Wealdway – Hartlake to Leigh

Distance: 14.7 km

Steps: 27,734

Maps: OS Explorer 136, 147

Weather

The wood to the west of Hartlake Bridge is tiny. Maybe 200 metres x 50 metres. I selected the most covert, dry, sheltered spot and began to set up my basher at 8:30pm last night, just as the light began to fade. By 9:00pm it was full dark and my bivouac was complete. I got into bed and I was sound asleep within minutes. I awoke briefly around midnight to find that I had neighbours. One male and one female, two voices, talking very quietly, about 30 metres away I guess. I went back to sleep.

I was up soon after 06:00am and back on the trail before 07:00am. Walking west and eating the remains of my food as I went along, I soon reached Eldridge’s Lock.

el

There are dozens of dog walkers about at this time of day. I got to Tonbridge just after 08:00am. The town is now much developed beside the river from the days we used to moor Kajani here (1989?). Luxury apartments now extend to just beyond Town Lock on the south bank and all the way to Cannon Bridge on the north bank. There are signs saying that you can still moor here at £5.00 per night but nobody was.

I carried on along the south bank and reached the town bridge. This was our highest navigable point on the Medway as our tiny mast wouldn’t go under the bridge. There’s a pub just here on the river where Matt Sankey used to DJ with vinyl.

tbb

I paused for a breakfast bap in the grounds of Tonbridge Castle. I’ve got a blister on my left heel. That’s never happened before! I’ve been wearing these Meindl boots for two years now. I must be walking funny. I blame the Parkinson’s 😦

tc

Was tempted to ride the model railway but it seemed to bring me back to where I started from so I declined and carried on walking west past the rugby pitches.

tmr

The Wealdway passes under the Tonbridge-London railway line and continues beside the Medway. There’s plenty of fish in the river along here. I’ll return for a day out. I walked another 4 km beside the river, lakes and flood defence measures, passing under the A21 dual carriageway. Then I reached Leigh where I got the train home to change my socks etc.

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