Fifteenth Stage of the Thames Walk
The final stage of the walk, we had originally planned, was from Tower Bridge to the Thames Barrier. We had been warned that the area was ‘rough’ and so two dads volunteered to walk with the group today and I drove the support vehicle. We were advised the best route was a quick 6-mile march from point A to point B. Apart from one encounter of a person under the influence we need not have worried. However, there were objections to this route, as it was basically along a high street and away from the river.
Given the weather, they may have wished they had opted for that shorter route but instead they stuck as close to the river as they could and covered approximately 11 miles instead. Unfortunately, a lot of that was in the rain. Therefore, the joys of Bermondsey, Rotherhithe and Deptford were lost upon them as they pulled the umbrellas down low and the hoods of their coats even lower.
It was pointed out, this was our 15th walk along the River Thames, we were walking in Autumn and given that we had managed to walk from the source in winter, through a very wet spring and a stormy summer we had done extremely well only to get wet on this one walk. Never-the-less spirits were high as we regrouped at the Cutty Sark for hot chocolates, treats and the sun coming out.
The rain came down hard again as they circumnavigated the North Greenwich and the O2. I felt really guilt sitting in the dry warm car waiting for them. My car carries two blankets for emergencies and the two youngest, now somewhat cold and wet, opted for dumping their coats in the boot and huddling on the back seat of the car, wrapped in the blankets and a ride to the end point.
The weather abruptly turned back to sun and the last section was warm and humid walking. I parked up at the Barrier information centre and walked back to meet them with the two - who had now warmed up and the driver of the second support car who had also made it to the carpark to help us get home.
As we celebrated the ending of this section, talk turned to what we were going to do about getting to the end of the river. This conversation was sparked off by the very interesting mural in the passage under the optional station the route takes.
It looks like there will be a Stage 16 and we will be exploring the area around Sheerness and the Isle of Sheppey, with some project work on the Dartford Tunnel and Gravesend.