The three women spent 10 days on a paddleboarding trip from Bristol to London to demonstrate the grim reality of England’s rivers.
Anneka France, Beckii Waters and Harriet Alvis used the connecting waterways to paddle board their way to the capital and traveled 260km while collecting data on the quality of the various water bodies connecting the two cities, including the River Thames.
They traveled on the last day Twickenham, stains and Richmond before returning to Bristol by train.
After a difficult start, France, Waters and Alvis found that the journey got easier as time went on.
“Mentally, the first few days were the hardest because we were upstream,” Waters said.
Alvis added: “In the beginning, when people asked us what we were doing and we told them they would be like, ‘yeah you’re never going to do that.’
However, as they got closer to their goal, they found that the people they encountered along the way were much more supportive and motivated to push harder.
“The kindness of the foreigners was incredible,” France said.
Waters added: “We had a guy ask us how fast we were rowing and we said we were rowing slower than our walking pace, so he walked slower so we could row past him.”
The three women, accompanied by their dogs Ruby and Teifi, wanted to raise awareness of the problems facing British rivers, as a report called The State of Our Rivers was published by The Rivers Trust on September 26.
NS report It found that rivers provide two-thirds of Britain’s water supply and support a wide variety of wildlife, but none of Britain’s rivers are healthy.
Only 14% pass the bar for good ecological health and none meet chemical standards.
while on them trip, three women partnered with PROTEUS equipment, NRS Europe and Escape Watersports to help document the problems British rivers are currently facing, such as the presence of single-use plastic in rivers, with 403,171 sewage spills reported into rivers in 2020.
As a result, many rivers in England are in very poor condition, and the section of the Thames that runs through most of southwest London was described as poor or in poor condition, according to the report.
The trio were often offered biscuits and tea on their journey, and one person even allowed them to stay at home and take a shower.
But despite the kindness of strangers, what he saw along the way was not so positive.
Canal boats dumped their waste into canals leading to rivers, causing massive pollution and wildlife damage along the way.
Alvis said: “I think there should be some sort of legislation or a way to control where waste goes from canal boats.”
France added: “There needs to be more education campaigns as people like Canal and the Rivers Trust also have a big role to play.”
Also, while paddleboarding, they’ve often seen an upsetting amount of raw sewage dumped into the drains that they’ll smell before they see it.
There wasn’t a moment when the group believed the water was clean enough to swim in, even during the sunniest parts of the trip.
They were keen to emphasize that if you are dissatisfied with the health of a local river, you should write to your MP about it, be careful about the household products you use, and be mindful of what you flush. down the toilet.
You can donate to The Rivers Trust. this link and read more about the trip Here.