Friday, April 1, 2016

Day 8 on the Thames Path - Hampton Court to Shepperton

Time to hit the Thames Path once again!  I wasn't sure if I would be walking this path again as I just haven't been walking long distances lately for various reasons.  However the lure of my old friend the Thames was too strong so I decided to take my "happy pills" (one Aleve, one ibuprofin) and go for it.  Right now it's very convenient for me to walk the path as I am in South London two blocks from a railway station that is three stops from Clapham Junction which goes everywhere! 

So this morning about 10 a.m. I found myself back at Hampton Court railway station  - not joining the tourists heading across the bridge to the palace but heading across the street to the river.

Molesey Lock

A beautiful day for a walk and this part of the trail there were lots of walkers..and cyclists....this was leaving East Molesey which is the village opposite Hampton Court Palace. 

It felt so good to be back on the path and I had a spring to my step and a smile on my face.  I mean what's not to love? 

Tagg and Ash islands - if you look carefully you can see a swiss cottage behind and  between the two islands. 

The path ahead...

Former racecourse - now a park

Garrick's temple (dedicated to Shakespeare and built for actor Richard Garrick in 1755) with Hampton church on the left behind the trees.

Hampton church - completed in 1831 with all materials brought in by barge. 

The path was quite mucky at times from recent rain.  This part was actually quite good compared to parts that were quite low and narrow. 

I think benches along a walking path are the best memorial to a person ever....well to those of us who are walkers anyway!

Sunbury Lock

Time for a break at the Weir pub....


And the weir for which the pub is named...

Wheatley's Alt...these chalets were used by bachelors on weekends and holidays back in the late 19th century.  Later women were allowed to join them as long as they left by midnight!  Now they are second homes for families.


In order to cross over the river to Shepperton I had the choice of walking over Walton Bridge or taking a small ferry - well of course I opted for the ferry option!  I rang the bell (with glee I must add) and sat waiting...nothing much happening although luckily I hadn't been waiting long when I spotted a cyclist and asked him if he knew how long the ferry would take to show up.  He pointed out the sign to me...I had taken the easier option for my knees and gone down to the ferry back on the cycle route totally missing this sign.  Let's just say I was not pleased!  This now involved a good half hour walk back to the bridge so I had wasted an hour of my time...and more importantly an hour of my "happy pills" time as well. 

So back to walk over the bridge and do the alternate ending of the walk.  I got a bit misplaced but asked directions and was sent on my way - no more river walking though but a walk through a village.

After over a 9 mile walk I celebrated with a glass of wine at the Red Lion pub which was probably not a good idea...With not much food consumed so far that day nor enough water the wine hit me like a sledgehammer.  I finished drinking all my water (the wine was long gone)  and carefully made my way to the toilets.  I knew I was in for an interesting walk to the train station when I got the shock of my life...a dog driving a car!  I actually commented out loud "wow, a dog is driving that car" until a few seconds later it clicked in..."you're in England Laurie".  No one was around to hear thank goodness.  As I weaved my way along the street a fellow at a bus stop started singing "Moving along, moving along..." as I walked by...coincidence?   All I know is I stopped at a Costa coffee for a flat white to go to try to sober up.  Luckily a girl at the station helped me buy my ticket back to Streatham as I was outside the zone to use my Oyster card (top up card for London transport) and I just couldn't figure it out. (which I have a hard time with sober I must add)  I almost missed the train as well as I stupidly sat and looked at it - I swear to this day I did not hear him announce Clapham Junction in the list of places it was going.  However it was the end of the line and the train sat there for a while until I asked if it was going to Clapham Junction, I was told yes and I muttered something along the lines of "well I never heard that in the announcement"  and heaved myself onto the train arriving back here safe and sound.

Next time I will celebrate with a non alcoholic beverage...and hopefully next time will be SOON!  I thoroughly enjoyed my day on the Thames Path. 

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