One would have thought that having just returned from a walking holiday, and having walked for 6 out of the last 7 days, we needed a rest! But no! The day was fine-ish, and the Thames Path was calling.
Just 7 days previously we had walked the short stretch around Windsor. Today’s stretch of about 3 miles would take us to Staines (or more correctly Staines-upon-Thames as the town was officially renamed on 20 May 2012).
There were only 3 caches on this route, and the first was within 100 yards of the car. Here a relatively easy find, but a tricky retrieval! The cache was in a tree, perilously close to the water edge. One false move and… splash! Fortunately Mrs Hg137 wriggled around the tree, removed the cache, and replaced it without too much incident.
The Thames Path passed a boatyard, where the hire boats were being readied for their day’s bookings and then into the wider expanse of Runnymede Meadows.
Runnymede is famous for being where the Magna Carta was signed 800 years ago, and the Meadows formed the main arena for the Anniversary celebrations on 15 June 2015. We came to see the celebrations that day, and witnessed thousands of people, media and royalty celebrating the anniversary.
Today though the Meadows were empty except for the 12 Jurors – a sculptural set of 12 metal chairs made to celebrate the Anniversary. We’d seen them in June (with loads of other people, including the artist Hew Locke) – but today we could admire them in our own peace and solitude. Each chair is different and represents how different people and events have shaped laws and regimes throughout the world.
For example the suffragette movement is shown, the Trade Union movement, shipping laws introduced following Exxon Valdez oil-spill in Alaska, Nelson Mandela and much more besides. All very thought-provoking.
Nearby is a cache planted on the 1 July this year to tie in with the anniversary. A quick easy find !
Shortly after leaving Runnymede Meadows we came upon another piece of artwork to tie in the Magna Carta anniversary. This was a 4 metre sculpture of the Queen and close by a horizontal metal list of English Monarchs. The timeline for each monarch varies in accordance with the length of their reign. A wonderful idea and great for kids learning regal history (Ed: do they still do that at school ?)
About this time a runner ran passed us. Then another. Then another. Then one with “Sandhurst Joggers” on their tabard. We gave them a cheer as we are from Sandhurst. We were clearly in the middle of a race! This was (we discovered afterwards) a 26.2 mile 5-legged relay between Virginia Water and Kingston-upon-Thames. For the rest of our journey to Staines we had to keep a watchful eye for oncoming runners, and making sure that they could pass!
Our last cache was called Coal-Tax Posts and was a very simple multi. The posts marked London’s jurisdiction to tax coal in years gone by. (All coal entering London was taxed). We read the numbers from the post and then found the cache quite easily.
To further prove we were nearing London we even walked underneath the M25, London’s Orbital Motorway!
Thames Path statistics :
Route length : 3.5 miles
Total distance walked : 136.25 miles
Caches found : 3 Total caches found : 255
A short walk packed full of historical significance but for us a chance for relax as we had walked over 50 miles in 8 days, and found about 50 caches in such iconic places as Windsor Castle, Runnymede and the Seven Sisters. Phew!