Walk completed August 16, 2014

Saturday, June 28, 2014

June 28, 2014 -- Day 13, Bradford-on-Avon to Devizes, 12 miles

Today’s walk was entirely along the towpath of the Kennet and Avon Canal. Some years ago (I can’t remember whether it was 5, 7, or 10), Janet and I walked the towpath from Bath to Reading with our Canadian friends Keith and Cathy. There’s a good possibility that none of them can remember when it was, either. But no matter, it hasn’t changed much.

Narrowboat passing under Bridge 170

 The daystarted out overcast, threatening a thunderstorm. Loud rolls of thunder came from a very dark cloud overhead, but only sprinkles for about 15 minutes materialized..

About two dozen cyclists rode past me all day, and perhaps twice as many dog walkers. The major traffic consisted of narrow boats navigating the canal.

My feet were hurting a little after yesterday’s long walk. Perhaps the foot pain contributed to hallucinations, but I could have sworn several of my friends were taunting me with prospects of boat rides. Nobody appeared, so I just kept plodding along.


Eventually I encountered Merel and Jules, from the Netherlands, who are cycling coast to coast from London to Land’s End.

Merel and Jules


I stopped for lunch at the Barge Inn – not because I needed lunch, but because I was pretty sure that Janet, Keith, Cathy and I had stopped there on our walk from Bath to Reading, and I wanted them to be envious..


While I was finishing lunch in the garden, David and his crew approached in their narrowboat. I’m not sure what happened next, but to the best of my recollection I called upon my vast nautical experience and commanded the crew to “Avast, ye lubbers. Hoist the mainsail and shiver me timbers.” Those must have been the proper instructions, because they successfully moored, and David, recognizing my American accent, came by to express his gratitude for my help. I’m glad I hadn’t ordered that their ship be scuttled.

Wendy, James, Lucy, Sara and David

David and his crew are the first boaters I’ve had the pleasure to talk with at length. Perhaps that’s because he is more of a walker than a captain. (Hey, he didn’t even have a parrot on his shoulder.) He recognized that my backpack doesn’t necessarily mean I’m a homeless transient (although in this case, I am). He has walked the South Downs Way, which I will be tackling in another week.

After lunch, I continued on toward Devizes, without meeting anybody as interesting as David and his crew. Shortly before Devizes, I passed and impressive series of 29 locks known as the Caen Hill flight. A gentle uphill climb for walkers becomes a five-hour ordeal for boaters. Some boaters consider navigating the Caen Hill flight as a rite of passage, but I’m glad that Daryl and Jack hadn’t actually given me a lift to Devizes.

A big surprise occurred at dinner. Unbeknownst to me, King Arthur had requested the president and officers of the Devizes chapter of the Ken Klug fan club to hold a special reception in my honor. There were literally several in attendance.

My Fan Club

© 2014 Ken Klug


  1. Hi Ken,

    I'm late to the party but am most impressed by your fan club. Completing the Thames Path, especially in light of soap rationing, was a fine accomplishment as well.

    In 2012 I didn't quite make it as far as Cricklade. I made it to Lechlade and then took a bus to Cricklade where I stayed the night. I attempted to walk back to Lechlade the following day but had to abandon the attempt due to flooding. I'm pleased to see you've had some wonderful weather and have enjoyed the photos of what I missed.

    I'm looking forward to the next stage of your walk, in particular the South Downs Way as it is on my itinerary for 2015 or 2016.


  2. Hi Ken,

    I got back to Yuma late Wednesday night and immediately left for Prescott for Fourth of July weekend. I still haven't adjusted to the time zone (not to mention the heat). I go to bed too early and wake-up at 4:00 am.

    I like the picture of the barge "Jack Frost." Obviously a skipper with good taste in watercraft.

    Enjoy the rest of your journey,