Thames Path Challenge. Tick.

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We did it! 31 miles of the Thames Path in 13hr 48 minutes with breaks, or 11hr 11 minutes of walking.  See the gallery below for the photos I managed to take.

Thank you each and every person who sponsored us, supported, encouraged and prayed for us. You all rock and between you raised almost £800 (so far, inc Gift Aid) for Cardiac Risk in the Young in memory of my late bestie – James.

Whinge warning

It’s been a hell of a challenge. We signed up to do the Thames Path Challenge exactly a year ago and trained our socks off, to the detriment of seeing friends and family – sorry! We’re back now. I think we got over 200 training miles under our belts, but nothing, nothing really prepared us for the 50km.

It was bloody hard and bloody fun.

I think my lowest moments were the 8km after the half way mark which I’d had in my head would be good because it was the shortest section between two stops, but no.  Walking in the dark wasn’t, by itself as hard as I thought it was going to be, but 44-49km were bad. My legs had turned to lead and I developed an agonising pain in my left foot which sent shooting pains up my leg with every step. My rucksack, which has never caused me any issues was digging into my collar bone and my left shoulder blade for the last 20km. We’d both been bitten by bugs and Rob nearly look my eye out with his walking pole swiping midges.  It rained, nowhere near as much as the forecast said it would, and in parts the rain was a welcome cooling spray but still soggy.  I had to change my socks after 10km because of sore spots but managed no blisters, either of us. When we got home, Rob staggered into the bath and I hopped straight into bed and was overtaken by the shakes for half an hour – not pleasant!

Random lovely people

As we expected, the camaraderie walking with a group was fab, although there were long stints, especially at the end when we were on our own. A man carrying his daughter on his shoulders was clearly out just to chivvy us all along; she’d bought flags to wave. A woman called out of her window at Penton Hook just to ask if we were heading for Runnymede and to encourage us that it wasn’t far now.

Then there was the woman in Richmond, waiting for her friends to trek past. But she stopped us and asked what charity we were walking for and why, and when I told her I got all upset for the next few km but I held on to that memory for the walk – kept me going.

Less random were our faves Rachel and Phil who were our support team. Thank you lovelies – especially for my turkish delight and clean trousers!

Rob’s pretty cool

I would love to just say how flipping brilliant Rob has been through this whole thing. I totally talked him into it, but once convinced he’s been the driving force and to say he is the ‘glass half full’ guy is putting it mildly. On a training walk between Abingdon and Goring when I sat on a bench and cried, he gently got me walking. My gentle-man.

And on Saturday, he never once got grumpy. He was exhausted, he hurt, but he just kept plodding. When we got home he was able to RUN up the stairs to our flat which, to my amusement, turned out to be adrenaline – because he’s been hobbling round the house ever since. But he made me laugh, apart from the pole in the eye thing. Love you Bobbert.

Next

So that’s that done. We’ve now down 125 miles ish of the 184miles of the Thames Path. We might have a teeny break before finishing it off mind you.

If you’d like to put some money in the pot for CRY click here 🙂

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Thames Path: Windsor to Staines

coffeeEvery good walking day should start with a review of the route and a humungous cup of coffee.

We parked at Windsor Riverside & Eton station – £4 all day on a Saturday and a 2 minute walk from the town centre – bargain!

We then bimbled up into Windsor to grab breakfast and then easily began the walk as the Path runs straight through the town.

home park and castle

View across Home Park to Windsor Castle

This stretch of the path is truly lovely, even under the flight path to Heathrow. It wanders through Hope Park across which there are great views of indsor Castle. The river meanders west and  the trail swaps bank a couple of times as you cross the Victoria and Albert bridges.

My urbanite husband was amused at just how rural the route felt given its proximity to London, Heathrow and the M25, under which you pass. The path was overgrown in places, but still very well signposted.

A highlight and potential detour is at Runnymede, and National Trust historic site where the Magna Carta was signed and location of a memorial to John F Kennedy. There’s also Runnymede Pleasure Grounds, where we got a long overdue ice cream and chance to sit by the river.

We made it to Staines in about 3 hours (this is an 8 mile stretch – we ate ice creams!) The most difficult part of the day was locating Staines Train station. Ignore the signage in the town, what there is of it, and just ask a local. We then grabbed a train back to Windsor and Eton Railways station, a 15 minute direct service for £4.20 each.

 

Magna Carta Memorial at Runnymede

Magna Carta Memorial at Runnymede

 

Under the M25 bridge

Under the M25 bridge

 

View downstream from Victoria Bridge

View downstream from Victoria Bridge