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Thames Path Walk

By Anne Klepacz

What pictures does that phrase conjure up? A leisurely stroll along the riverbank... Riverside pubs every few hundred yards... A pleasantly flat, wide towpath... No chance of getting lost because the river is always there... And the reality?

...A 6 mile stroll in the countryside once in a while is NOT adequate preparation for an average 14 miles a day, day after day after day. Riverside pubs between the source and Windsor can be counted on the fingers of one hand. The path, for most of its length, is narrow, full of protruding stones, tree roots, stiles, marauding cows and, above all, frequently leaves the river altogether to take you down main roads, up hills (!), through fields, through industrial estates. The guidebook, though excellent, is no help when a temporary diversion, beautifully signposted at the beginning, leaves you stranded in the middle of a housing estate. And oh, the PAIN of those boots you thought were so comfortable for the first few miles!

...But we did it! And despite the low points, the river was often stunningly beautiful, we had only one day of driving rain and lots of brilliantly sunny days, we made new friends (and, believe it or not, I got chatting to a woman walking her dogs on the towpath whose son turned out to have keratoconus!) and we have hopefully raised lots of money to enable us to continue developing the work of the Keratoconus Group.

...So, many thanks to Mike for coming up with the idea and organising it all, many thanks to all who joined in the walking (or provided very welcome lifts at the beginning or end of a day) and many thanks to all who have sponsored us.

Anne Klepacz

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Page last updated: 19 February, 2015