Follow my progress as I attempt to walk the length of the UK, from Dover to Cape Wrath, wild camping every night. In this chapter, I need to get round London! I walk from the end of the North Downs Way in Guildford, and follow the River Wey Navigations to join the River Thames at Weybridge. Then I follow the Thames Path to join the Grand Union Canal at Slough. You can read about my preparations for this walk here, chapter one here and my full gear list here.
If you’d like to see an overview map of my whole route from Dover to Cape Wrath, it’s here.
Day 5 (continued): Guildford to Byfleet
I left Guildford in the afternoon (having started my day in Brockham). My excitement at finally heading north towards Cape Wrath must have got the better of me. I ended up walking far too far today. I reached the M25 before it dawned on me that I ought to stop and find somewhere to camp!
This stretch of the Wey Navigations was interesting and great walking after the rolling hills of the North Downs Way. This is probably another reason why I walked so far today.
The Wey Navigations is owned by the National Trust. It is older than the canals by about 100 years, and was one of the first British rivers to be made navigable. Barges have used it since 1653.
Just like the North Downs Way, the route looks built up on the map. However, stretches of it felt quite remote. It passed through some really lovely scenery.
Suddenly I realised that I was about to cross the M25. I was very worried about finding somewhere to camp after that. Luckily I managed to find a spot tucked away in some woods. It was very hot and the mosquitoes were a pain though. I was too tired to cook any dinner, so I just made myself a coffee and collapsed into bed.
Day 6: Byfleet to Slough
I woke early again this morning. There were still too many mosquitoes so I didn’t bother with coffee or breakfast, and left around 5.30am. It started raining at about 8am so I stopped for breakfast under a tree. I often start walking very early in the morning. I enjoy the solitude, but I usually find I can’t eat anything until later in the morning.
The Wey Navigations finished at Weybridge, and I was sorry to finish this part of the walk. It had been lovely. Before I planned this route I knew nothing about it – despite being a life member of the National Trust for decades!
A cycle way took me from the Wey Navigation to the Thames Path at Chertsey. It was easy walking again past Runnymede and Windsor, then I cut a mile or so across Slough to join the Grand Union Canal.
Once I join the Grand Union Canal I will be following it until I reach the Oxford Canal just north of Daventry. I’ll post about this stretch of my walk from Dover to Cape Wrath soon.
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