Posts Tagged ‘a walk along the Thames pathway’

I’m not sure if I mentioned this before 🤔🤔 but I’m walking the Thames Path for my birthday…its a milestone birthday in as much as according to the government I can officially retire!!!  🤪🤪🤪 if only.

Initially I really wanted to walk from source to sea, but have not been able to find a good relevant guide book. The Cicerone books are excellent but they only had a sea to source guide, which has been irritating me.
So I’ve been pondering how I can turn this around so I can enjoy the walk instead of feeling like I’m doing it the wrong way around…

And I just had an idea 💡 ping the old  🧠 woke up….I shall pretend I’m an explorer 😁🕵️‍♀️🕵️‍♀️🚶🏻‍♀️🚶🏻‍♀️ who has just stumbled upon this great river, and now I have to follow it to find the mysterious source hidden in the jungle….in reality it’s in a barren field and the stream is mostly dry,🤦🏼‍♀️🤦🏼‍♀️ but who’s checking 🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️ this is my adventure and if I say it’s a jungle, then it’s a jungle 🐒🐒🐒🐆🐅🦏🐘🦒🐊🤪🤪

Sometimes it helps to be on the verge of senility, you can make up all sorts of 💩🤣🤣🤣

Thames Path…I shall 👀👉 in April well that’s the plan anyway…the PM may scupper those plans once again, unless I go incognito.

Walking the Thames Path has been a dream of mine ever since we lived in London, and I’m actually quite excited that finally I can bring my dream to fruition 😃😃 Hoorah

The O2
City of London – Commemorating the 1666 Great Fire of London in 2016
Richmond lock
The Great River Race 2016 Richmond
The Gloriana processing along The Thames during the Tudor Pull near Teddington
Teddington Lock (during my 3 Days in London days)

Over the years I’ve walked sections of the Thames Path from Gravesend to Hampton Court and I initially toyed with the idea of skipping this section, which will take me 3 days of solid walking at approximately 20/5 kms per day, BUT I know myself too well…I won’t feel as if I’ve ‘actually’ walked the whole Thames Path unless I walk the whole route.

So, according to the guide, the path starts at the Thames Barrier, so that’s where I shall start my adventure…

The Thames Barrier

Did you know that the River Thames, a tidal river, is considered to be part of the English Coast right up until Teddington Lock ….

All I need now is for everyone to 🤞🤞🤞 that we don’t go into another lockdown before 20th April…thank you 😉

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Just had to share this with you quickly…I’ve started planning my September walks (thanks to lockdown 2020, they had to be postponed) and of course the first guide under the spotlight is St Cuthbert’s Way.

This was my initial planned walk with a couple of others, but now that I’m rereading the guide I’ve decided to include walking St Oswald’s Way as well, and while I’m there, I may as well walk the whole of the Northumberland Coast Path as well before heading into Newcastle.

I recently started reading Neil Oliver’s BBC A History of Scotland and to my delight, I recognise a lot of the place names he mentions in the book. The area is redolent with history. How will I tear myself away. 😁😁 I will however be visiting quite a few of those places enroute along the two routes.

An absolutely amazing book

Of course I’m still planning on walking The Thames Path for my birthday, and the South Downs Way if I’m kicking my heels and need another long walk before the year is out…

Meanwhile, I’ve discovered that I will need a compass 🧭 to find my way at some points 🧐🕵️‍♀️🔎🚶🏻‍♀️🚶🏻‍♀️ This is going to be reallyyyyyy interesting. I have no idea how a compass works really. I know the principles, but I usually rely on mapmywalk and Google to get me out of a pickle, so I guess a compass tutorial and some map reading is in my future 🔮

Meanwhile I’m finding it really difficult to put the guide book down and focus on something else…its so interesting and I love the snippets of information that the writer has included in the book. Its giving me itchy feet….

