Kingston Bridge

Kingston Bridge

After arriving physically and mentally exhausted the day before, I enjoyed being only a short distance from Kingston Bridge where this day’s hike started. Instead of spending hours on public transportation to get started, it took me all of ten minutes. Lovely!

The previous day I had been too tired to take pictures in Kingston, but with the energy from a night’s decent sleep, the camera was out again, and the swans under the bridge were happy to be photographed.  Although it is more urban than most of the sights, and despite the somewhat flat light, the picture above is my favourite from the day.  It’s also the only shot where I was standing almost with my feet in water (on a set of steps from the promenade down to the river), so maybe the old adage about “if your picture lacks something, you need to get closer to the subject” is true.

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For the first few miles the tow path was wide, almost like an oblong park, running between the river and the walls of Hampton Court’s privy garden.

I know from the past that Hampton Court Palace is definitely worth a visit, but with many miles still ahead of me, I limited myself to a few pictures (full of tourists) and then pressed on towards Walton and the charming 4-passenger “ferry” that enables a crossing of the river at Shepperton.  The ferry terminal was a small dock with a walkie talkie and instructions on how to call for the ferry. The instructions worked, and it didn’t take long before a super friendly chap arrived to sail me across. The crossing takes less than five minutes, but we got talking about my photo journey, so he made a small detour to give me a good camera angle towards the tow path I had been walking on. It’s small things like this that makes all the difference and turns a lovely walk into a truly great experience.

From Shepperton, it was only a few miles past Pharaoh’s Island (named that way because it was given to Nelson after The Battle of the Nile) and a group of pictoresque house boats to Chertsey where my walk ended for the day.

The guide book had stated there was a station with train links to London in Chertsey, so I asked a couple of locals for directions from Chertsey Bridge. They looked at me, smiled, and explained that it was about two-to-three miles away. Oh dear! I had deliberately kept the walk to “only” 11 miles to not get as worn out as the day before, so I was not going to add another several miles. I don’t think I would have been physically able to. The nearby bus stop had a timetable showing it would be an hour before the next bus was going to come by. So what does the tired rambler do? Well, he walked into the pub across the road, had a beer and asked them to call for a taxi to take him to the station! Despite “cheating” like this, it took me the best part of four hours to get home, so maybe I should be driving to/from a convenient location near the start or end point in the future, rather than rely on public transportation.