4, with as many as possible taking a turn to cox one boat or the other.
The route involves the passage of ten locks. We have agreed stopping points at Abingdon Rowing Club (mile 8) and Wallingford Rowing Club (mile 21). On the basis of an average speed of 5 mph and 20 minutes at each lock and stopping point, the row would take 10.5 hours, as per the schedule. So leaving at 7:30 am we should be home just before 6 pm. But in reality it could be quicker or slower and much will depend on getting away on time and queues at locks.
If anyone wants to come along and support us at any point, they are very welcome!
The purpose of the row is for everyone to have a great, if testing, day out and to raise funds for the new boathouse. If anyone would like to donate they can do so on our MyDonate page.
Goring Gap Boat Club has 2 punts (and a dinghy) at the Swan at Streatley that are available for members to use between End April and October.
Who can use the punts?
At least one member of the punting party per boat must be a member of Goring Gap Boat Club for insurance purposes. You don’t have to be a full members – social members can take the punts out (social membership is £30 per year). Each punt can hold 5 people max (dinghy 3).
Where are they?
The Punts are locked up behind the Swan hotel in Goring. Go past the hotel reception and continue to the car park at the back of the hotel. In the far right hand corner cross a patch of grass next to a small outbuilding and the boats are on your right, either in the cut or on the bank.
How do I book?
A booking system operates by either writing in the log book in the locked cabinet or phoning Geoff Horne on 01491 873117. You can just turn up but if you do you must check that the book is not showing a reservation for the same day/time. If it is busy you cannot take a punt out.
Using the punts
A locked cabinet (combination code is available from Geoff or in the club handbook) holds paddles, (always take at least 2 paddles out with you even if intending to punt – the river is too deep for the Quant or pole as most people know it) in the middle if going upstream, bailers, buoyancy aids, log-book and keys to the punts. Ensure the key to the punts are returned to the cabinet and the punts and area are left in a tidy condition. Report any damages to Geoff by phone and write in the log book. The punter might want to be barefoot (for grip) and wearing shorts (to avoid wet trousers!).
You are punting at your own risk. Please read and comply with the safety and practical instructions in the cabinet/punts and on the GGBC website and in the club handbook. Non swimmers (unable to swim 50m clothed) and all children under 18 should wear a buoyancy aid. Only very experienced punters should go anywhere near the weir.