Today was a convenient start as the campsite I was staying at was just across the road. However, I don’t know whether it was the thought of the forecast heat of the day and another relatively long run (18 miles), or 9 continuous days’ running taking their toll, but felt a bit nauseous just before and as I started the run. I tried to drink small sips of the still cool fluid from my bag and to focus on the task in hand. This seemed to do the trick.

The first 3 or so miles were very close to the river along mainly shady paths with trees providing much needed shade from the heat. There was also a slight breeze, which also helped. As I approached Shepperton, there were two choices, either take the Ferry across the water to continue on the path on the other side, or take the alternative route completely on dry land. I was tempted by the former, but it seemed an inauthentic choice to make, so I opted for the latter, which unfortunately took me inland for a bit, around the closed gates of the private sailing club that would have kept me closer to the river and then through Shepperton itself, before reverting down a wooded area back to the river.

This seemed straight-forward for a while, until I lost the path through the wood and ended up at a dead end. I had to retrace some of my steps back up, to join a road than went around the top of the wood and through a village called Halliford, where there were many closed gates to private residences and an inaccessible meadow, denying any access. The road eventully joined the Thames at the end of the road, where I had to cross the quite spectacular modern Walton bridge. This was quite a significant point in the route, as I knew that from then on the path would keep close to the river until Richmond.

The bridge as its name suggests, takes you to Walton-on-Thames on the other side. This stretches quite far along the river, along tree-lined paths, for at least 3 miles, until the Water Treatment Works, which are alongside Moseley Reservoir and Nature Reserve. Sadly, I couldn’t catch a glimpse of the latter, which from my satellite view, look pretty amazing and worth a return visit.

Trees continued to line my path for a short while until I reached Hurst Park and Meadows, which opened out into the heat of the sun. By this time I was eager to reach Hampton Court Bridge, another significant point in my journey at around 11 miles and a route I know well. I was aware of a niggling lower back pain, every time I stopped and I was starting to wonder whether I would make it all the way to Richmond, but I crossed Hampton Court Bridge, when I reached it and persevered with my journey. The 3 mile stretch to Kingston Bridge would normally be a realtively easy run on flattish ground, directly alongside the river. It’s a bit more exposed, but also has areas of shade. Today, at mile 11-14, it seemed somewhat more arduous.

I tried to keep my energy levels up by downing a sports gel and an energy bar, but it’s difficult with the former not to get the sticky fluid all over your hands and I find it difficult to eat anything solid whilst running. Both are necessary however.

After crossing the bridge at Kingston, I knew I only had about 4 more miles to go. After a very short stretch along a road beside the river, the path is woody and tree-lined until Teddington lock and Weir, and then re-entered the welcome shade of a tree-lined path again. Every now and then I found a spot to dip my running cap into the river, to cool me down, a stragetegy I have found very helpful these last few warm days. The last stretch wound its way  past Ham House and Gardens, though of course you can’t really see them from the path. From this point I really knew I didn’t have much further to go. The path opened through Petersham Meadows at mile 17, which meant only a mile to go!

As The river looped a bit to the left, I saw Richmond Bridge in the distance and a number of outdoor cafes that I knew would provide welcome relief once I had stopped. Tomorrow’s run to Waterloo will continue familar territory, for a very welcome shorter distance of about 15 miles. The warm weather however, is set to continue…




Feeling pretty exhausted after what turned out to be a 22 mile run! I knew it was going to be close to that so it wasn’t surprising, but the last couple of miles seemed relentless!

Overall, it was a good run, though, much easier than yesterday’s, despite the longer length. For one, it was cooler, with a light breeze and much of the journey was on shaded paths with trees both sides, or in woodland. It made a huge difference.

The first part out of Cookham was a diversion inland for about a mile. I had thought I could use an alternative path, closer to the river, but this turned out to be the ground of a private club. I wasn’t too fussed, as the route led me through cool woodland and I was soon back on the banks of the river. The next couple of miles toward Maidenhead were straight forward, first through green fields and woodland, and then alongside a main road. As I entered Maidenhead itself, I had to cross over the Bridge to the other side, where there was busy traffic and I was pleased to finally make it over and continue my journey. Up to this point the run felt steady and not too difficult, but I found passers by very unfriendly- not a word in return to any ‘good morning’ I proffered. How rude!

