A nice day, a nice idea, and a sunny walk by the river. I started off as a desire to photograph a church and as there was one close by at the little village of Bobbing but it was so pleasant a day that after I had waved the camera in the general direction of the church it seemed to good to return home. A short diversion to a local plant shop and the purchase of some plants I headed for the river at Allington and the last lock on the river Medway.
An Uncle once held the post of Lock Keeper during the nineteen fifties and so it was a nostalgic trip remembering the lock as it was in all seasons and remembering too how it was when I was a child. Today it is a tidy, railed, safe place in comparison and although the day was a warm, early Spring day and the tidal flow had not backed up the lower reaches, I remembered the wild waters where it was said that sometimes people drowned. A couple of visitors were sitting in the sun enjoying the peace and some were taking lunch on the benches.
Across the river is the Malta Inn, busy with visitors and lunches and the Kent Life Museum busy with visitors and school trippers. On both sides of the river workers were making good walkways and kerbs to improve even more the attraction of the place.
However, a pleasant walk with the camera waving around was had and also a chat with a barge owner later when I went to have a look up beyond the pub. I didn’t indulge, it was crowded and was more interested in the boats then the inside of a pub. Strange to say.
Both the Inn and the Museum are worth visiting and a wander around the lock and maybe up beyond to find Allington castle and the marina, both of which can be seen from the Inn side of the river by walking about four hundred metres or so up river toward Maidstone. I am saving that walk for a Saturday when we have the dog with us.
It was a pleasant experience to have chat with a bargeman about the drought and how it affects the river. He talked of the 1976 drought and his father having to book up for a place on the locks and remarked that there were now less boats using the river. We talked about our preferences; he liked the motorised barges and I liked the sails but said to him that I liked boats anyway. He suggested I come along in the summer with a paint brush and help out with the painting. Might be a nice idea.
In the Summer months there are river trips to and from Maidstone and with the trees on the banks and the attraction of travelling leisurely on water I can recommend a day of exploration. Park and ride to Maidstone, walk around the town and gravitate to the river, take a boat trip, have a walk around Allington and perhaps dive into the pub for a drink and a meal. Or you could park at the pub, have a walk around, have a drink and a meal and then take a trip to Maidstone and back.
For me the walk around the lock and along the river is more attractive than sitting in the pub but with company sitting in the pub for a while is pleasant especially on a nice day when you can sit outside by the river. It was a good excursion. (What a nice 19th C word that last one is)