on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Thames Waters

Sweet Thames, run softly till I end my song

Quintin Lake

British Architectural and Landscape Photographer, I originally trained as an architect and my interest in geometry informs all my photographic work.


We featured Quintin’s dramatic arctic and desert images in the last issue and we’re happy to feature some of his work again but this time in a more prosaic vein.

I’m sure Quintin was not the first person to think of photographing the length of the river Thames but his approach and execution are somewhat different and make a refreshing change. In August of 2012 Quintin walked the 170 mile length of the river, from Kemble in Gloucestershire all the way to the city of London, backpacking and wild camping all the way in 10 days.

The results may not be what you would expect. We asked Quintin a few questions about the project, firstly asking what prompted the idea and and how that idea progressed from germ to the journey to Kemble

Thames Waters 1/2 Mile downstream (near Kemble).

Thames Waters 1/2 Mile downstream (near Kemble).

The idea to wild camp all of the way sounds quite romantic until the journey starts to hit the outskirts of various towns and cities en-route, of which I imagine there are quite a few. What were the logistics like and how did the experience work in practice.

Yes camping was tricker than in a true wilderness like Scotland as one can't just camp anywhere. The official camp sites along the route are aimed at boaters and tend to be noisy and with hard ground and would remove me from the prolonged connection to the river that I wanted - not to mention sleeping next to noisy BBQ's was not the kind of spiritual connection I was after. So I ended up "wild camping" in fields pitching at dusk and breaking camp at dawn so as not to be visible or alternatively camping in woods. Ironically the biggest problem I had was finding fresh water - I thought the streams would be too polluted to even use a water filter unless i wanted it clogged up after a couple of uses - I ended up knocking on doors of houses i passed. Further downstream the locks all have fresh water taps.

Thames Waters 100 miles downstream (dawn near Shiplake).

Thames Waters 100 miles downstream (dawn near Shiplake).

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