Tim’s Thames Trek Blog

35 thoughts on “Tim’s Thames Trek Blog”

  1. Saturday 9th.
    Good news – I have completed the Challenge. I arrived at Teddington Lock just after midday. I passed 4000 or more (truthfully) walkers out on the Thames Path today. It was an event organised to enable people to support their own chosen charity. There were no end of Tee shirts with the names of many well known charities. The weather was perfect in the morning but we had a very heavy thunder storm at about three o’clock – how those walkers got on, I don’t think I will ever know! Dave and I are now planning to go on to the centre of London in the boat. To do this we needed to go several miles on the tidal water to Brentford to get back onto the canal system. Because of the times of the tides we had the option of moving on this afternoon or very early tomorrow morning. I was hoping for a lie in tomorrow, so the decision was made to move on this afternoon and we are now moored up in Brentford. Dave has never done the boat trip to central London before, so is looking forward to the experience – for me it will be a rest!
    I hope you have all enjoyed reading my “Blog”. Obviously there is a lot more to talk about and a lot more stories to tell, but I really would like to thank everyone who has supported and encouraged me throughout this Challenge. What will I do or attempt next year? Don’t ask.

  2. Friday 8th. Well here I am again. The weather forecast was wrong – it did rain in the morning, but it was neither heavy nor lasted long, and during much of the afternoon it has been lovely and sunny. The day off could hardly be justified on that score, but I believe both Dave and I deserve a rest. We very much enjoyed our visit to the Palace and gardens. We also had an excellent lunch in the Cafe as well as Tea & Cake later on. As I write, Dave has walked off up the river to have a look at the house boats. While I walk I can see these things, but Dave can miss them because he has a job to do concentrating on navigating the boat.
    Tomorrow as ever is, I will walk the last few miles and we will get to Teddington. Yes, in our own way we will celebrate – how, at this moment, I do not know, but celebrate we will.

  3. Alan Wolstencroft

    Tim – great to talk to you on the phone & all at the Early Bird Supper enjoyed the conversation. Also £86 from the raffle has been donated to Tims Trek fund.
    Have a good visit to the Palace tomorrow

  4. Thursday 7th. Well its been a good day and I have reached Hampton Court Palace. Dave has managed to find a slot on this excellent mooring just outside the Palace grounds. We could not be nearer for a visit tomorrow. If I read the weather forecast correctly, tomorrow could be a really wet day with thunder!. Do I want to walk in that sort of rain? Certainly not, so a day off (the first) could be the best option, and I think Dave and I could enjoy a look round the Palace.
    We now feel we have arrived in London and Hampton Court is classified as in “Greater London”.. As I walked along the Thames Path today, I could see a change in the appearance of things, the houses, shabby boats, a modern block of flats and a council housing estate – all a bit down market, especially after what we have experienced over the last few days. Perhaps I am being a bit unfair, after all Hampton Court itself is very grand, and I know there are a lot more interesting places and things to see down the river. Its only 4 miles to Teddington Lock and I should be able to walk that in no more than 2 hours from here. Exactly when I finally get to Teddington is still uncertain, controlled by circunstances and in particular the weather. But it can’t be long now!

  5. Alan Wolstencroft

    Good to chat to you on the phone today and great to hear that you made good progress today and the finishing line is getting ever closer. Have a good day tomorrow

  6. Wednesday 6th. The day started dull but dry and things improved as the day went on – it is now a lovely sunny evening. I set off as usual to walk the 6.5 miles to a lovely mooring on the East side of Chertsey and not far from Shepperton. The area is full of waterfront houses, many are quite smart, but not as large and opulent as those we saw in and around Maidenhead and Henley. However they are very expensive – we have been looking on the internet for prices. Its all about how the other half live! It is just about 7 miles to Hampton Court where I hope we can get to by tomorrow evening. We could stay there on Friday and take the opportunity to visit the Palace and Gardens. After that, and for our last day, we only have 4 miles left to get to the finish at Teddington Lock. Written down like that it all sounds easy – may be not, but the feeling of satisfaction is good.

  7. Tuesday 5th. The weather again did not look promising this morning. We listened to the local forecast and it said heavy rain between 10 and 11, brighter and only a little light rain thereafter. So a decision was made to start walking at 11. Very soon I was walking through Windsor Great Park along the riverside. Its all beautifully kept and you get a wonderful view of the Castle. That section is part of the Royal property but freely open to the public.Then they make you take a bridge over the river to the the other side, to keep people out of the private section of the park and the Royal farms. The path deteriorates markedly and I found myself pushing through overgrown nettles! Never mind it soon improved and I walked on to Runnymede which is just outside Egham. Dave found an excellent mooring – a good long stretch and plenty of space. Its quiet except for the aeroplanes coming and going from Heathrow – they stop at night anyway. Dave enjoys spotting them and the various makes, numbers.and carriers. More of the same tomorrow – steadily moving towards our goal.

