Many remarkable people found their identities on rivers: Cleopatra on the Nile; Lewis and Clark on the Missouri; Mark Twain on the Mississippi; Jeff Bezos on the Amazon. This is the story of my 600+ mile walk along the waterways of southern England in the summer of 2014, and the remarkable people I met along the way. It is best read in chronological order, so I recommend starting with the earliest posting in the Blog Archive list in the right margin.
Walk completed August 16, 2014
Sunday, June 29, 2014
June 29, 2014 -- Day 14, Devizes to Wootton Rivers, 12 Miles
quick email from Janet advised me that we had walked the Kennet and Avon Canal
with our Canadian friends, Keith and Cathy, not 5, 7, or 10 years ago as I has
supposed, but a whopping 14 years ago. No wonder I’ve been finding it much more
difficult this time.
quiet Sunday on the towpath made for a lovely walk. The most frequent traffic
were the cyclists that kept passing – some just out for a short day’s ride, and
a few others who are cycling the entire K&A Canal. There were very few
narrowboats, and a few paddlers in kayaks. Aside from that, I was generally alone,
with the waterfowl in the water and the songbirds singing in the trees.
Quiet canal at Devizes
miles out of Devizes, I encountered a group of hikers from the West Berkshire
towns of Mortimer and Burghfield. They are hiking the K&A Canal in stages,
today starting at Honeystreet and aiming for Devizes. They told me they parked
their cars in Devizes, and took taxis to Honeystreet to commence their walk.
Taxis?? Had I known there were taxis going to Honeystreet, I could have skipped
a good 5 or 6 miles on the towpath today. But it was a lovely day, and I
enjoyed the walk.
Chris, David and James
later in the day, I encountered a group of 5 cyclists. Cycling on the towpath
requires mountain bikes (or at least hybrids), as the path alternates between
crushed rock, grass, mud and soil. Wide tires are a must. The first two of the
group passed me quickly, but the others were stopped re-securing their packs.
They are all from the Maidenhead village of Bray, which is right next to the
Monkey Island Hotel. They chuckled when I mentioned the peacocks; apparently
they can be heard in Bray.
Pewsey, the canal passes under Ladies Bridge, and unusually ornate bridge
completed in 1808. That’s about the time that Lewis and Clark explored the
Pacific Northwest and Beethoven completed his 5th Symphony. One
would assume that the bridge has had periodic maintenance over the centuries,
but the historical perspective is interesting for such a simple bridge.
David and Martin
only other walkers I met today were David and Martin, walking the K&A canal
Rivers is a picturesque little village, with virtually all of the buildings
covered by thatched roofs. I didn’t take any pictures this afternoon, because
dark clouds overhead subdued the scenery. The forecast is for clear weather
ahead, so perhaps tomorrow’s pictures will come out better.
will remember the pub in which I’m having dinner – it’s the pub from which we
arranged the transportation to our B&B 14 years ago.