Posts Tagged ‘a walk along the Thames pathway’

Hahaha, yes, after my blithe words yesterday about being pragmatic about plans changing…guess what??

Yeah…..that….can I bite my tongue?? 🤪🤪🤪

So after hours working out the route, checking the days/dates over and over to make sure they were correct and I didn’t miss any, calculating the distances to make sure the days are not too long, researching accommodation, then booking the dates, and double checking the dates, I got an email this morning confirming my booking but….

“Good afternoon,

Though most restrictions are lifted from 12th April, unfortunately for public who intend to stay in hotel for leisure are allowed only from 17th May. Till this time only key workers are permitted to stay overnight in hotels. Kind regards”

Don’t you just love a big old ‘but’? Although ‘butt’ would be more appropriate now, coz I’m kicking mine…😝😝

I understood from the government website that from 12 April Members of the same household can take a holiday in the UK in self-contained accommodation.

Couldn’t the government have been a little more specific and added “you may not stay in hotels “. For people like me 😁😁😁

Apparently hotels do not fall under that category 🤨🤨🤨 Who knew?? 🤣🤣🤣 I think I misinterpreted that little clause because I am fed up now with not being able to travel, and want to do my walk.

I know there are still Covid related issues, but seriously, the hotels and places like that are taking so many precautions and they are sterilising their premises and following guidelines for masks etc, that I think its quite ridiculous that we can’t yet travel locally. I get all the overseas restrictions and precautions etc, but the virus is invariably spread by close contact in enclosed environments, big crowds, or feckless people not taking precautions, and you’re seldom in close contact in a hotel. Especially the bigger chains.

So yeah, that’s my little whinge 😏😏😏

I have a headache 🤕🤕🥵 Ugh. I had other plans for today. Or maybe I shouldn’t use the word ‘plans’ for the foreseeable future.

Note to self…

I’m now in the process of reworking all my dates, because I have my actual work dates to reschedule as well.

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I guess my previous Walking the River Thames post would count as Stage 1 since that’s when I did more research on the river and the route itself….

In which case, getting it down on paper (so to speak) would be the next stage; Stage 2…and that I have done! Hoorah. I spent nearly all my free time yesterday setting up the spreadsheet, doing further research on the actual walk itself and planning my distances. It’s a good thing it was raining heavily so I didn’t feel guilty about not getting out to walk.

I found 3 amazing websites by people who have walked the Thames Path and written about it, and conveniently also posted images of the walk. The usefulness varies in as much as they say how far they walked each day, approximately how long it took, transport links, but not where they stayed. I also found 2 official websites; the Thames Path is one of 16 National Trails in the UK – they note the trail can be walked over 16 days, so I’m happy with my 19, 1 of which includes the section from Erith to the Thames Barrier.

Planning the distance and number of days has proved to be quite tricky because a lot depends on accommodation available. And it is NOT cheap. So far my estimates are £1300 for 19 days. I could do 2 caminos in Spain for that!! The accommodation is outrageously expensive and I am going to have to do some further research. I did find some nice places on booking.com and what’s useful about that is you have a decent amount of time, for a small price increase, to cancel if needs be. I’m ever so pragmatic about things like having to cancel trips…because you know… Covid and things like that.

One of the most useful aspects though of walking in the UK is the transport links. Albeit very pricey, if you have any accidents it’s easy enough to get home. Also there are numerous little towns along the route, so I won’t have to carry my weight in water…LOL I remember in Spain the constant daily fear of running out of water… although it only happened once and I managed to convey my need for “aqua por favor” to a delightful little old Spanish couple, who reprimanded me soundly…although I didn’t understand a word they said, their tone and expressions made it very clear 🙂 But they filled up my bottle. It was one of those days when it was scorching hot and I sent my water bladder ahead with my backpack by accident…

So the spreadsheet is up, the dates/days are estimated, the travel costs are determined, the food costs will be like I did on the camino….I existed on fruit and sandwiches and occasional bowls of soup or omelettes, and the accommodation has been identified and priced (ouch) and 75% booked. I’ve mostly booked all the places I found via booking.com and then do a further search on airbnb. Either way, I have to make a final decision before month end on dates etc.

