Cricketeers playing in front of Windsor Castle

Cricketers playing in front of Windsor Castle

Bearing in mind the lessons from my previous part of the Thames Path, this one-day walk was only 12 miles. And that was enough to make me feel I’d had a good, long walk, while not making me too tired to still feel creative when I got to Windsor.

For the first half of the walk, The Thames had a distinct rural feel to it. The riverside houses began to look like places ordinary people can afford to live, and many of the of the rowing clubs had been replaced by shipyards and second-hand boat sellers.  The fancy “competition style” super aerodynamic (or fluid dynamic?) rowboats had mostly been replaced by canoes and kayaks, and even the yachts looked like they could be own by people without 6-digit annual salaries.

As I got closer to Windsor, the houses became mansions again, and the path even left the river for about a mile: One bank has been closed to the public since 1848 as it forms part of the grounds of Windsor Castle, and the house owners on the other bank must have been influential enough to keep us ramblers away.

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I had brought my nifty fifty (50mm f/1.8) and my good old 70-300 f/4.5-5.6.  The zoom is not quite as sharp as the 70-200/2.8, but it only weights a third and takes up a third of the space. So it’s a very convenient compromise for bringing on a hike.

Not having a wide angle felt strangely limiting initially, but it forced me to move around more during the photo-stops, rather than just crouch down and work the zoom. I recommend trying it – it forces you to get out of some of the old habbits. In fact, I relied on the fifty for the first 11 miles, and it wasn’t until I got to the home park right under Windsor Castle and saw the cricket players I even got the tele mounted.

This is the third hike in a week (it’s my summer holiday), and despite it being nice summer weather in England these days, I have less than a handful of pictures with blue skies to show for it from all three hikes combined.  On the plus side, this has meant it hasn’t been too hot to walk, and it has made exposure a lot easier. Bright sunshine easily creates completely blown out skies on pictures, and there’s something strangely comforting in the clouds and slightly dull weather, which England is so known for.