  8. Alan Wolstencroft

    Tim – sounds like an interesting day & once again good progress. At this rate you will be ready to start your “lap of honour” before the weekend !! I am going to circulate the sponsor board again this Friday to get some extra support for you.

  9. Monday 4th. Not such a nice start today – It was raining and looked as if it would continue for the whole day. I wrapped up in my waterproofs and set off determined at least to get to Windsor. Within minutes the rain stopped and I got really hot, so the waterproofs came off and were packed away in my haversack to remain there for the rest of the day. I passed a number of beautiful houses and had to walk through a number of lovely gardens. Much of the rest of the walk was trough the woodlands that border the river. For our lunch break, Dave found a good mooring at Boveney which is just at the East end of Dorney Lake. There was also an interesting little old Church here, with a wooden tower, all on its own beside the river – I will have to see if I can find out more about it. For our night stop, Dave found a mooring on the north bank of the river, in a field at Eton where we get a wonderful view of Windsor Castle. Today I covered another 7 miles. We have been into Windsor and had a look round as well as taking the opportunity to sit down and enjoy a cup of tea and a special cake. We are now very near the end of the challenge. I have been looking at the map and it seems that we should get to Runnymede or Egham tomorrow, Chertsey or Weybridge on Wednesday,and Hampton Court on Thursday, and then it is only just over 4 miles to Teddibgton. Yes, I know things can go wrong but I now sense the pressure is off. Its a good feeling.

  10. Alan Wolstencroft

    Tim – good to hear that you made it to Maidenhead. Well done on another good day, despite the weather, and good luck for the next few days

  11. Tim. – You’re amazing – making such an ambitious project sound like a stroll in the park. Hope the sun manages to smile on you for at least some of the remaining miles 🙂

  12. Alan Wolstencroft

    Tim – Great to walk with you until lunchtime today & I hope you are now re-united with Dave & the boat. Looking forward to reading how far you got this afternoon. Keep on Trekking !!


  13. Sunday 3rd. Well, this has turned out to be the first wet day for ages.The morning started dull and not that warm. By late morning there was a little light rain and as the day went on it became heavier. This morning Alan Wolstencroft, Paul & Jenny Gardiner, and Malcolm Dibb came to visit and accompanied me walking from Marlow to Cookham where we all enjoyed an excellent light lunch. Thanks everyone. After a lot of relaxed chatter over our food, we parted and they went by train back to Marlow to pick up their car. Dave made his way to Maidenhead with the boat and found a good spot for the night. I walked on from Cookham and joined Dave there. This walk has taken me from the quiet pasture lands of the Cotswolds, to the City of Oxford famous for its University to the Home Counties and places oozing with ostentatious wealth – motor cars, smart grand houses and even big boas! What next? We are rapidly getting nearer London and I am sure we will experience yet another change. Today I walked about 6.5 miles and doing the same tomorrow I should be in Eton/Windsor by evening. I have been trying to recalculate the distance I have already walked. Surprisingly it appears I have already walked 95 miles which leaves only 31 miles left to do. I have done better than I expected and the finish will be sooner than I have had in mind.

  14. Saturday 2nd. What a wonderful morning. Early morning mist over still water on the river and a clear blue sky. I set off a little early and made good progress to Hurley Lock, about 3.5 miles away. Dave and I had spoken about where to stop for lunch and the night but we were both aware that mooring would be difficult in this area and it was the weekend with continuing good weather, meaning a lot of boats would still be out on the water. There was no Lock Keeper on duty at Hurley but I spoke to a Salter’s man, who told me that Marlow had plenty of moorings, but Bourne End was likely to be impossible and although we might find space at Cookham, it was a fair way further for me to walk. On reflection we decided we would have our lunch at Hurley and move on to Marlow for the night. In the end I walked 5.5 miles, which is not bad. I have now walked over 80 miles since leaving Lechlade. Dave chose a nice spot here in Marlow and we were able to go and do a little shopping as well as find a Cafe for Tea & Cake! Slimming World must never know and I will let you into a secret – I have put on weight during the Walk – I try and convince myself that it is a healthy increase in muscle. Thanks so much to all you Rotarians for supporting me. I now think I might just be able to make it to Teddington.

