This weekend, Saturday the 24th August, I hosted my first ever exhibition of my Thames Path photos. Apart from sharing my Thames Path run experience through a photographic medium I also wanted to use the opportunity to raise money for the National Trails organisation. Just prior to the exhibition I have to admit that I was rather nervous as it suddenly dawned on me that my "work" was going to be open to public scrutiny. However, I came through relatively unscathed and it was a really great experience meeting people interested in photography and the Thames Path. My fund raising efforts raised £262 for the National Trails. Although not a huge amount it is apparently enough to open a new path/gate to the Thames River from a previously inaccessible location which is fantastic. One of my aims of this challenge was to get more people to experience the beauty of the Thames River and hopefully I will have achieved this in some small way.
Below are the photos I displayed at my exhibition. Most of them were printed at 24"x16" which was a really nice size when mounted on A1 board. For each of the photos I had printed a small map showing the location of the photo. I also included a short description for each photo. I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed taking them!
"The Source" - 184 miles to go
The source of the Thames River is demarcated with a stone underneath an ash tree in the corner of a field. There was no water in sight! The stone bears an inscription as follows:
THE CONSERVATORS OF THE RIVER THAMES
THIS STONE WAS PLACED HERE TO MARK THE
SOURCE OF THE RIVER THAMES
The "Boots" - 183 miles to go
I found these boots abandoned on a bridge crossing the Thames, about 1 mile from the source. They looked like they had been there for a number of years. The background shows the first sign of water and the beginning of the Thames Rivers journey into the North Sea.
Running - 175 miles to go
This photo was taken by a friend who joined me for the first section of the run. The scenery is typical of the many fields that line the river between the source and Cricklade. The "long socks" are actually calf compression sleeves and are designed to reduce the quick build-up of lactic acid in the muscles.
Narrow Boats - 155 miles to go
There were the first narrow boats that I saw on the river as I was approaching Lechlade. During my run I came across many narrow boats and it was quite enjoyable running alongside them for as long as I could hold the pace (boat speed is limited to about 7 miles an hour on many sections of the river).
Halfpenny Bride - 154 miles to go
One of the first of many beautiful bridges spanning the Thames. It carries the A361 road heading into Lechlade. The Riverside Pub (just to the right of this picture) is the first pub on the river. It was difficult to motivate myself to continue running at this point as there was so many people relaxing, having a drink and enjoying the weekend sunshine. It's called Halfpenny because that was the toll charged in 1839 for pedestrians to cross it.
View from Halfpenny Bridge - 154 miles to go
The view from Halfpenny Bridge was beautiful and complemented by one of the first lovely sunny days of the year. In the distance is St. John's lock which is the first lock (total of 45) on the Thames and home to the statue of Father Thames. The bridge was opened 261 years ago in 1752.
Buscot Lock - 151 miles to go
Buscot Lock is the smallest on the River Thames but one of my favourites. It has beautifully maintained gardens and an ideal location for a picnic on a nice day (it's actually a National Trust picnic area). This is the view as you approach the lock from Lechlade.
Eynsham Lock - 127 miles to go
Eynsham lock is another beautifully maintained lock with an abundance of colourful lavender in the garden. The lock is relatively new as it was built in 1928. The lock is close to Swinford Toll Bridge and is easily accessible via a short walk.
Rainbow Bridge - 124 miles to go
Rainbow Bridge is constructed from concrete with metal railings. It is called Rainbow Bridge quite simply because it was designed in the shape of a rainbow (not altogether clear from this photo). The bridge was built in 1924 and was financed by the University of Oxford. It was another lovely day when I took this photo and I had to wait for quite a long time to made sure nobody would walk into my shot.
Goring-On-Thames - 95 miles to go
I loved this tranquil view over-looking Goring Lock from the Goring and Streatley Bridge. In 2009 Goring was named Oxfordshire Village of the Year. The prize money of £1000 was used to help fund the village's hydro-electric project. Apparently in 1674 a ferry accident in the lock resulted in the drowning of 60 people.
Henley-On-Thames - 73 miles to go
I arrived in Henley the day before the start of the Royal Henley Rowing Regatta. There was a vibrant atmosphere as the rowing teams were completing some last minute training. This photo shows Temple Island which is the starting point for the 1 mile, 550 yard race course.
M4 Thames Bridge - 56 miles to go
As a photographer I am always looking for leading lines to draw the eye into the image and bridges are perfect for this effect. This is the underside of the M4 Thames Bridge near Bray. It's 25 feet high and made from concrete and steel. It is 1 of 4 bridges carrying motorway traffic across the Thames. The others are QE2 Bridge, M25 Bridge at Runnymede and the M3 Chertsey Bridge.
M25 Bridge - 40 miles to go
It was a big milestone to pass under the M25 as it meant that I was about to enter London. This is a view of the M25 that not too many people get to see. Once again I was impressed, from a photographic perspective, with the leading lines and symmetry of the bridge. The sheer size of the bridge was very impressive. This photo only shows the "anti-clockwise" portion of the M25 motorway. Due to the size of the M25 it is not ver easy, when driving, to notice the crossing of the Thames.
Teddington Lock - 30 miles to go
By the time I reached Teddington Lock I was fairly exhausted but felt relieved to finally reach the point where the Thames River becomes tidal. So I was effectively at sea level from this point onwards. There is actually one more lock downstream which is Richmond Lock.
Elizabeth Tower - 9 miles to go
Otherwise known as the "Clock Tower" or "Big Ben". Of course Big Ben is actually the nickname of the bell housed within the tower. In 2012 the name "Clock Tower" was officially changed to Elizabeth Tower to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth ll. The tower is the world's largest four-faced chiming clock and is the 3rd tallest free-standing clock.
Tower Bridge - 8 miles to go
One of London's most recognisable landmarks. Sometimes mistakenly referred to as "London Bridge", which is in fact the next bridge upstream. Apparently up to 40,000 people cross Tower Bridge each day.
Canary Wharf - 5 miles to go
This photo shows Canary Wharf as seen from the south side of the river. The river looked menacing and cold, much like my demeanour at this stage, so I favoured black and white for the photo. From this point the river loops around the Isle of Dogs so about an hour later I was looking at the other side of these buildings.
Thames Barrier - 0 miles to go
After six days of running it was an incredible feeling to finally lay eyes on the Thames Barrier. Although not a very popular tourist destination, due to its relatively remote location, the Barrier is actually an impressive sight and a feat of engineering. The Thames Barrier was built to prevent flooding of London by extreme high tides and storm surges that move up from the North Sea.