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Downstream — Trip 8

Downstream — Trip 8

On the previous trip I walked from Teddington Lock to the Golden Jubilee Bridges. On this walk, I am finishing the series by going to the Thames Barrier. Getting to the start this time was easy peasy, with just a Tube ride down to Embankment.

Day 10 — Golden Jubilee Bridges to Thames Barrier

When I exited Embankment station, the rain had just stopped, and it felt very cold. The weather forecast indicated that it would get sunny, but I was very sceptical. I crossed the Golden Jubilee Bridges slowly, taking my time taking some photos and video of the London Eye. I considered taking a timelapse, but realised I had done so earlier for London in Fives, when the weather was much better.

The moment I made it to the south bank of the Thames, the Sun came out, and I was happy that I had brought my sun glasses. Not only was the Sun low, it also reflected a lot on the puddles on the ground.

This part of the Thames and Thames Part are right in the middle of London, and hence usually very busy with both commuters and tourists. Once the Sun came out, it therefore quickly became slow going, with lots of people going around the puddles in zigzaggy fashion.

The tide was out, which meant that there were quite a few people out on the river bed as well, to seek fortunes. There are still many bridges here, and definitely many landmarks and tourist attractions.

The best known is probably the Tower of London and Tower Bridge. The Victorian Tower Bridge (1894) is significantly younger than the Norman Tower (1078), which was built by the Normans after they invaded in 1066. The contrast behind the older Tower and Tower Bridge and the tall buildings of The City and City Hall is much starker still.

Beyond Tower Bridge, and the big yacht Kismet, the Thames Path becomes its quiet self again, with people going about their weekend morning business. The walk was now a lot more pleasant as I didn't have to dodge around people all the time. With the tide so low, many of the former docks now showed their muddy bottom, which made for some great photos.

After coming around the corner at Rotherhithe, the Thames Path loops nearly 270° degrees around The City, where dark clouds and rainbows loomed over on the North bank of the Thames, all the way to Greenwich. At Greenwich, the path goes along the Cutty Sark, a 19th century tea clipper which is now a museum. After crossing the square at the former Royal Naval College, the scenery turns quickly from "lovely residential area" into "industrial", which persists nearly all the way to the Thames Barrier.

Some interesting landmarks are the Millennium Dome. You can now walk across the roof, which is precisely what some people were doing when I came past. The Emirates Air Line flew high overhead between the two banks of the Thames as I was making my way further downstream.

After just over 300 kilometres of walking in 56 hours, while burning 25 000 calories, I then made it to the Thames Barrier, London's flood defence barrier. The barrier marks the end of the official Thames Path, although it is possible to extend it to the river Darent, where it then connects to the London LOOP that I walked a few years ago.

With the Thames Path done, it's time to look for the next adventure—I've my eyes on Hadrians Wall ;-).


Photos from my Adventure on the Thames Path are available on Flickr, and all videos on Vimeo. You can also see all the photos on a map.