Hurley stirs old memories of other’s generosity. 40 years ago our boys’ club leader had a motor launch moored here. Back then he used to take us on trips along the Thames. Altogether more innocent days!
As we park up in Hurley it seems not much has changed in the intervening years. There are many more threatening ‘No Parking’ notices but the village shop and church look like they’ve been stuck in a time capsule. However the 21st Century comes crashing in as we walk west along the River…they’re charging £3 per head for a picnic in the Riverside Park, and that doesn’t include food! Taking care not to inadvertently unpack food or drink, we press on as far as Culham Court. Now, here’s someone who can afford to picnic where he wants. The owner of Culham Court, Urs Schwarzenbach, is reportedly worth £860 million but currently under investigation by Swiss authorities for VAT fraud and art trafficking…allegedly!
The remainder of the walk climbs slowly through the Berkshire countryside to Ashley Hill. Not that it’s much of a climb, it’s just that the weather makes it more of an effort than it should be. The candy-floss skies of earlier have given way to gun-metal grey. Warm, close and overcast, it’s only a matter of where and when now. Eventually, as we reach Ashley Hill, the promised rain rolls in and for the last mile we splash through muddy puddles back to Hurley. 10.2 miles through the Thames Valley and a stop off at Dad’s on the way home, for the last time. He’s all packed now and about to leave the Thames Valley behind for the mythical ‘Land of Sunshine and Song‘…and that stirs memories over 60 years old!
Hurley picture gallery (more pictures on Flickr):
Distance: 10.1 miles ; Difficulty: Moderate
Postcode for Satnav: SL6 5LX