And so I started on the final leg. Feeling like a real pilgrim, walking the ancient street and lanes of Cobham, in the pleasant January sunshine. Past the avenue leading to Cobham Hall, now a girls' school, and the golf course, already busy. Overtaken by a cyclist as I approach the fascinating Mausoleum, being restored. Then it was down through woodland to the railway, and then onto the North Downs way.
I saw two groups of Ramblers, not going my way. Waited for one of them, who turned out to be walking to a pub for lunch. I imagined that they would eat before I did, and went on my lonely way.
The North Downs Way is clearly marked, and was a wonderful way to approach Rochester. Instead of following the railway into the city, I crossed the concrete vastness of the Medway bridge, a ten minute walk, with motorway traffic flashing by unheeding, as if to emphasise the difference between their pace and mine. And then picked up the Centenary Path into Rochester, through a nature reserve and along the river.
Walked up past the castle to the Cathedral, where I took a photograph before heading off for lunch. Explored the length of the main street, glanced into the Golden Lion – now a Wetherspoon's – but decided on the George at the other end, by the Cathedral. Felt rather grubby and underdressed, but the food was interesting and good value. Took a look at the 13th century vaults before I left.