Walking London to Walsingham Day 2

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I started the second day of my walk with a visit to the Abbey in Waltham Abbey. Although just as with St Magnus’ church yesterday I knew that it would be closed, the Abbey grounds are the burial site of King Harold which I thought would be worth a visit.
As I approached the Abbey I saw a few people going inside so decided to follow them. Once inside I got chatting to a churchwarden who once I had told her about my walk said that although it was choir practice I could stay for as long as I wished. She also made me a coffee too, many thanks Linda it was much appreciated.
After listening to the choir for a while, visiting the grave of King Harold and chatting with the lady in the Tourist Information Office I finally made my way back to the canal towpath where I left off yesterday and headed on northward.
Thankfully not only was the day warm and sunny but the towpath wasn’t the muddy quagmire that I had feared after yesterday’s rain and I was able to make good progress. Navigation was pretty straightforward although during the day at times I was following the River Lea Navigation and others the New River and so a certain amount of attention was necessary.
The New River incidentally is neither new nor a river but a 24 mile long water supply aqueduct built in 1613 to bring fresh water from Hertfordshire into London.
At Great Amwell I left the river path briefly to visit the village church. Not really expecting it to be open, for the second time today I was in for a suprise as I arrived at the same time as the churchwardens were opening up for an afternoon of refreshments.
Interestingly talking to one of the parishioners it turned out that he had grown up alongside my mother’s family in a small village in rural Lincolnshire almost 100 miles away. What a small world!
After indulging in tea and cake I was shown the rather nondescript grave of Harold Abrahams, one of the athletes depicted in the 1980s film Chariots of Fire. Maybe not an English king but interesting nonetheless. Also the village has connections to the Pilgrim Fathers and has a few display boards on the subject. All in all an interesting visit.
When I did finally leave it was only another couple of miles until the end of the days walk in the lovely little town of Ware.
Given that it was now late on a Sunday afternoon the town was quite busy. For me I finished my day with a visit to the parish church. Dedicated to St Mary the Virgin it is one of many along the route dedicated as such, almost certainly harking back to the days of pilgrimage past.



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