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….following in the footsteps of Geoffrey Chaucer (c1340-1400), I embarked on the first leg of my pilgrim’s route. As mentioned in my previous blog, after discovering that Chaucer followed the Pilgrim’s route from Southwark to Canterbury, I have decided to as much as possible follow the route that he took.  It is my plan to follow the English route (or one of them anyway) from London to Santiago.  Once I reach Canterbury it will be a case of, do I go via Portugal (which I am inclined to do) or via Spain? A lot will hinge on whether or not I have my British Passport by that stage (means I don’t have to apply for a visa).

So to begin at the beginning, I set off  from London Bridge Station, Saturday 12th February at about 4.30pm to explore Southwark more fully and to visit the places that were around in Chaucers day.  In the Middle Ages the area hereabouts was known as the Liberty of the Clink and owned by the Bishops of Winchester.   After some research (google) I discovered that not only was

1) London Bridge around, but so was

london bridge

London Bridge - 1st bridge across the Thames as it is today

2) Southwark Cathedral (circa 606AD)

southwark cathedral and geoffrey chaucer

southwark Cathedral - a place of worship since 606AD

inside there is a beautiful stained glass window with the words ‘To the Glory of God and in honour of Geoffrey Chaucer’,

3) Winchester Palace (only a small section of which remains) – Great Hall of Winchester Palace, originally built in 1109, the residence of the powerful Bishops of Winchester.

winchester palace and the rose window

remains of Winchester Palace showing the famous Rose window

4) The Clink Prison (now a museum)

the clink prison museum london

The Clink Prison Museum - a debtor perhaps!!!

Although a prison was probably established within the palace in the 12th century, the first mention of the clink was in 1509. John Stow (1525 -1605) in his Survey of London (publ 1598), states that the prison was kept for those that broke the peace in the Bankside brothels.   In 1761 the prison was described as ‘a very dismal hole where debtors are sometimes confined’. It later burned down in the Gordon Riots of 1780.

and of course

5)  The George Inn (albeit restored after a fire)

the george inn london national trust

The George Inn - the last surviving galleried inn in London

 and I also discovered

6) St George the Martyr – a church that was in existence during the 14th Century and before.

st george the martyr london

St George the Martyr Church - Southwark

These buildings have all gone through different experiences and many are restored after fires that have raged through the area, so although they were about in Chaucer’s day, they were most likely in a slightly different form.  Although I have to say that the UK is very good at endeavouring to restore their ancient, heritage to what it was before any disaster that may have devestated the original.  There were also some remains of the Bermondsey palace, but I could not quite figure out where it was, so will leave that for another time.

I have listed these buildings or the remains of or the current form of those that were definitely around in Chaucer’s day.

I enjoyed a very happy 5 hours meandering the alleys, lanes and streets (*) of Southwark, starting off of course from London Bridge, I walked through the grounds of Southwark Cathedral past Winchester Palace along narrow, darkened lanes to The Clink Prison Museum (where I met the goaler man),

the clink prison museum

the goaler man at The Clink Prison (museum)

 back through Borough Market which looked bereft and kinda spooky, nothing like it does on market days when the market stalls are set up and there is the hustle and bustle of shoppers and marketers, thence along Borough High Street which being a route from Southwark, London to Dover was of course also a main thoroughfare in Chaucers day.  I visited St George the Martyr church and had a quick peek inside, then made my way back up to The George Inn for my evening meal.  The George Inn is the last remaining galleried inn in London and has gone through many changes, almost lost to fire at one stage and frequented by the likes of Dickens, Shakespeare and of course Chaucer and me! 🙂

the george inn london national trust

a new proprietor at The George Inn

So although he did not set out from this particular Inn I decided to have my ‘pilgrim’s’ meal and pretend that he did 🙂  I enjoyed a good old-fashioned plate of battered-fish and chips with mushy peas (that were a psychedelic green),

the george inn london national trust

my pilgrim's meal - battered fish, chips and psychedelic mushy peas

 washed down with a beverage that I am positive was not around in his day: Bailey’s Cream…..on ice 🙂  The Tabard Inn,  that Chaucer set off from has long since disappeared.

