|Day 3 – April 25||Kingston to Staines|
|Weather: Rain, wind, thunder, etc.||B&B: Dee and Steve’s B&B|
|Departed: 11:45 Arrived: 17:10||Distance Today: 15 mi / 24 km|
|Total Distance: 45.5 mi / 73.25 km||Pint of the Day: Sharp Doom Bar|
Hats off to the MET Office for another extremely accurate forecast as the weather pretty much unfolded as they predicted. As I mentioned in my previous post the weather was expected to be grim, especially in the morning. Therefore I wasn’t in a rush to get going, in fact I didn’t roll into Kingston until 11:30am.
When I set off the rain had eased and I was hopeful the worst might be over, but I enveloped myself from head to toe in Gortex just in case. In the end the worst was not over as it was a day of heavy showers broken by short dry spells and long downpours. One of the first deluges hit just as I reached Hampton Court Palace and I decided to take refuge under a large tree. I snapped a few quick photos with my new camera but it wasn’t a day for taking pictures and the few I have included were taken while Mother Nature was catching her breath.
Shortly after Hampton Court I crossed the river and walked by the very picturesque East Molesey cricket ground where, according to the sign, cricket has been played since 7th June 1735. It was a good thing the covers were on because this was when the rain really started chucking it down. It was from here that I began the most isolated section of todays walk, a less than perfect stretch to be walking when the thunder and lightening started. I spent the next hour power walking around growing puddles and trying my best not to be the tallest thing around.
This most recent storm passed just as I happened upon a pub, the question was do I stop in and dry off or take advantage of the break in the weather and soldier on? I chose the latter and decided to march to Walton and reassess the situation. I was prepared to end the days walk early if necessary but by Walton the showers were light and so on I went. Half an hour later I reached the Shepperton Ferry where I waited patiently in the driving rain for the quarter hour when I could ring the bell to call the boat over. I’m sure the young guy operating the small boat would have preferred to stay indoors but as it was he collected my two Pounds and we embarked on the 90-second crossing. I remarked to him that I could hardly have been wetter had I swum across.
At this point the rain had reached biblical proportions and I was forced to take refuge under the eave next to the Gents public toilets. As a rule I try to avoid this whenever possible as it can only lead to trouble. Fortunately I was under way in 10 minutes, I’m sure much to the relief of any guy who had been holding off on using the facilities due to the brooding Canadian dressed entirely in black.
I followed a narrow lane with huge pools of standing water which were sprayed 15 feet into the air when cars sped past. I stuck to the dry side because these motorists didn’t seem too concerned with drenching walkers. Before long I was back on the footpath and crossing Dumsey meadows which I imagine would be beautiful on a nice day. The beautiful Chertsey Bridge came into view but it was raining too hard to take a photo so you’ll have to google it if you want to check it out. As I emerged from under the bridge The Kingfisher pub beckoned me in. I was now only 4 miles from Staines and so a rest, my first of the day, was in order. A pint of Sharp’s Doom Bar and a packet of cheese and onion crisps would make it all better.
I could have easily spent an hour in the warm and dry pub but it was nearing 4pm and so I had to get moving. When I emerged the showers were very light and the sun was trying hard to break through the clouds. It was on the verge of becoming pleasant and I mulled this thought over for a few minutes before determining that it was the Doom Bar talking. The rain held off for the final few miles and when the number of dog walkers increased exponentially I knew I was close to my destination. One very enthusiastic 12-week old Golden Lab puppy welcomed me into Staines.
A short train ride delivered me to Windsor where I will base myself for the next few days.