Thames Path (sort of) – Day 9

Day 9 – May 2 Wallingford to Abingdon
Weather: Cloudy and misty B&B: Abbey Guest House
Departed: 9:45 Arrived: 15:00 Distance Today: 15 mi / 24 km
Total Distance: 117.9 mi / 189.7 km Pint of the Day: Morland Bitter

Despite a drying trend the Thames Path is flooded in so many places that it has become obvious I won’t be able to complete the walk as intended. I’ll let the photos tell most of the story but in brief…

I tried to access the Thames Path on several occasions throughout the day but the situation became progressively worse as I moved upstream. I walked from Wallingford to Shillingford by road and rejoined the path as it wove its way through the village and to a main A-road.

The next access point was completely flooded and so I took a minor road into the pretty town of Dorchester where I stopped for coffee and planned my next moves.

I walked along the “Dyke Hills” and crossed a footbridge into the tiny hamlet of Little Wittenham. I then followed a long stretch of quiet road to Long Wittenham where I joined a busy road to Clifton Hampden. This village had some wonderfully picturesque buildings.

I crossed another busy road and then followed footpaths and a long concrete track around the perimeter of a huge government Science and Engineering complex that was surrounded by tall fences and CCTV cameras … Nothing secret going on in there. I reckon if I could obtain footage from all the CCTV cameras I’ve walked by I would have an excellent, if not artsy, video account of my Thames Path walk.

The last mile or two were along the main road into Abingdon which had a sidewalk/pavement the whole way. It was a further mile from the centre of town to my excellent b&b.

I was enjoying an excellent meal, one of the best so far, when the cap on my front tooth shattered. The last couple of days haven’t been stellar. I have an appointment with a dentist this morning and then hope to cobble together some form of walk into Oxford. I haven’t figured out my route after this although reports from up river are not promising.

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9 thoughts on “Thames Path (sort of) – Day 9

  1. Hi Steve!
    I cut my walk short at the end with threats of impending apocalypse from the sky! Shame really but I have walked that stretch before so my route is luckily complete ish !
    Good luck for the rest of your plans and the dental treatment.
    You could always buy waders! Lol
    Andy n Alfie

    • Hi A&A,

      What I really need is an Alfie to suss out the water depth for me, although these days Alfie would need much longer legs!

      I have a new tooth and it passed the real ale test with flying colours … and I managed to walk to Oxford as well. More details in the next blog update. Cheers, Steve.

  2. Steve —

    My English friends, Dr. George and Lady Ann, are visiting in Utah. They say that England is still in a drought — but that you are experiencing the wettest drought on record. Keep a stiff upper lip and all that.

    • Hi Ken,

      It’s definitely the wettest drought or the driest flood on record. I pity the communications team at Thames Water who have to reiterate the conservation message to residents who are dealing with small lakes of standing water. I’ll ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’. Cheers, Steve.

  3. Hi Steve,
    I can often come up with dumb suggestions but here goes, if you jump ahead to the begging of the Thames and spend a week west on your family history, then if we have a dry week most of that surface water will have passed the thames barrier. so your walk may be more of the planned route. (i know it’s based on if’s but just maybe). anyway best of luck and sorry our weather is so’ well british.
    Cheers J.P.

    • Hi J.P. … it’s an excellent suggestion however I prebooked my accommodation and considering the bank holiday weekend I figure need to stick to the schedule. I’m hoping to cobble together something that at least parallels the river. It looks like the river has stabilized so maybe conditions will improve over the next day or two. Cheers, Steve.

  4. Hi Steve,
    Sorry to hear that your Thames Path swim, er walk, is not going so well. What are the weather people saying about the amount of rain for this time of year? I’ve been following the weather in northern Spain, looking ahead to my next year’s Camino walk at this time, and it’s been rain, rain, rain too. Good luck.
    Jack Frost

    • Hi Jack,
      April was the wettest on record and I assume they’ve been keeping record since sometime in the 19th century. There has been very little rain in the last couple of days and although the water levels are starting to go down it’s going to be very soggy for the next week or two. Cheers, Steve.

  5. Pingback: Box Hill, Surrey | Karen's Walks

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