A Thames Fit To Swim

An urban hike on the banks of the Thames, with PatagoniaProper Magazine and London Waterkeeper.

A Thames Fit To Swim

 

“In a bed, in a bed
by the waterside I will lay my head
Listen to the river sing sweet songs
to rock my soul”

Living on the banks of the Lea, rivers are close to my heart, and I see daily how polluted London’s rivers are. This first hand experience inspired me to become a founding-trustee of London Waterkeeper – an independent charity set up by  campaigner, Theo Thomas, to challenge polluters and defend rivers in the capital. We’re a member of Waterkeeper Alliance – the fastest-growing environmental movement for water in the world.

Last year we successfully applied to become a Patagonia environmental grantee, and they supported our Riversides campaign. This year we applied again, this time for our A Thames Fit To Swim campaign, and I’m excited to say that we’ve just been awarded the maximum grant of $10,000 USD. The good folks at Patagonia are not only funding us, but they’re also helping spread the word about the campaign.

The aim of A Thames Fit To Swim is for people to be able to safely swim in the Thames in London. It might seem like a dream to think that the general public could safely bathe in the Thames for recreation, but it’s been done in Copenhagen and we can do it here!

We want to see live bathing water quality updates, and swim zones between Putney Bridge and Hampton Court. There are times when the Thames is clean enough to swim in, and others when it’s not, but no one knows when they are. Without this knowledge, people who swim there are putting their health at risk. Raw sewage is still discharged into the Thames when our sewers overflow, and we have a right to know when this happens.

We met up with Patagonia and the guys from Proper Magazine to go on a Thames-side urban hike, so Theo could tell everyone more about the campaign. Our route took us past Richmond Park and Kew Gardens, and it was incredible to see how rural the scenery can be in the heart of the capital.

A Thames Fit To Swim
Theo collecting water samples. The froth (christened “crap-puccino” by Proper Mag Neil) could be sewage. We also saw sanitary products and other evidence of sewage.

A Thames Fit To Swim
Our Jake and Proper Mag Neil admiring the view.


Proper Mag’s photographer, Mark, has he spotted some rare wildlife?


Theo telling us about the history of Old Deer Park,  it takes its name from the hunting park created by James I in 1604.

A Thames Fit To Swim

No hike is complete without a pint and a burger at the end. The Express Tavern at Kew Bridge definitely ticks all the boxes and keeps you in that bucolic bubble for a wee while longer. I was especially happy with my bramble cider 🙂

Sign up to London Waterkeeper’s petition to ask Thames Water to tell us when its sewers overflow. 



Fjällräven Sample Sale

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We are hosting a Fjällräven Sample Sale on the Green outside The Brokedown Palace, Boxpark Shoreditch this weekend – Saturday 28th 11-7, Sunday 29th 12-6. 

Prices will be between 40% and 70% off RRP.

Men’s are mainly size L and women’s size S, but there are a few Ms and XLs in there too.

There is only one of each item and it’s mainly apparel. Bags will be extremely limited – we should warn you now there are only a handful of Kånken backpacks in old colourways. Please come early to avoid disappointment.

RSVP on the Facebook event page now for more info and event updates.


Black Friday – Patagonia Worn Wear Returns to the Palace

This year we decided we wanted to do something positive and sustainable for Black Friday, so we’ve teamed up with our pals at Patagonia to bring their Worn Wear station back to the Palace. Martina will be working her magic and mending any of your outdoor garments for free, and giving advice on how to do repairs too.

See all the details and RSVP for Worn Wear at The Brokedown Palace – Black Friday 25th November.

 


Testing Out Rab’s Microlight Alpine Jacket

This season we were stoked to add Rab to our brand list at the Palace. Rab Carrington founded the brand in 1980s Sheffield – which is a place close to our hearts. My partner and Palace co-founder, Ian, was born in Sheffield, we both went to university there, and I’m a Yorkshire lass too.

Rab Carrington originally hailed from Glasgow, but his growing climbing passion eventually inspired a move to the relatively drier climes of Sheffield, where he joined in the healthy mountaineering scene based there at the time. He started off sewing sleeping bags in his attic, and then opened a factory in Sheffield.

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Mark Wilson, one of Rab’s first employee’s cutting fabric in 1980s Sheffield.

The Microlight Alpine Jacket is one of Rab’s signature pieces, so naturally we had to have it in our collection.  It seemed fitting to take it up to Rab Carrington’s Scottish roots to test it out  – on a hillwalking trip to Corrour in the Highlands.

Rab Corrour
The Microlight is not only a great technical jacket, we think it looks pretty damn sweet too.

