Source of the Thames

It was on visiting Oxford on a hot, hot day in 2004 that I decided that I wanted to find the source of the Thames. I didn’t know right then that that is what I was after, what I was pursuing. All I knew was that I wanted to know where this river started, the one that I was lying next to in the grass, marvelling that England could ever get so hot. Later, on the way home, the heavens burst open and I was drenched to the skin with all the water that the sun had been drawing up all day.

(even later I would be adjacent to my very first bar brawl, the perpetrators of which then bought me a beer)

Sometime the following year, when I returned to London, I decided to find that river and where it starts. I was delighted to discover that it is the River Isis and it is a tributary of the Thames, and so the Thames head is also the head of the Isis. I bought a book and, over the next several dozen weekends, gradually walked from the source of the Thames to London, often dragging along friends for day trips.

The following photos are from the very first walk I ever did in the UK – from The Source to Cricklade – with my two good friends M&J. They were also taken using my very first ever digital camera, a wee thing that I called ‘Squishy’. He wasn’t very good.

The Source of the Thames to Cricklade – 2005

That very first walk started a lifelong love of long distance hiking. I often rave to (at) my friends about how much I love walking in the UK. It’s never too taxing and there’s always a pub at the end of it (in the middle of it, too). So it’s no surprise that I managed to convince L to do part of the Thames walk with me, even though walking is really not her thing. But, bless her, she said yes, and a few weeks ago I returned to the source of the Thames with L in tow (and a slightly better camera).

The Source of the Thames to Cricklade – 2016

It’s not all fun and games, however. Walking in the UK is not without its dangers!

And, most importantly of all, in Cricklade I discovered the butcher where I bought my very first ever pork pie, way back 11 years ago. I’m one of the few Australians who think pork pies are delicious.

Michael Hart and Son butchers, Cricklade

All in all, the source of the Thames is a place of great importance to me, and the source of many of my favourite things 🙂

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Nat Newman

Nat Newman is an award-winning writer of short stories, podcasts, feature articles, ghostwritten books, drunk text messages and a novella. She is also an actor, voice artist, tour host and creative writing tutor.


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