Walk completed August 16, 2014

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

June 25, 2014 -- Day 10, Cricklade to Source, 12 miles

It’s hard to believe that the days keep getting better. Maybe it’s because I’m getting more trail fit, so I’m not as tired at the end of the day. Maybe it’s because the weather is getting cooler, so I’m not as tired at the end of the day. Or maybe it’s because I’m the luckiest man in the world, and I’m not talking about the soap. More on that later. 

Cricklade is a lovely little village. (I may be going out on a limb there, but I don’t think it’s a market town.) Some of you may remember that Cricklade was in the news due to the flooding last year. My recollection is that Steve Clifford aborted his attempt to reach the Thames source due to the flooding in 2012. Cricklade came close to being flooded again this year, but the village escaped that catastrophe. What damage may have occurred in 2012 has been repaired, and I saw no evidence of flood damage.

Today’s walk followed the River Thames all the way to the source. At the end of this posting I’ll include a series of pictures showing the ever diminishing Thames. The pictures speak for themselves. But, as always, it’s the people who made today special.

Lake in Cotswold Water Park
Outside of Cricklade, the path passes through a series of lakes, all of which were former gravel pits. The map suggests a desolate construction zone, but what I found was a meandering trail through a lovely park-like setting.
On the trail between the lakes, I met Adam, from Yorkshire, who just started from the source.


Jim and Jay
A little farther on, I met Jim and Jay, who were trimming hedgerows for the Cotswold Water Park Trust. Jim explained that as part of the reclamation work, the silt washed from the gravel is used to create the footpaths. Natural seepage fills the lakes, and vegetation recovers naturally. Waterfowl return to the lakes, leaving a natural environment.


As the trail left the lakes behind near Somerford Keynes, a gentlemen approached me. I greeted him with my usual “Good afternoon,” to which he responded, “You’re Ken Klug, aren’t you.”

He said we met in 2011, on the Offa’s Dyke footpath. As soon as he said that I took a picture of him and his daughter, I remembered him. There were only two father/daughter walkers I met on that trip. George and Justine on the Pennine Way, and Richard and Alison on Offa’s Dyke – Day 30 of My 1200 Mile Summer. I remembered him well, because he had stepped into a bog and was quite muddied, and just before I met them he had pinned a flower to Alison’s lapel. (Trust me, if you walk 1200 miles, you will remember little details like those.) Richard lives in Cirencester (about 8 miles from here) and has been following this blog. He knew I would be passing through today, and came out to meet me.


Bruce, Sean, Michael and Gordon
As he and I were reminiscing, four other Thames path walkers came by. Three are from Ireland and one from England, but I can’t remember which was which. (This wasn’t a missed detail so much as it was trying to get a handle on so many things happening at once.) I wish them good luck on their walk, but there isn’t a chance that they are having as much fun as I am.

Two other walkers passed by while I was speaking to the others, but, try as I might, I couldn’t catch up with them. Richard had to leave for a prior commitment, and I was left to walk on my own.

Mark and Chris
Later, I met Mark and Chris, from Australia;
Rob and Jannine
and Rob and Jannine from the Netherlands. Rob and Jannine accompanied me all the way to the source, although I couldn’t really keep up with them either.

Mick and Margaret
As I was approaching the source, Mick and Margaret, from Evesham, England, (the two that I couldn’t catch up with) were returning, and asked if I was looking for Richard. I said no, because he and I had already met about 2 hours earlier. “Well, he’s waiting for you at the source,” said Mick.

And sure enough, he was. He had satisfied his other commitment and returned to greet me again. As I said, I must be the luckiest man in the world.
Richard and Sir Lost-a-lot

At Cricklade

Dry spring at source

© 2014 Ken Klug


  1. Well done! First major milestone . . . done! You made light of the hardship of covering many miles each day, and gave us a good chuckle every few yards of it. Thoroughly enjoyed following you.

    Being of the same age as you, I am wondering if you also thought about the river as a metaphor for life? Hmm, I will stop and wait to see if you take me up on this one!

  2. Wow, that’s really heavy stuff, man. You mean like when you spring into life, searching for a way, and start babbling; then the tributaries of knowledge feed your enthusiasm and make you stronger, and you roil and rage and cut your own way because nothing can stop you, until you widen and mellow out, and you must know sumpin’ but you don’t say nuttin’ and jest keep rollin’ along?

    Or maybe you mean just go with the flow.

    Heavy stuff, man.

  3. Sweet Jesus! I can see it now, here it comes....we'll just call you babbling brook pretty soon! So many nice people so little time.
    Really nice that Richard caught up with you, a special treat for sure.