Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.
For today, we had a plan to park the geocar at the end of the day’s walk, use public transport aka train to get back to the start, and walk back; much searching went on to find somewhere (anywhere) in Maidenhead that had free parking and was close to the river; Google’s Streetview was most useful here and we found a spot in Ray Park Road.
A fifteen minute walk brought us to Maidenhead station and the first cache of the day, one of the Sidetracked series which are hidden near stations. On the train, we had a few minutes to sort out our walking boots and to chat to the many other walkers who were also on the train; one group of six were off on a two day outing, walking to Goring on the first day, then back along the river; we passed Goring some few weeks ago and it’s a long, long walk along the river, but not nearly so far if you cut off the big loops in the river.
After a twenty minute train ride we disembarked at Marlow, dawdling behind the other passengers so that we could retrieve our next cache, another Sidetracked, without being watched. The Thames Path was a short walk away, and we walked down to the river, then stepped away almost immediately for a look at Marlow Lock. This was a busy lock (they all are!) with neat gardens (they mostly are!), a fine view back to Marlow Bridge … and the answers to clues to a multi cache, another with a Dr Who theme, which we found just a little further on our way. Once under the speeding cars on the A404M we were out in the country and it was a quiet, warm sunny morning. A couple of miles walk, with not a single cache, and we arrived in Bourne End. We stepped aside to find the third Sidetracked cache of the day, near Bourne End station; we’d passed close by while we were on the train but we didn’t have quite enough time to find the cache while the train pauses at the station.
Just here, the Thames Path crosses to the other side of the Thames, and it does so on the railway bridge. Here, too, somewhere, is another cache. It’s a multi cache, and the description gives five possible locations, with a clue to work out which is the right one. We solved the clue, and we tried all five locations. Could we find the cache? No, reader, we could not! We paused for lunch, looking at the river. Then we had another look. Could we find the cache? No! We reluctantly gave up and moved away downstream across the meadows. It was rather hot now and we wished there was more shade.
At Cookham, the path diverted from the river, to walk past some expensive houses who had kept their river frontage private. We passed the Stanley Spencer gallery, then followed the path through the churchyard, where a wedding was in progress; we’d read that Stanley Spencer’s memorial is here but we didn’t spot it.
We went down a leafy track away from the village; part way along a cheer rang out from the village. We wondered if that was the moment England won the Ashes? (Checking later, it wasn’t.)
We arrived back at the river, and the remaining caches for the day were all along the path back to Maidenhead. It was so pleasant that I walked past one by 400 feet, when I should have been watching the GPS, and we had to backtrack; grumbles, and rightly so, from Mr Hg137! Another most notable one was entitled ‘You want me to look there?’ and was close to both a litter bin and a dog poo bin. We spent some while feeling round in places where we really did not want to feel – and it was a very hot afternoon so things were … aromatic – but we found the cache close by. The final stages of the walk took us back into Maidenhead and past Boulter’s Lock, which was packed, and past a blue plaque showing that Richard Dimbleby had lived close by (he was a famous war correspondent and factual journalist).
Old Father Thames goes gliding by
As ripples run he winks his eye
At Cotswold cows and Oxford dons
Nodding to Windsor’s royal swans
He bears our nation’s liquid crown
By lock and weir to London town
May all that know and love his banks
Pause here awhile to offer thanks.
Ian Miles (2002)
Thames Path statistics :
Route length : 7.6
Total distance walked : 121.25 miles
Caches found : 12 Total caches found : 221