We were booked in the seats on the sleeper train (no comfy cabin this time), and the Microlight immediately came into its own – as a handy travel pillow! It packs into its own stuff sack  – which makes it the perfect shape on which to rest a weary head.

Once in Corrour, the Microlight formed an essential part of Ian’s Munro bagging kit. Setting off for the summits, it was wet but fairly mild, so he started out just wearing a shell and Rab Merino Baselayer. The Microlight stayed packed in its stuff sack, and took up barely any space in his daypack. However as we neared the peaks and were exposed to the biting Highland wind, out came the Microlight.  We like to hang out on the mountain tops – picnicking, taking photos and generally soaking up the mind-blowing views. The Microlight made the perfect insulating mid-layer, and he felt totally snug even when stationary for a while.

Corrour
Soaking up the mind-blowing views

Rab are famous for their quality down, it’s in their heritage – hence the feathers in their logo.  The Microlight is filled with Rab’s special Hydrophobic Goose Down. Hydrophobic down dries faster, absorbs less water and retain its ‘loft’ – the fluffiness which is what makes it warm and cosy!


Rab Carrington and the early Rab logo with iconic feather

The outer fabric is Pertex, which is both breathable and windproof – a feature Ian was certainly glad of on this trip. The Microlight is weather-resistant but not waterproof, so as it was pouring down on our mountain days, he wore it under his waterproof shell.

On the last day we did some lower ground exploring, and it was dryer with just a few light showers. It felt colder without the hilly exertion, and the Microlight over the Merino base layer was a winning combo. He didn’t wear a shell and the Microlight stood up to the occasional light rain. Even the hood is down-filled which really does make it feel like you’re under your duvet, whilst enjoying the great outdoors!

Rab Corrour
On the bridge behind Corrour Station – made famous in Trainspotting.

Rab Corrour

Rab Corrour

Rab Corrour Summit
Walking along the train tracks at Corrour Summit.

Whether you’re braving the wilds of Scotland or Shoreditch this winter, Rab’s Microlight Alpine Jacket is an essential piece of kit!

Ethics

Rab’s Hydrophobic Down is Fluorocarbon free and developed in conjunction with Nikwax. Fluorocarbons are often used to make garments water repellent but they are toxic to humans and the environment. Nikwax and Rab have developed a safe alternative.

All Rab’s down is ethically sourced and traceable under the European Down and Feather Association Code of Conduct, this stipulates that no down harvested in a way that inflicts pain upon animals may be used.

 



Patagonia Worn Wear Tour

Patagonia’s Worn Wear Tour will be stopping at The Brokedown Palace 11am-7pm on 26/27 April at our Boxpark , Shoreditch store and 28 April at the Spitalfields E1 Bishop’s Square event space.

worn wear

They will repair any broken garments  for free in their Worn Wear Van. Not just Patagonia clothing, but anything that needs repairing! They can only do 20 repairs in a day, so make sure you get there early.

Patagonia Worn Wear

Here’s what Patagonia say, “As individual consumers, the single best thing we can do for the planet is to keep our stuff in use longer. This simple act of extending the life of our garments through proper care and repair reduces the need to buy more over time—thereby avoiding the CO2 emissions, waste output and water usage required to build it.

We are taking this radical story to our communities across Europe on a 4,700km, 50 stop, 6 country tour. Our two CNG fuelled vans will be trucking across Europe offering free repairs on busted zippers, rips, tears, buttons and more (we fix all brands). We’ll also be showing people how to make simple repairs on clothes that have a second life left in them.

Find your nearest stop on Patagonia.com and on Patagonia’s Facebook Page.

If it’s broke, fix it!”

While on the road in the Northern Scotland, Patagonia climbing ambassador, Sean Villanueva O’Driscoll reflects on the garments that have accompanied him on expeditions all around the world.

“A piece that is full of patches and repairs has a spirit. It has a story attached to it!” says Sean. The stories we wear are worth hanging onto, repairing and using as long as possible. That’s the heart of Worn Wear and the story of Sean.

Share Your Stories! 
Keep up to date with the tour and share your Worn Wear stories. You can submit your favourite stories on your most loved gear over on the 
Worn Wear Tumblr page . Keep up to date with what’s happening out on the road by following Worn Wear on Instagram @WornWear and using the hastag #wornwear . You can also see the next stops on the tour and share info and invite friends and colleagues to your nearest Worn Wear event by checking out the events section over at the Patagonia Facebook page. 

Keep up to date with Worn Wear at the Palace over on our Instagram @thebrokedownpal.