The path after the crossing at Maidenhead Bridge, was on quite a hard road, slightly away from the river, behind private gardens, but soon wove its way though trees for quite a while, until I reached the section at around 6 miles, where Dorney Lake runs parallel to the river, although you wouldn’t know it. Dorney lake, for those that don’t know, is a purpose built rowing lake that is privately owned and financed by Eton College, so even if I had wanted to, I wouldn’t have been able to gain access.  It must be over a mile long, and I managed to catch a glimpse through some trees after mile 7.

I passed a small open chapel on my left whch seemed intriguig and which I now know to be the Chapel of st Mary Magdalene at Boveney, which is a redundant Chapel, but is distinctive for its wooden spire. At Boveney lock I asked elderly man on his bike if you could pass through by the lock and he asked me what i was doing. I told him and he said he thought I looked like a police woman with all my gadgets- no wonder people have been looking at me strangely.

Following that, the path continued through more trees and then open pastures which were directly opposite Windsor racecourse on the other side. I crossed more open meadows and some woodland, before reaching Eton, where I had to cross through the town and bridge back to the other side into Windsor territory. The view of Windsor castle ahead of me,  was spectacular, as I approached and it was also the half way point!

I had thought I could follow an alternative route closer to the river about a mile further on , which would save crossing over again. However, after a short diversion due to some unannounced construction works, I realised that the alternative route was the grounds of Windsor Castle, so a no go area for the likes of me. The official Thames path, was not unpleasant and wound its way through a leafy route where you could see across to the other side. There was a short diversion before reaching Albert Bridge (presumably named after the Royal), where I had to cross back again to the other side. I was still feeling okay, though starting to flag a little, as I approached mile 15.

It must have been tiredness that made me a little less careful in picking up my feet and I fell over. Luckily, it was only superficial and nothing was damaged- (a slightly sore knee and the clip holding my mobile phone that was live streaming to Facebook falling out). I dusted myself off and reattached my phone before continuing. I knew it wasn’t too long before I would reach Staines bridge, where I was due to cross over again, but it seemed interminable.

Before that, I passed through Runnymede, home of the Magna Carta. The town is quite sprawling and stretches some distance,  initially through a quite green approach, where there were people parked up to enjoy the riverside, and then through the Pleasure Ground, a boatyard, riverside cottages and the grand-looking Runnymede Hotel and Spa, where I initially thught I might stay, had I done this pre-Covid. It is right next to Runnymede bridge, which is also the M25 London Orbital, so it is perhaps just as well. Instead, I ran underneath this double bridge, as I tried to get closer to the bridge I wanted to cross at Staines. What was less than a mile seemed much longer.

This last stretch was the home straight to my stopping point in Laleham. By this point I had really started to reach the end of the road literally. I was tired and couldn’t see an end to it. I spotted what I thought was my partner in the distance, and as I approached he disappeared. I started to think I was seeing a mirage. However, a voice from behind called me and confirmed it was indeed him, come to encourage me in my final steps. It was appreciated but did little make the last few strides any easier, as what i thought was about half a mile, turned into over a mile. Finally, I arrived at the stopping point at South Laleham, where I will resume my Journey to Richmond tomorrow. In the meantime, I am sleeping at the Camping and Caravan Club opposite.


At the end of Day 7 and at 121.87 miles, I’m at the half way point. This time next week and I’ll be done! Amazingly I don’t feel too worse for wear, which is just as well. I do feel pretty tired tonight though, so this may be a struggle.

The miles would have been slightly less had I not left my tracker on last night as I walked to the campsite in Henley and had I not had to make two unnecessary detours today, which made what should have been a much shorter run, 3 miles longer (more about that later).

The weather looked like it would be cooler, with rain only forecast in the afternoon, which would have been almost ideal conditions for running. However, it turened out be alot muggier and warmer than antcipated, with no breeze to speak of. From the off it was going to be struggle, but as I was anticipating a shorter run I wasn’t too worried.

I enjoyed the first few miles out of Henley that kept close to the river. I was competing somewhat with rowing trainers on bikes coming towards me, shouting instructions through megaphones to rowers across river, but it was a good sight to experience.

