The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Friday 26 March 2010

Day 5 - Stone to Maze Hill

27 March
Distance: 18 miles (plus a 1 mile wild goose chase in a search for the campsite)

The day got off to a bit of a slow start. Firstly there was interminable wait at a level crossing within a minute of setting off, then after a route diversion via Dartford Rly station to meet up with George (, who was to walk with us today, we soon got sidetracked by a Greasy Spoon which sorted out our absence of breakfast.

Having negotiated our way out of Dartford, better progress was made alongside the river Darent, which led us up to the Thames.

A bit of local knowledge from George took us to a Morrison's cafe for elevenses, where a nice man kindly made a donation to Help for Heroes.

Along the Thames progress was slowed by my facination with all of the decaying evidence of past industry (and with some of the modern industry - particularly the sewage-sludge burning power station).

Many photos were taken and I couldn't pass a single information sign without reading it, which meant that I was continually the straggler as Mick and George went on ahead.

With distinctive landmarks within our sights our stomachs told us that it was time for luncheon, and handily the cafe of the Royal Artillery museum was nearby. With fantastic timing, the only significant shower of the day passed through whilst we were inside. In fact, considering the forecast, we were jolly lucky that we didn't get wet at any point.

At the Thames Barrier (where I really wanted to visit the information centre, but had to concede that time didn't allow today) we joined the Thames Path National Trail.

Wanting to omit the meander in the river that goes via the Dome we had intended to take the Thames Path Link which cuts across. Wondering where it was we needed to turn, I looked at the map and asked Mick whether we had passed Greenwich Yatch Club. Mick pointed to the sign about three feet behind me, which confirmed that we were standing outside said club - as if the pound full of yatchs wasn't a big enough clue. Nowt like paying attention to your surroundings, is there?

The short cut ended up making not just for a delay, but also a change in route and of today's end point. In fact we were back on the Thames Path when we came to a hoarding barring the path and citing demolition work as the reason for the closure.

To the roads we took, ending up at Maze Hill.

Although our official walking day was over at that point, we still had to get to the campsite at Abbey Wood (who, when we phoned this week, had no issue with us staying). A train transported us the few miles back east and then it should just have been a short walk to the site.

Leaving the station, a young Polish chap asked us about our walk and having asked where we were staying tonight said he would show us the way. Across green land he led us and through woodland. After a while I voiced my concern to Mick that we were overshooting and as we left the woodland to join a road I was able to place us on the map and we weren't in the right place at all. Parting company with the well-intentioned Pole, we did an about turn and ten minutes or so later managed to locate our night stop.

Even ignoring the wild goose chase and the closed-path backtrack and diversion it turned out that today was a mile longer than I had it marked on the itinerary, so we could have done without the extra distance. Still, we made it in the end and after an excellent and interesting day.

Thanks to George for the company today. After five days of just each other for company, I fear that he may now have earache from our incessant chatter.
Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange


  1. Well I hope George has broke the back of that one... :)

  2. Perhaps you should of gone by yatch, or would that of made ewe sic?'s late!

  3. I never mind a good chat while walking :-)

    I'm glad we could meet up and walk; but boy are my muscles feeling it today, and it was all flat :-)

  4. George - if it helps you any, this morning my legs were feeling the effects of yesterday's concrete pounding, too!

    Martin - Ooops! I do know how to spell yacht, honest! I blame the late hour of day at which I was typing, and the fact that my proof reader wasn't doing his job properly.