  15. Friday 1st Sept. Its the first day of Autumn and yet the weather is beautiful, Summer without too much heat, perfect for walking. I set off from Sonning this morning and walked the 5 miles to Henley. Dave found a spot to moor up for lunch on Marsh Meadow, south of the town centre. Like a seaside beach it was full of visitors, children and icecream sellers. I had one of those, I can’t resist an ice on a summer’s day!. After lunch Dave took the boat down river, along the famous Regattar Course to a lovely open spot where we will spend the night. My walk was 8 miles in total today. Neither good nor bad, but I am tired today. I hope it will be early to bed. Just at this moment I can hear Dave snoring – I think he may be feeling like me!
    Tomorrow I will walk to Marlow – 5.5 miles – by lunch time and then try to get to Bourne End or possibly Cookham for our nights stop. Little exceptional seems to happen on this trip. We are however passing through beautiful countryside and enjoying a remarkable spell of weather.

  16. You’re making great progress Tim – you’ll be finished before you know it – keep up the good work!

  17. Thursday 31st. Well the weather can’t make up its own mind. Yesterday was much better than forecast and today was forecast to be good. I set off early at 9.30, although lovely for half an hour it then started to rain. On went my mack but not for long. Yes it was sunshine and showers and that was how it remained most of the day. I had a good walk in the morning doing 6 miles and I met Dave in Reading for our lunch. Fred & Sue Riches rang to see where we were going to be at about 3.30 when they hoped to meet us. There was enough time for me to walk the next 3 miles before 3.30, that would get me to Sonning Lock so that is where we planned to meet. There is a lovely Tea Room at the Lock so we all sat down for a cup and a chat. It was lonely to see them and get the support from our Rotary Club. By the end of the day the weather seems to have settled and the forecast looks good for tomorrow. Where next? I looks as if we could get to Henley for lunch and stop for the night at Hambleden or even a bit further on.

  18. Wednesday 30. Well the weather forecast was wrong! Dave looked at his phone in the morning to see if the weather forecast had changed. Yes, they said it would be dry until lunch time and then rain heavily for only about two hours. I suggested that I would set off at 10 as usual and at least walk as far as Whitchurch. After that we could decide our next move according to the weather. The walk to Whitchurch was very different to the expected. The path veered away from the river and up into some wooded hills. It was an interesting and attractive walk through the trees on a well made path, but in places very hilly and steep rising to 150 feet or more above the river level. A tough walk for the old man, but accomplished without any problems. On his way here Dave rescued a lady who’s boat engine would not run at slow revs. He towed her boat to the moorings on Pangbourne Meadow and we are now tied up alongside one another there, she waiting for the engineer to come out tomorrow. We had our lunch, and the only rain we had was quite light. We decided we would stay here rather than try and move into Reading probably only getting there by late evening. We took the opportunity to walk into Pangbourne, do a little shopping, have a look at the Car Showrooms full of very expensive Bentleys, Aston Martins and anything else that might cost a fortune, and then have a cup of tea and a piece of cake! Even the estate agents had many properties well over the £1,000,000 mark. in their windows. The weather sounds quite good for tomorrow and I plan to walk the 6 miles into Reading in the morning. We will either stop on the eastern side of the town or move as far as Sonning. Today I only walked about 5 miles but I have now walked over 60 in total and am just about at the halfway point. Only one blister and that under control!

  19. Tuesday 29. The weather forecast promised another hot day and that is as it was until 7 o’clock – What for tomorrow, rain with a vengeance? Just as I started out this morning I met a lady who was also walking the Thames Path, younger and walking faster she soon left me behind. Plodding along at my own pace, I arrived in Benson only to meet this Lady again and she said “Oh, so we do actually walk at a similar speed” After she explained that she had stopped for a snack, we both walked together for the rest of the way to Wallingford where Dave was to meet me for our lunch break. It was good to have company and be able to chat. After lunch I set off again hoping that Dave would find a mooring in Moulsford for our overnight stay. As it worked out there was nowhere to stop, so Dave rang me to say he was going on to Cleeve Lock which was another good mile. He also drew a blank at Cleeve so we decided to try Goring which was another mile further on. Even at the substantial moorings in Goring there were a lot of boats and I had to ask two boaters if the would move along a few feet to enable us to get our boat into the gap. One chap was only too pleased to help but the other became aggresive and in the end refused to help. We found ourselves forced to put the boat on a short mooring round on the Weir side of the lock exit, and at the same time rafting up beside another boat. (tied up alongside one another). Peace and harmony now reigns. I walked nearly 11 miles today and it should only be another day to reach Reading which I think is a good halfway point. If the forecast is right and tomorrow turns out to be a really wet day both Dave and I think it might be better to count it as a day of rest and simply stay put here in Goring. Watch this space!

