We were ferried back to Henley by taxi, actually the taxi rides are great as they help put the walk into context. Marlow looks a very nice small town, lots of interesting shops that i would have loved to have searched…. Bourne End was described by a local in the pub next door as the cheaper and smaller version of Marlow. A number of kiwis live here but we never encountered any.
Back to walking, another glorious day, may they continue for a few more…We asked to be dropped off at Hambelden lock which has an enormous weir. The weirs seem to be getting bigger and the amount of boat traffic today meant that the locks were FULL!
Maybe it was because it was Sunday maybe it was because of Henley, whatever they were chocka. Imagine a lock jammed with the odd narrow boat, several cruisers, a few runabout type boats and jammed into every spare space, kayaks and canoes…No wonder the lock keepers were getting cranky.
Just over Hambelden lock was a nice paddock full of English campers, we are fascinated as to why theycamp right next to the path and actually sit on the path- barmy! Huge amount of room but sit on the path they must.
Just up from the Flowerpot Inn, famous with anglers, was Culham Court, a huge 18th century brick mansion. The real interest here though was a beautiful view down the Thames Valley and a field full of wild flowers. Scabiosa, wild marjoram’ daisies of all types, astilbe etc etc.. Quite lovely, and overhead- yes a small plane doing barrel rolls, so even louder than usual.
Hurley was another attractive spot, but with huge numbers of people wandering about enjoying Sunday and the weather.
We walked on, quite noticeable in our boots and funny hats plus our poles. A few odd comments about ‘no snow here luv’ and similar.
In a paddock beside the river just out of Hurley was a lot of people who were obviously not English, having picnics, kebabs were being cooked on bbq’s and clothing was interesting, just over the next lock and closer to Marlow, the obviously English descendents were picnicing, smells were not so interesting.
Every variety of housing was seen today, from mock castles, to little old cottages including two newly thatched cottages. We even saw a very modern small house on a pontoon.
A famous suspension bridge crosses the river at Marlow, designed by William Tierny Clark and built in 1832, still looked good , even to me.
Just before the bridge there was an artists open home, Jen someone, really good still lifes , hard to carry in a pck. Still huge numbers of people about, but outside of marlow the numbers dwindled as the path got less civilised and back to its usual one foot at a time width. Although still lots of dog walkers, or at times, dogs walking their owners.
We had nibbled our lunch of snickers and apricots but we were a bit light today as we had not been near a supermarket for days, T needed feeding so about 2.30 just out of Bourne End we ended up at the local equivalent of Somerset Cottage or whatever is the pricey nosh house in your area. So, wearing our odd gear we tried to discreetly enter the restaurant, called OTT, well, On The Thames …. We heard the odd person say ‘Oh Australians’ we didn’t mind- they could have us on this occasion. Had a nice chat with the couple at the next table, they had been to NZ, everyone has either been or has a rellie there. Lunch was pretty good and staved off the scurvy for a few more days, 3x as much as the ham/eggs/chips of the night before and i won’t even talk about the cost of the wine. The wine seemed a bit bland after the lovely beer we have been drinking and definitely pricier per ml.
We tottered the last 2 k’s back to our B&B and fell on the bed and slept for an hour. We were surprised at how fast we had walked the 20 odd k’s but it was flat with a decentish path and we had not got lost. Only 3 more walking days to go.
Dogs- we have seen every variety of dog imaginable, good dogs, bad dogs, snarling dogs- a large alsation tied to a narrow boat would have liked a piece of us-whitye dogs, brown dogs, etc etc, suffice to say , enough dogs! There is a very nasty thing some people do, tie their plastic bag of dog poo to a tree and leave it there- yuck! Many do not bother with the bag at all, and picking your way thru the dog droppings becomes interesting.
Forgot to say that along with planes creating noise pollustion, we have the mainrail line close by at times and every now and again, a motorway.
Despite all of that the weather and walking has been great.