Also, besides the 1st stage from Erith to the Thames Barrier planned for 21/03, I’m also going to do stages 2 & 3 on separate days; namely 15/04 & 18/04 and travel back home. It will be cheaper than overnight stays and means I can take a few days break between each stage before the big push which will begin from Hampton Court on 24th. I’m also planning on spending the day in Hampton Court and hopefully meeting up with my family and visiting the palace on the 23rd.

Of course, like all plans, it is subject to change, but once I make the bookings, that’s it…..Cindy travels again. I’m really excited about this walk and also a little trepidatious because my body is 2 years older since I finished the Pilgrim’s Way (talking of which, I really need to finish those posts!!) and not as robust as it was 4 years ago when I walked the Camino. I haven’t hoisted my backpack onto my back for nearly 2 years!!! I think I’m going to travel light!! LOL

Be that as it may, I shall keep walking as long as I have life in me old legs. So I’ve listed the websites below that I discovered in the event they are of interest to you dear reader.

  1. I enjoyed reading about Jason’s journey, although he started at the source, and I was excited to discover someone else who had walked the Saxon Shore Way https://www.macadder.net/walking/thames_path/stage01.html
    He also mentions Offa’s Dyke and The Fosse Way, both of which I’m interested in. Jason does mention the distance walked and his figures more or less correlate to mine…whew! I’m looking forward to reading all his other days; 13 in all. I was well impressed to note that he has done 28 walks!! That’s quite extraordinary. A couple of them are familiar to me, and a few piqued my interest. I guess I’ll just have to add them to the list LOL I mean who wouldn’t want to do the 1066 Country Walk, or St Swithun’s Way, St Michael’s Way or the Strawberry Line Path (I so love this one) – anyone say ‘cheese’?

2. Then there’s Brian’s Walks – he appears to have walked the same direction as which I am going to; from sea to source. http://www.brians-walks.co.uk/thames-path-cricklade-to-kemble.html Brian did this walk over 9 days so I suspect he put in some serious distances each day; as in roughly 35kms…which I do not plan to do. My maximum distance before it gets unbearable is 28kms, and I only have 2 days when I will walk that distance. His blog is amazing in that he lists his daily statistics (of which I shall make careful note).

3. With this site I was unable to find a name (perhaps as I read further I may discover it) but I loved the name of the blog http://www.tamesis-fluvius.co.uk/index.php I was highly amused by his comment “During the course of the two weeks, I took well in excess of two thousand photographs and a selection of them are included on each page“. Oh my goddess, if that doesn’t sound like a kindred spirit then I don’t know what does. 🤣🤣🤣 I am a demon when it comes to taking photos and I invariably only share possibly 5% of the photos I take on each walk. They did the walk over 15 days, so my already 19 days is not too bad.

I also stumbled upon what appears to be an ‘official’ website. https://www.thames-path.org.uk/thames_cricklade_source.html I found quite a lot of useful information here as well as transport links….especially for the upper reaches of the Thames near the source.

The National Trail website lists all trails in the UK and if I had enough time and money, I’d do them all…don’t you just love what they have to say about the Thames Path – it sounds so romantic…

“The Thames Path is a long distance walking trail, following England’s best known river for 184 miles (294 Km) as it meanders from its source in the Cotswolds through several rural counties and on into the heart of London. On its way the Trail passes peaceful water meadows rich in wildlife, historic towns and cities and many lovely villages, finishing at the Thames Barrier in Woolwich just a few miles from the sea”.

Can I go now please ☺☺☺

I’ll be following the Cabot Trail virtual challenge while walking the Thames Path coz its very conveniently 299.4kms which is almost the same distance…although I’m sure my kms will be more than what they suggest it is…294kms.

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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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