By now it was getting kinda late but since I was in no hurry I made my way back to London Bridge and set off along the Queen’s Walk which makes up part of the Thames Path that follows the whole of the 215miles of the Thames from source to sea, with a few diversions.  What a delight.  It was interesting to see London Bridge all lit up in red (fire!!!)

london bridge

London Bridge lit up at night

 and a bit further along I discovered Cotton’s Centre which is a monstrous glass edifice and just marvellous, I also re-discovered Hays’ Galleria and on venturing inside the huge cavern found a most amazing and fantastical water-fountain!  A metal boat like something out of the movie ‘A League of Extraordinary Men’.  All I can say is that if you have not seen it yet…..treat yourself, it is fantastic.

the navigators a water fountain in hays galleria

'The Navigators' by sculptor David Kemp, 1987

From there I meandered along the bankside passing HMS Belfast on the way, admiring all the new and beautiful modern buildings that have grown up along that side of the river till I reached Potters Field, City Hall and The Scoop and thence to Tower Bridge.  The night was perfect, and the river sparkeled and shone with the lights from the buildings lining her banks, their reflections dancing on the swirls and eddies of the tide.

I tarried a while and gazed, entranced at the beauty of the evening. The Tower of London, sitting squat and ominous, her turrets and towers underlit with spotlights, seemed to glow in the night with an eerie, and ghostly life of their own.

the tower of london

The Tower of London

Tower Bridge; an amazing spectacle of colour at night, with light shining out so bright I am sure it could be seen from space.

tower bridge london

Tower Bridge lit up at night

Around me citizens strolled arm in arm, pushed buggys or walked in groups along the path, bursts of laughter echoed across the water and the shrieks of children rushing through the fountains that decorate the square filled the night with sound.

water glass and light

water glass and light at More London Riverside

Eventually, mindful of my intended early start the next day for my walk from Southwark to Greenwich, I strolled back via More London Riverside through this vast concrete jungle, towering giants of glass, steel and concrete; alien space-ships on ancient land.

I once heard someone say that they always thought of London as being grey!!!! Well, never could you be so wrong.  London is a vibrant collage of colours….just take a walk along the banks of the Thames at night and you will see what I mean.

More London Riverside by night

I also wondered what it must have been like in Chaucer’s day when the lanes and alleys were frequented by the likes of tars, thieves, prostitutes and pirates…..a dark and dangerous place indeed.

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Hello! hello! It’s 2011; 365 new days to fill with fun, adventure and new experiences 🙂

Last night my daughter and I saw in the new year with sherry and watched the London Eye fireworks on TV. I was going to go and watch them at the venue itself but decided instead that I wanted to see in the NY with her instead.   Not long after the clocks struck the witching hour and we were into 2011 we snuggled into bed and off to sleep. I woke about 12noon, delighted not to have anything in particular to do and nowhere in particular to go.

We started the day with tea (of course) and Ouma rusks (a South African biscuit type biscuit!). Then I pulled on the multitude of layers needed to brave the weather and headed out for a walk. I made for the river and walked along the path towards Richmond Lock, crossed over via the footpath and then walked along the Thames path towards Kew.

along the Thames Path

Along the way, I passed many other people doing the same thing….how very sensible.  I saw boats, and birds, a heron and a speed boat.  I passed Isleworth and walked on the Meridian Line!

Meridian Line

The weather was cool out, not cold – overcast but mild with a fine mist in the air.

River Thames 01.01.2011 a misty overcast day

 I walked for about and hour and half and then made my way back to the house, ready for a hot cuppa and lunch: grilled sausage with gravy, mash and peas…..yummy.  then we re-arranged my daughter’s bedroom; admidst much laughter we moved the bed around, moved cupboards and wardrobe, desk and boxes – finally getting everything just the way she wanted it. Then I poured a decent glass of sherry, settled on the couch to watch ‘Independence Day’ and download my photos. Now I am watching CSI, listening the Magic105 and eating roses chocolates….could life get any better!

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