At about mile 3 there was a diversion inland, which I had known about and I dutifully followed the Thames Path sign, as from what I had seen on the map it wasn’t going to be too long. Not seeing a sign to tell me otherwise, I continued and continued, through the village of Aston, where the road seemed to get longer and steeper. This didn’t seem right, but with nothing to tell me otherwise I continued. As I reached the end of the road and a junction onto the main road at the top, there were still no signs. The tracker on my wrist showed a steep incline moving further away from the river. I checked the paper map I had with me and could see I had gone about a mile further north than I should have. I couldn’t undertand where I had gone wrong. I asked a passing cyclist who confirmed I had indeed bypassed the turning, He also mentioned that the path went through private land and that the landowner didn’t like the public using it, so may have concealed the Thames path sign. I was still convinced I may have missed something and as I wound my way back down the road, I tried to look out for it. Luckily the instructions I had been given were very clear, as there was no Thames path sign to be seen, until I had turned into what looked like a private driveway with a blue sign for a cricket club, where a path to the left with a Thames Path sign appeared. this wouldn’t have been visible from the road.

It made me really angry to think that someone’s selfish actions had added a extra 2 miles to my route. I also thought it reckless and dangerous more generally as anyone planning a run or walk would have prepared for a shorter distance and could get lost. That said, the path through the estate was beautiful , though slightly marred by the numerous unnecessary signs that reminded people to keep to the path. I was relieved to find the river again at the bottom, where the path continued close to it across green pastures for another couple of miles to Hurley Riverside Park and Hurley lock that is part of a series of small islands in the middle of the river. Not much further on was another spectacular crossing at Temple lock that took me across weirs to get to the other side, where the Thames Path continued close to the river’s edge onto Marlow. About a mile before this I noticed a distinctive old church on the edge of other side of the bank at Bisham. This was All Saints Church, which dates back to the 12th century.

As I approached Marlow, the path got busier in both directions, obviously a popular place. The first part of the approach goes through a couple of green parks and then takes you into the town itself, which is very pretty and also known for a 19th Century suspension bridge. i was diverted inland underneath it, where initially the signs were quite clear, until they disappeared. I was taken round the back of the church, where I should have been able to rejoin the river shortly afterwards. However, as before the signs were nowhere to be seen and I kept seeing ‘private no access’ sign near exclusive properties. Eventually as I started to wonder where I was going, I asked  someone with a small boy, who seemed local, if he knew where I could rejoin the path.

Luckily he gave me a number of possibilities, but it was a familar story of going down a private road that led to an accessible path that rejoined the river. Another unnecesary detour. From here the route stuck close t the river along woodland and meadows, before it reached the railway and then a crossing at Bourne End. This last mile as I approached Cookham seemed to go very quckly. I could see the bridge ahead of me , which gave me a focus point and I was intending to stop close to it. The Ferry pub was just as good a place as any and across the road from the Church, where the artist Stanley Spencer is buried.

Tomorrow’s run is another long one to Laleham.


Today was another long stretch, which I was feeling a little nervous about, given that the weather was set to be warm again. However, I had had good sleep and  breakfast. Having already exprienced a similar distance on day 3, I was also better prepared. Following that run in the heat a few days before, I invested in a breathable running cap, which I had found in a camping shop on the site I had stayed in that night. It made a huge difference. I also think that my body is starting to get used to this. During the run, I found that if i dipped the cap into the river every now and then and put back onto my head, it really cooled me down. It also keeps the sun off my face very well, which was just as well as a few minutes into the run I realised that I had forgotten my sunglasses.

The first stretch from the bridge at Goring led me through shaded paths immediately next to the river for amost 3 miles, before there was a detour inland. I’m not really sure why. On the map this area has the name River Lane Plantation, which suggests it is some kind of farm. Although the detour was frustrating, it did take me through some woods, which was pleasant and provided much-needed shade. The terrain was however, quite undulating , with some steep slopes that mountain bikers would enjoy, but I decided that I didn’t want to waste too much energy this early trying to run up them. I kept that for the flat and downhill parts. As I neared Whitchurch-on-Thames, I noticed a long fence bordering the blocked off area- just to reinforce the fact that this was not to be entered. Was that really necessary?

To rejoin the river, the path went through the main street in Whitchurch on Thames, where it crossed the bridge over to Pangbourne on the other side. It was a bit confusing , exactly where the path continued, as signs were few. I took a guess at Panbourne meadows, which adjoined the river in the right direction. This section was quite open for a couple of miles until Mapledurham, where there was nother diversion inland. I had tried to find an alternative route, closer to the river, but it was mainly the marina, railway and housing developments that blocked a ossible route through.

This was quite a big detour that took you round all of these and which seemed to go on for ever. Eventually, a path a private wood took me back down to the river again as the path followed alongside the railwayline to Tilehurst and then the north edge of Reading. By this time I was nearing 12 miles and past half way is always a good point to reach. The next stretch went through Thames Valley Park Nature Reserve, which was beautifully green and borders Caversham and the Redgrave Pinsent Rowing Lakes on the other side, although I couldn’t see that far. A recreation park was full of activity as I approached Sonning, where I had to cross over the beautiful double bridge at Sonning Mill to the other side.

