April 7 : Thames Path Newbridge to Swinford Lonely Thames (part 2)

Back on the Thames after a couple of weeks away, we continued along the ‘Lonely Thames’. Few people, fewer boats and even fewer caches !   There were, on this 8 mile section, just 2 caches, both of the query/multi type. In both cases, the cache owner expected us to find out information (hooray for Google!) before we arrived at the initial cache site. Here we would then find extra information and using the two sets of information go to another location to find the cache. The information was easily found before we left, but we have gone wrong with multis before, so it is always a relief to find the cache after applying 4 numbers into equations! We were a little surprised with the location of one of the caches (Pinkhill Lock and Weir) as it did seem to be hidden very close to at least one of the structures in the cache title. We were hoping for more caches for the day, but our car journey to the start was impeded by a road closure yards from our destination. This delayed our start, and we never really got the time back! Apart from the two caches, the quietness and solitude were the key features. We heard skylarks singing, woodpeckers knocking and rooks clacking (what is the name for the noise they make?). We followed a cormorant downstream, and a few lonely swans. The celandines were in flower, and catkins hung from trees.

Celandines

Celandines

Catkins

Catkins

Yet again we passed pill boxes, and locks (including Northmoor Lock which is yet to be modernised from the ‘paddle and rymer’ system). Time has taken its toll at Bablock Hythe. There was a ferry crossing here for over 1000 years, but stopped in the mid-60s. We had our sandwiches there (good job we weren’t relying on the associated pub (closed Tuesdays!)), and saw several people arrive at one bank and look longingly at the other.

Bablock Hythe Crossing Point... or rather was!

Bablock Hythe Crossing Point… or rather was!

Our walk finished at Swinford Toll Bridge. There are only 2 toll bridges on the Thames, and this is the first. The toll has been set by an Act of Parliament since 1770 (to our foreign readers of this blog, Britain does have modern Laws too!) at the small sum of 5p per car. Fortunately as pedestrians there is no charge!

Swinford Bridge ...

Swinford Bridge …

... and its toll house

… and its toll house

Thames Path statistics : Route length : 7.8 miles Total distance walked : 46.8 miles Caches found : 2 Total caches found : 87          The two caches we found! Fingers crossed there are more on the next section!

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