Open Water Swimming. Woodford to Castor.

Mon, 20th May 2019 - 10:37 p.m.

Only 5 swimmers at Wadenhoe last Thursday, so I'm assuming that it's still a bit too cold for people at the moment. This Thursday, 23rd May, we will be getting in at Wadenhoe at 6:30pm again, for an acclimatisation swim. If their are enough takers then we hope to start the 30-mile Nene swim on 30th May.

See you at Wadenhoe on Thursday 23rd.

Mon, 27th May 2019 - 10:59 p.m.

Summer is here, and it's time to start the full Nene swim from Woodford to Castor this Thursday 30th May. This is a great adventure, and has become an annual Pactrac tradition. You don't have to be a top swimmer to come along - we usually have the full range, all the way from breaststrokers to accomplished Ironman swimmers. Everyone is welcome. The faster swimmers either wait every now and again, or swim back.

We need to make a start, in order to reach Castor by September. This is now the ninth year that we are doing a Pactrac Nene Swim Marathon. We start at Woodford and then make our way to Castor, 30-miles downstream, in fifteen bite-sized chunks, on Thursday evenings. If you are new to this and want to get an idea, have a look at previous years' Forums, e.g.

The first stage is this Thursday, 30th May, from Woodford to Denford. The route is on MapMyRun:

We will get in just upstream of the village of Woodford and swim down to Denford. MapMyRun says it's 1.73miles, so that's a good distance to start with. This is a really pleasant, open and rural stretch of the Nene. We will have our first lock to cross and will finish at the second lock. Denford is where the Nene Turtle was spotted eight years ago. Maybe he'll be waiting for us again.

The plan is to meet at the finish at Denford, and then share cars to the start. That makes it easier for most people to get home after the swim. So we will meet in Denford for 6.15pm, near Meadow Lane which leads to the lock where we will finish this leg. Meadow Lane is in the centre of the village, across the road from the petrol station / pub on the Denford High Street, you can't miss it.

We will then take a few cars (no big silver van again this year, unfortunately), to drive to the start in Woodford. We will park at the end of Church Street; from Woodford's village green, take one of the narrow lanes to the bottom of the village and then turn right. Note there isn't much car parking space. From the end of Church Street there is a footpath; turn left just after the gate and you'll get to the river. We will start the swim at 6.30pm. If anyone is able to bring any designated drivers along, that would help a lot with the logistics.

If you are not confident to do the whole swim, you could come to the finish and swim upstream until you meet the others. Don't do this on your own (for safety), but there may be a few others interested - best to post on the Forum.

We will do a short briefing before the start and you will need to sign in and out. We will have kayak cover for most of the legs, but again, everyone still participates at their own risk. Their is a Safety Briefing attached, but please bring a brightly coloured hat, just in case we encounter any boats.

Can you also post on the Forum if you think that you might be late, or intend to do things slightly differently. The full 15 Stage swim is also on the Forum.

See you there.

Tue, 28th May 2019 - 1:33 p.m.

The 30-mile Woodford to Castor Thursday night swims start on 30th May.

30th May Leg 1.....Woodford - Denford......................1.73 miles.
6th June Leg 2.....Denford - Thrapston.......................2.10 miles.
13th June Leg 3.....Thrapston - Thorpe Waterville.....2.40 miles.
20th June Leg 4.....Thorpe Waterville - Wadenhoe....1.90 miles.
27th June Leg 5.....Wadenhoe - Lilford.......................1.40 miles.
4th July Leg 6.....Lilford - Barnwell Mill.......................2.02 miles.
11th July Leg 7.....Barnwell Mill - Ashton....................2.13 miles.
18th July Leg 8.....Ashton - Cotterstock......................2.23 miles.
25th July Leg 9.....Cotterstock - Bluebell Lakes..........2.00 miles.
01st Aug Leg 10....Bluebell Lakes - Warmington........1.97 miles.
08th Aug Leg 11....Warmington - Elton Bridge............2.04 miles.
15th Aug Leg 12....Elton Bridge - Nassington.............1.71 miles.
22nd Aug Leg 13....Nassington - Wansford.................2.48 miles.
29th Aug Leg 14....Wansford - Nene Valley Railway...1.90 miles.
5th Sept Leg 15....Nene Valley Railway - Castor.........1.90 miles.

