170 miles for Dart RNLI

By Kate Cotton   |   Dartmouth Reporter   |
Thursday 4th August 2022 10:00 am
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James Heskett preparing on the River Dart ( )

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YACHT broker James Heskett is walking and kayaking 170 miles of the River Thames to raise money for a new home for Dart RNLI.

James, owner of Network Yacht Brokers based in the Premier Marina at Noss, set off last Friday, July 29, by foot from the source of the Thames on the Wysis Way. His aim is to kayak to the Tower RNLI lifeboat station by next Tuesday, August 9.

On the first day he was accompanied by his wife, Jane, and friend Nicky Reed. The following day he walked 11 miles with John Osborne, a colleague from work, along the Wysis Way before branching off on the Thames Path. The first place where the kayak can be launched is at Lechlade and he paddled a further 10 miles that day. By Sunday he’d paddled to Eynsham, not far short of Oxford.

Walkers, boaters and anglers have all made donations along the way after chatting to James. So far he’s already raised £1,648 towards his £2,022 target.

He said: “As well as being a keen yachtsman myself I am also engaged in the leisure boating world. I therefore appreciate the need to support the RNLI locally and I decided to do something challenging to raise funds for our local team; something water-based but also something that I would never dream that I could do.

“My challenge will raise money for the Dart Lifeboat Station Appeal which will be launched in the near future to raise money to purchase and refurbish the original Dart Lifeboat Station to provide a modern home for the RNLI Volunteers in Dartmouth.

“In a mad moment I resolved to travel the approximately 170 miles of the River Thames.  This will entail walking the first 25 miles until the river becomes navigable, then continuing by kayak until I reach Tower Bridge, camping along the way.  It will mean descending over 100m through 44 locks and 195 weirs, negotiating some 214 bridges and 17 tunnels, and rounding at least 190 islands.  The final stretch involves paddling the Tideway from Teddington, where the current can flow fast and the waters can be both busy and choppy. What could be more fun!”

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