Viewing single post of blog Thames Run: Source to Sea

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 askedĀ  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.