The walkers for this stage have become keen weather watchers and we managed to pick a very pleasant mid-February day. Considerable warmer (by 5 degrees) than the last walk and no wind to speak of. We set off in good time, we had allowed for 6 hours plus to walk this section, as it is 16 miles long and our longest section in the whole project. The going was wet and a little slippy in places but nowhere near as waterlogged as stage 2, so we were able to keep to a fair pace.
According to Salters’ at St John’s Bridge and lock ‘the telephone may be used by the public upon application to the lock-keeper’. Well a hundred years later we are all carrying our own phones and those of the more fool hardy amongst the group were using them to track the route we are taking and the miles left to go. This is very battery draining. I always switch my phone off on the walks in order to have enough battery to make an emergency call if needs be. Having switched it off I forgot to take many photographs. Although it is very pleasant along this stretch, it was mainly river and meadow and blue skies. I also carry the Ordinance Survey Map with our route carefully mapped out in neon highlighter. Oh, the joys of being the responsible adult!
The route is the best so far, there are some very nicely spaced roads intersecting the Thames pathway where we were meet by the support driver (a mum this time). There are a number of lovely pub gardens on route too where for the price of the glasses of coke and lemonade, eating GORP as we sat in the winter sunshine resting at three uneven quarter marks. Equally as important - toilets!
When we finally made it to the Rose Revived at Newbridge it was just before teatime and we eat a much-needed hot meal in the pub. Over dinner, the mum asked me if was I not fed up the inane teenage chatter. Well, let me think about that!
We started out talking about the sign we saw at the bridge, a sign that we missed in the failing light of the last walk which stated that we were ten walking days away from London. This generated an interesting talk about how privileged we were being able to drive in warm comfortable vehicles with radios and Wi-Fi! This developed into a conversation about traveling in horse boxes and then by horse to a conversation out Equine Flu and the measures being put in place to protect the horse, as three of the group came from different stables. Somebody asked for help with some of their words in their spelling list and somebody else wanted an audience for the oral story they have been learning. Some words in the spelling list (miscreant, misdemeanours, maleficent) lead to a political debate about Donald Trump and his leadership style. From there we somehow went on to Chris Packham’s efforts to change the laws to protect British wild life, which lead on to the school pupils strike and the demonstrations planned outside the House of Parliament taking place this Friday. By the half way mark, they fell in to companion silence as we covered the miles. During the final stage, to keep ourselves amused, we told Fortunately/Unfortunately stories.
So, no I don’t think so!