  20. Monday 28. What a beautiful day for the Bank Holiday. The river was full of people and boats. I set off on my walk at 9.45. When Dave arrived at Clifton Lock there was a space to moor up for lunch so we stopped there for an hour or more. I set off again at about 2 and much to my surprise got a telephone call from Andrew McHugh (Chair of our Rotary Club International Committee) saying he and his wife, Nicola, were on the Path at Clifton Hampden Bridge hoping to meet me. A few hundred yards and they were there standing on the Bridge waiting for me. We walked together for the next mile. They walked back to their car and I continued to Days Lock. In all I walked 8 miles today, I am now at least a third of the way to Teddingtom. Tomorrow it looks like lunch in Wallingford and our stop for the night in Moulsford, or if I really push, perhaps Goring. Long may the weather continue like this.

  21. Sunday 27. This morning I walked the 4.5 miles to Abingdon. Some boating friends of the past knocked on the door to say hello – a long chat followed. We then went shopping for Food and essentials. Alan Wolstencroft (our Rotary Club President ) arrived just in time to help carry the shopping to the boat. Alan met Dave and we took some Photos. .Alan and I walked down the Riverside chatting while enjoying the magnificent hot sunny afternoon. Just perfect for a Bank Holiday Weekend! Tomorrow we will try and stop for lunch at Clifton Hampden and the night at Days Lock near Little Wittenham. Progress!

  22. Saturday 26. Up, up and away yet again. I walked the length of Port Meadow, beautiful with the wide open grassland with the Spires of Oxford in the distance. The river works its way through the City passing under railway bridges, past cottages and University Colleges, Salters Boat Yard and the University Boat Houses. All very busy. Yes, another forced detour because of building repairs adjacent to the path, but this time it hardly delayed my progress. We met near Iffley lock for our lunch break. Then I set off again for Sandford where we are stopping for the night. Only about 6 miles today, but planned that way to make the next step to Abingdon a clear run for tomorrow morning. I plan to shop there for some shopping before possibly moving on to Culham. Dave tells me I must mention that he is doing the cooking this evening – bangers and mash with peas and of course, a glass of wine!

  23. Friday 25. Well I have achieved my goal and we are now in Godstow, opposite the Morse Pub -The Trout.. We’ve even been in for a drink! It was a glorious day and I set out with a spring in my step. I finished up walking perhaps as much as ten miles due to a forced detour round the huge residential Caravan site at Bablock Hythe. I met some interesting people including a couple in their seventies walking to the source of the river up in the Cotswolds.

  24. Glad to hear your taking the billboard message to heart Tim. Another 8 miles! Weekend weather outlook good too. North Oxford awaits you – hope you locate a well-deserved hostelry for a goodly repast…

  25. Thursday 24. Another good day. We started out promptly and planned our lunch break at Shifford Lock. Again I managed to walk 8 miles and we have stopped at Northmoor Lock for the night. If things go well tomorrow we will reach North Oxford by evening.
    Bank Holiday weekend is upon us – our neighbours last night were a father and son out on a canoe sleeping in a tent with a real camp fire – a lovely reminder of my youth.

  26. Hi everybody. I had a great send off this morning, Thanks, Fred, Sue and Brendan.. I decided not to be too ambitious on my first day. .Dave took the boat to Kelmscot and I met him there for lunch. We then planned the next move and decided to stop for the night near Rushey Lock where I knew there was a good mooring. I set off walking at 2 and arrived at Rushey at 4.45 – Dave arrived a few minutes later. We traveled 8 miles in all and it all seemed quite easy. The weather was kind, neither hot nor cold and dry – just what I want.

  27. Good morning everybody. Sadly we are going to have to change the date of the start of the walk. My assistant, friend and helper, Dave, has an unexpected visit from his step daughter and her daughter from the States. Quite rightly Dave wants to spend a little time with them, so is now planning on joining me on the 22nd of August, which means the Walk/Trek will now begin on Wednesday the 23rd at 10 am.

  28. Great news Tim. You’ll be pleased to hear news of your trek has already reached Indianapolis! Rotarian Don Henley’s post: “Tim ROCKS!”

  29. Good News. My Walk will now start from Halfpenny Bridge, Lechlade, at 10 in the morning on Tuesday August 15th. Wish me luck and hope all goes to plan. Look here again for any updates.

  30. Tim will soon be starting his Walk on the Thames Path from Lechlade to Teddington in London.(125 miles), and you will be able to follow his progress here.

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