It was a this point I saw a sign for 3 miles to Shiplake and I started to feel much closer to my destination. I was impressed to see Shiplake School allow access right through right by the river. I had almost reached Shiplake itself, around new section of the path that takes you much closer to the river, when I realised I hadn’t been paying attention to the mobile phone on my left arm that is my live tracker and its battery was nearly drained. I thought I had caught it in time and plugged it into one of the battery packs that I carry on me and it seemed to do the trik for a short while before going completely dead. After much frustration and swearing I realised i could run the tracker from the same mobile phone I was using to live stream from Facebook. It wasa bit awkward, but it was better than nothing. At least I could continue the live track, but it was somewhat distracted me from the last part of the run.

This diverted back inland into Shiplake to avoid the railway and then at the back of some very grand houses and the Bolney Estate. After that, it was a short stretch through more green fields and an amazing double bridge crossing at marsh Lock and Weir before reaching Henley. This was distinctive in the flow of people in the park that leads on to the main path to the Bridge. This seemed to go on for ever, as the last mile always does and I was glad to see an ice cream van in the distance once I had stopped.

Overall, apart from the frustrations with technology, this was not a bad day at all and far better than I had expected. Tomorrow, I am pleased to say, will be a shorter run.




Today’s run was quite mixed. I didn’t sleep too well, due to an evening coffee and muscle twinges in my feet, and woke up to light rain. The latter wasn’t entirely surprising as it had been forecast for the previous two days. I don’t mind light rain and it can be very refreshing to run in; what I don’t want is a deluge and no chance of getting dry. Luckily, it was more of the former, though fairly persistent. By the time I reached my destination, I was wet through.

It’s always difficult to dress for the rain, especially if you are wearing various gadgets on your body- you either have to put the rain jacket on first and the gadgetry over the top and hope that you don’t get too hot, or you put on the gadgets first and in the event of rain, the jacket over the top, leaving most of it undone , so as not to interfere with the devices, which renders it competely ineffective for the rain. I opted for the former. The temperature had cooled somewhat and I have a light waterproof trail running jacket that is breathable, so I figured it wouldn’t get hot with only a light teeshirt underneath it and it offered me the best protection,

The first 2 miles or so, were quite easy; the paths were quite soft on grassy land and kept close to the river’s edge. Just before mile 3 I had to cross a lock to the other side, which continued along grassy banks for about a mile and a half, until I had to divert up to a busy road, just after mile 4. I’m not sure why this was- I had thought about following an alternative footpath that appeared to continue for bit along the river, but on closer inspection, there would have been small water rivulets to cross. ther was also a farm, so I took it that these were the reasons for the diversion, which ended at Shillingford.

The path continued for the next couple of miles through glady paths and back close to the river, before there was another diversion, close to a marina and waterfront cafe. It was a little confusing, as the directions here weren’t terribly clear, but I managed to find my way through and back to the river, to cross the spectacular Benson Lock, which took me to the other side again. This was about half way, which is always a good point to reach as I can start counting down the miles..

The route kept close to the river again for the next mile, until Wallingford, where another diversion took me inland. There seemed to be no particular good reason for this other than this is clearly a well to do town with large houses bordering the river, but whose owners won’t allow public access. This kind of thing really bothers me as these people don’t own the river and access to it should be for all. The diversion however, did take me past a very old church, which I believe has some significance.

The diversion was quite short so i was soon by the river again. The rain had softened the ground, wheich made it much easier to run on as I started to tire.  I saw a sign for Moulsford, which I knew was only a couple of miles from my destination. Much of this part runs through Cholsey Nature reserve.  What I had forgotten was that once past this, there would be another diversion, first around the perimeter of Moulsford Prep School (why they can’t grant public access by the river I don’t know) and then again, some large properties that think they own the part of the Thames their property adjoins. They don’t. This diversion was for a good mile and a half, which did not please me greatly.

The last section was thankfully back close to the river. I spotted Goring Rowing Club on the other side, which meant i must be approaching my destination, but it was a good mile and a half, via another diversion around a lock, before a reached the bridge that separates Goring and Streatley from one another. I could have stopped as I came out onto Streatley high street, but I decided to cross the double bridge that takes you into Goring, where the Thames path continues. this will be my starting point tomorrow.