Global unicyclist’s new crazy challenge: wading, swimming and paddling the entire length of the River Thames

The famous landmark of Tower Bridge at sunset, London, United Kingdom
(Image credit: Getty Images / MartaTari)

Having become a social media sensation by travelling the world on a unicycle from 2015 to 2018, adventurer Ed Pratt has set himself a new challenge that he believes has never been attempted before: traveling the length of the UK’s longest river, the Thames, from source to sea, entirely in on or the water.

By which he means wading, swimming and kayaking the whole way. That doesn’t mean he never gets out of the river – he clambers onto land to sleep and eat – but if he’s moving forward towards the sea, he has to be in or on the water.

This challenge won’t take him quite as long as his previous global trek. That covered 22,000 miles (35500km) in 1,200 days, whereas the Thames is 215 miles (346km) and it should take him about two weeks, he estimates. 

He’s been going at it for five days, and has done all of the wading he expects to do, and crawled through some very cramped bridge tunnels near the Thames’ source in Gloucestershire.

Now he’s picked up his kayak, and in the latest instalment of his daily Instagram journal he asked people to name his watercraft, with the suggestion getting the most likes winning.

So it looks likely he’s going to be spending the rest of the journey in a kayak named Thamesy McThamesFace. And if you’re wondering why, this news story will reveal all.

And at least now he’s in a kayak he’s less likely to go down with some nasty bug picked up thanks to the shocking pollution levels in parts of the Thames.

Good luck, Ed. And we expect to see you attempting the Amazon or the Nile next. This is just a warm-up, surely?

And just to remind you why Pratt became in internet sensation, here’s a video detailing his global unicycling exploits, which are always fun to rewatch.

I Spent 1,200 Days Unicycling Around the World... and I don't know why - YouTube I Spent 1,200 Days Unicycling Around the World... and I don't know why - YouTube
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