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, August 3, 2014
August 3, 2014 -- Day 49, Edenbridge to Sundridge, 10 miles
most direct route from Edenbridge to Sundridge (about 2½ miles west of
Sevenoaks) is by road, but you know how I dislike road walking. So to avoid the
roads, I cobbled together a route consisting of footpaths shown on my map. I
expected some problems and was not disappointed. Several times, footpaths that were
on the map were buried under wheat fields. One footpath abruptly ended at a pile
of farm rubble, with no way to get around. All of the problems were in the morning,
while I still had lots of energy the day was still cool, so I didn’t mind retracing
my steps and trying alternate routes. I even laughed at myself as so many false
starts reminded me of Shackleton’s several attempts to find a route off the
Trident Ridge down to the Crean Glacier. His attempts meant the difference between
life and death; mine meant the difference between footpath and road. It’s good
to be reminded not to take ourselves too seriously.
No footpath on the ground
No footpath through the wheat
route finding was worth the trouble, because the unfolding scenery was
wonderful. You can’t watch scenery when walking on roads and dodging traffic,
even if the road isn’t bordered by a hedgerow. On the footpath, you have time
to enjoy the scenery, even while looking for holes and roots.
Note lake at distant center.
My footpath passed alongside the lake.
footpaths eventually cross roads, and my footpath passed by a pub, about a mile
from my destination. Many pubs serve special “Sunday carvery” meals of roast
beef, pork, lamb, or chicken with all the “fixin’s,” so I took the opportunity
to have my evening meal early, while the sun was shining and I could eat on the
patio. There, I met a father and his two sons who were out for a Sunday walk.
They had just returned from touring the American southwest – driving from Texas
I was finishing my meal, a motorcycle gang roared in on their souped-up bikes.
I never photographed a motorcycle gang before, and wasn’t going to let this
chance slip by.
footpath continued on through scenic hills as I headed for my B&B.
I wasn't even going to let a bull dampen my spirits, but I assured him I
had roast lamb at the pub, just in case.