Total 30 miles.

Wed, 29th May 2019 - 8:19 p.m.

I'll join in tomorrow,and might even bring some flapjack!

Thu, 30th May 2019 - 1:26 a.m.

See you next Thursday. Hopefully Phil might have flapjacks again the following week... (can’t go without!) :-)

Thu, 30th May 2019 - 3:31 p.m.

Sorry Graeme,I won't be there next week!
I'll be in Cornwall for a couple of days diving,and for the 1mile Castle2castle swim race across the Fal estuary at Falmouth on the Sunday.
I doubt that I'll make the Nene Swim regularly again,but who knows!

Thu, 30th May 2019 - 6:22 p.m.

Hopefully see you for one swim before the end. Enjoy Cornwall

Wed, 5th Jun 2019 - 1:16 p.m.

We had a decent turnout last Thursday, with 10 swimmers, a flotilla of kayaks going the other way, and a very angry swan. We didn't spot the Nene turtle, but the river was warm and Sean was there to supply the coffee, with Martin and Phil supplying the Flapjacks. All good fun.

The second leg is this Thursday, 6th June, from Denford through to Thrapston. We'll get in where we got out last week, at Denford lock. We will swim through Thrapston, crossing the A14 and the old Six Arches Bridge and get to Thrapston lock. We'll then do another kilometer or so along Thrapston marina to get to appr 2.1miles. The route of Thursday's leg is on

As always we will meet at the finish at Thrapston Marina, ready to leave at 6:15pm; and then take a few cars to drive to the start in Denford to start the swim at 6.30pm. Park in the car park, just before the Middle Nene Sailing Club.

If you are late and can't make it to Thrapston in time, you can always go to Denford directly and someone can drop you back there after the swim. Let us know on the Forum if you intend to do this, or are likely to be late.

To get to the finish location in Thrapston is a bit complicated. The address is Meadow Lane, which is near the town centre and starts at the Thrapston sports club (Chancery Lane / Green Lane). At the sports club playing fields, take a left into the wooded dirt road (this is Meadow Lane) and follow it until you get to a footbridge, where we will park at the end of the car park. The finish of this leg is quite a walk from here. Note: you can only get there by car from Thrapston town centre, not from Islip.

For those who go straight to Denford: you can get to the lock over the bridleway that runs from the village centre (petrol station, pub).

Please look out for boats, wear a bright coloured swim hat, and look out for one another.

Wed, 5th Jun 2019 - 3:57 p.m.

I won't be there this week,so no flapjack from me I'm afraid!
For the record,I'm not getting back into the Nene Swim habit again as the pace is plenty quick enough for me,but I will show up from time to time!

Mon, 10th Jun 2019 - 3:40 p.m.

This Thursday's swim is from Thrapston marina to Thorpe Waterville. This is one of the longest swims, at about 2.4-miles, so that's a bit longer than the previous swims - and the same as an Ironman swim! See for this week's route. We will swim for 50-100 metres before our first stop to regroup and adjust goggles.

The river snakes through the Thrapston lakes and Titchmarsh nature reserve on this leg, with a footpath on the bank for most of the way. We'll cross a few footbridges and then get to Titchmarsh lock and marina after about 1.8m. We'll cross the lock, and then it's just a few hundred meters to the finish.

As last week, the plan is to meet at the finish at Thorpe Waterville, ready to leave at 6.15pm for the drive to the start at Thrapston, where we will get in at around 6.30pm. The finish is the Nene bridge just West of Thorpe Waterville. Thorpe is on the A605. Coming from Peterborough, take a right at The Fox Inn, then follow the signs to Aldwincle, taking a left at the fork in the road. The finish is just a few hundred meters from Thorpe, at the second bridge. There are 1 or 2 spaces on the right and two more on the left. If this is full, there are further spaces beyond the bridge (or you could park on a verge in or near Thorpe).

Please let us know on the Forum if you intend to go straight to the start or may be late. If you are late and go straight to the start, we should be able to get you back to your car afterwards.

The start is (as always) where we finished last week, at Thrapston marina, so there'll be a bit of a walk to start with. Directions are on last weeks thread on the Forum.

