The Long Walk to Windsor Castle appeals to Dean and I the moment we read about it. Certainly, it appeals much more than spending several hours walking around Windsor Castle itself. We tack it on to a quick wander around the Saville Garden, not realising that all up we’ve signed ourselves (and Dean’s mum and boyfriend) up to a mammoth total hike.
The day is clear, but cold, one of the coldest of our time in England so far. I’m dressed in the full cold nine: scarf, gloves, coat, layers and even two pairs of socks. We only have a few hours of daylight, and we’re definitely going to make the most of them.
Initially, our walk is shaded, in between hedges in the woods. We spot deer in the distance, but mostly it’s just a leisurely stroll through country lanes.
Then we get to The Long Walk.
The copper horse is the sign of its beginning. It’s a statue of George III, and technically it marks the end of The Long Walk. However, we’re walking it in reverse, coming from Saville Garden all the way to Windsor Castle, and back again. It’s a magnificent statue, with a pretty incredible outlook. We climb to the peak of the hill to see it in full: The Long Walk spread out below us like a concrete slash on the green landscape.
Very, very, very far into the distance, we can see Windsor Castle. From here, it appears more like a mirage than real life. From start to finish the walk is about 4.25km, and the first bit is easy. It’s nice to stretch your legs with a view like that ahead, and the closer we get to Windsor Castle the more is seems to materialise out of the cold fog of the day.
Around halfway, there’s a little house, probably for a ranger or something similar. I can’t help but think that it would be a stunning place to live, and to see the surroundings change with the seasons. The only issue would be the constant pedestrian traffic!
When we finally get to the gate of Windsor Castle, I’m exhausted. Still, it’s an incredible place, and only the second castle I’ve ever seen in my travels. Windsor Castle is a fantastic castle to see, holding the record as the largest occupied castle in the world. I’m in awe of that kind of history, recognising that we don’t have anything like it in Australia. Civilisation at this level, with thick stone walls for defence. Well, we just didn’t need that in Australia. Although I’ve certainly seen history older than this, much older, in the form of rock art while at Kakadu, this amazes me just the same.
On the way back, Dean seems to be running still on all cylinders, but we’re both hungry after having failed to adequately fuel up for the day. I remain exhausted, and by the time we get halfway back, I’m seriously flagging, and so is the day. The sun sets around us as we madly make our way back, not eager to be making that same long walk back in the dark, but the day gets the better of us.
Finally, after what seems a lifetime making our way to the horizon, we make it back to the Saville Garden carpark. Footsore, but thankful that the cafe is still open, we stop for a quick food fuel up and start on the drive home. It’s a cold night, but we’ve a few more adventures in us yet.