Sunday's walk was originally a Winter wander of the waterways of Surrey, West Byfeet to Hampton Court, but our plans were dramatically hijacked by the worsening floods in the region. Not knowing how bad things were, "come with a sense of adventure in your hearts" was one of the final updates and warnings prior to the day. And that the very impressive 28 souls did, with abundance! (28 did come to Surrey, however one person, name withheld, an experienced member at that, from the various mobile exchanges, appeared intitially to be behind us, but took an hour or so to realise he was, in fact, ahead, having got off at the wrong station! With the confusion of the rest of the day he ended up spending the day on his own!)
The prewalk breakfast at West Byfleet (later named by someone as West Byflood-by-sea, though in fact it was relatively dry in this part of Surrey!), was well attended, particularly welcoming 5 newbies. The first of the waterways, the Basingstoke Canal was peaceful, if not deceptive for what lay ahead, as was the next, the Wey Navigation, though the paths very muddy. From where the latter becomes the Wey River at Weybridge is where things went down hill with the swollen Wey breaching the path and forcing us to backtrack, and then for many to take on a fierce bank to ascend to a bridge to rise above it all......I did say "adventure in your hearts"!
Lunch stop was a pub in Weybridge and the rest of the day was spent seeking dry land, roads, bridges, to walk above the bloated Thames, its Path submerged for most of the way, and from where we could see poor people's gardens, parks, and entire fields affected by the worsening floods. The final quest was to ford 200m of the flooding road and park beside the south side of the Walton Bridge, enjoyed by swans and ducks in their new habitat, the water only inches deep, but flowing at such a pace it was splashed upwards......more adventure! Surviving this, a vote indicated the majority wanted to head homewards, which we did via Walton Station, though a sizeable group took a brief (4hrs+) stopover at Surbiton to visit the Wetherspoons Pub!
Adventure it was, and thank goodness there was no added moisture from above! Everyone said they enjoyed the day! But I pity the poor souls now flooded as I type (now Tuesday), not just around the Thames in West London, but all over the South West.