Comparatively late start walking (10:45) on the second leg, largely due to the transport opportunities available. Swindon bus station once again being the mid point of travelling.
Upon arriving at Cricklade, I had to back track to where I'd previously left the path early on the previous walk (mistake not helped by a misaligned sign post)
The morning was completed in frosted conditions with the ground hard. Gradually over the day, a thawing resulted in the ground softening and becoming muddier.
The walk to Lechlade includes a lengthy 2km walk along the busy A361 road. Upon approaching the road walkers of the path are advised to use either buses or taxi to progress. Wanting to complete the entire walk, I choose to walk this length which certainly was no worse that certain road sections of my LEJOG.
Although only 2km later, when I rejoined the river, its character completely changed. The river suddenly became the host of various boating, starting with canoes and shortly followed by canal cruisers and barges. No doubt a theme which will now continue all the way to the end, where the canoes get replaced by battleships!
Now I've decided to walk the Thames Path, to be shortened to "TP" from now, I've also decided to keep a blog log of the walk. Just a bit late uploading legs one and two as these are now complete.
So back to leg one, the second walk of 2012, this started at a bus stop in Cricklade, the target destination of the days 24km walk. Here, a bus to Swindon and a quick hop to the rail station and train to Kemble delivered me 2 miles short of the source of the Thames. Having left the station on the wrong side, not a good start, I corrected the error, crossed the tracks, via bridge and set off, only to be confused 100m later by the car park access road.
First sight of water
First sight of the Thames was quite a well established flow, just a km away from the source. The walk back to the source crossing the Fosse Way, saw the water dry up, with the source identified by the finger post and commemorative stone with illegible script, with no water in sight.
The days walk saw the river gain size rapidly with it routing thro the various lakes of the Cotswold Water Park. Alarmingly, walking of the path was identified as risky due to quick sand (fenced and wet)
Get the message
Two miles from the destination at Cricklade, following a sharp bend, I appreciated what a flood plain looked like, as the field ahead was immersed in water, spilt over from the banks. Rounding Lake Thames, was not an option. As the end was in sight with a pair of shoes stowed in the car boot, I opted for ploughing straight thro the water, knee deep with boots on. This scene was repeated in the next field, only this time I had the option to walk around. In doing so, I completely missed the path exiting the field and soon found myself off course. The necessary correction was needed, however this delivered me into Cricklade the incorrect way. This would have to be corrected on Day 2.
After a small delay over December I am now looking to start my assault on the Thames Path, starting this Saturday. The path has now been divided into 13 individual walks, may come down to 12 if I choose to combine the last 3 into 2, but the biggest choice now is whether to cover the E2 portion from Oxford down to Weybridge first or start at the beginning.
After much uming and arhing, I have decided to do the later, starting at the source this Saturday. When I completed the Severn Way, I tended to jump around completing different areas at different time and also sometime walking with the flow and sometime against, depending on which was the best for transport. I've decided this one is in order, with the flow. Just hope with all the rain and winds the path is going to be walkable, otherwise it might turn into an aquathon (run/swim minus the run bit)
Aim is to complete it this year with a visit/stay? at my uncles in London at the end, covering the last 2 legs on a weekend trip down London. Other than that, its commuting down south and back, that's where having a 60 mpg car will help.
So Saturday its a drive to Cricklade, a bus to Swindon, a train to Kemble and a 2 mile walk to the source, the start for real, with a 20km walk back to Cricklade.(6.7% of the Path)