Mon, 10th Jun 2019 - 8:34 p.m.

I'd love to come along to get some OW experience. I doubt I could do the whole distance though.
Are there any OW training sessions to attend, or best to go to Tallington or Nene Park?

Tue, 11th Jun 2019 - 10:59 p.m.

Hi Richard. Some sometimes start at the finish and swim towards us, meet us and then swim back with us. This doesn't happen that often, so you'd need to look out for it on Facebook or here.

Other open water swim venues with circuits and kayak safety include Nene Park, Tallington, Rutland Water and Box End at Bedford.

Thu, 13th Jun 2019 - 12:12 p.m.

I usually swim in The Nene.You would be welcome to join me any afternoon once the rain stops and the river-level drops!
I don't do anything fast,just a steady bimble of around one mile.
Over to you.

Thu, 13th Jun 2019 - 12:53 p.m.

Thanks Phil, that would be great. I will check back here, but also the Facebook group.
I live in Peterborough, but commute between there and Corby and willing to travel a bit anyway.
I was really hoping to have got out there by this stage of summer, but clearly the weather is against us.
I'm doing St Neots Sprint Tri in July, so I'll be in the river one way or another soon!

Thu, 13th Jun 2019 - 2:42 p.m.

Are we going ahead with Thrapston to Thorpe swim this evening, or is the plan to go there and look at the river levels before deciding?

Thu, 13th Jun 2019 - 7:07 p.m.

For your info I don't do facebook or any other "social media",so you'll need my email address,which I'm sure Pactrac can supply.
Also,I'm away on holiday in Japan with "American Amy" from the end of June until mid-July.

Tue, 18th Jun 2019 - 9:54 p.m.

This Thursday's swim will be from Thorpe Waterville to Wadenhoe. It's 1.9m (according to Mapmyrun), so that's a little bit shorter than last week. The route is on

This section is very rural and remote. It goes past some fields and woodland, past the old Church at Wadenhoe on the top of the hill (take a moment to stop and look - it's a great view from in the water), and then finishes in Wadenhoe, right next to the old King's Head pub's beergarden.

The plan is once again to meet at the finish at 6.15pm. There is usually plenty of parking space in the Village Hall car park. Go into the village of Wadenhoe and turn right from Mill Lane into Church Street. The Village Hall car park is at the end of the road, past the pub and Village Hall on your left. The address is Church Street, Wadenhoe, Northamptonshire PE8 5ST. We will then drive to the start at Thorpe Waterville to get in at around 6:30pm - see last week's message for directions. Hopefully there will be one or two non-swimmers who can drop the swimmers off at the start.

Please post on the Forum if you intend to go straight to the start, or expect to be late.

Mon, 24th Jun 2019 - 5:11 p.m.

This week's Nene Swim is the 5th leg, from Wadenhoe to Lilford, and is the most suitable for novice river swimmers. It is only 1.4 miles long (according to Mapmyrun)! and it's easy to get out earlier as well. If anyone is not very confident about the long distances, then this is the week to give it your first try! The route is on

We start near to the King's Head pub in Wadenhoe, and will have to get out again straight away to cross Wadenhoe lock. From there the river goes through the open fields, under a footbridge and then along a wooded hillside to the lock at Lilford. We then get back in to do the final 200 metres or so, to the day's finish, on the left bank, right across the river from Lilford Hall (great view!). There is no access to the river from here right down to Oundle Mill, about 2 miles further downstream (next week's finish). In order to limit next week's swim to a feasible distance, we want to get out at the far end of the field, just before the fence. Bring some shoes for the walk back to the cars.

We will meet at the finish near Lilford for 6.15pm and then drive to the start in a few cars. Directions to the finish: on the A605, drive to the roundabout halfway between Oundle and Thorpe Waterville. Take the narrow road to Lilford and Pilton (to the right when coming from Peterborough). Follow the road down the hill, through the new Traffic Lights and then over two humpback Nene bridges. We will meet at the car parking space 50m or so past the second humpback bridge on the right. There is parking space for 2 or 3 cars, with limited space on the verges nearby.

Please advise on the Forum if you intend to go straight to the finish, or expect to be late.

See you on Thursday.