Greetings from Gravesend

Being a student in the Medway towns is an interesting experience. This little corner of the world has never been known for its endless attractions and activities. However, we don’t let this defeat us. If we have to make our own fun, we will and when boredom strikes what better way to fill a few hours than to take an 11.3-mile stroll along Medway’s picturesque motorways to the glorious town of Gravesend.


It was a beautiful Tuesday afternoon. The sun had been taunting us all morning as we soldiered through our media law exam in a stuffy hall. After a quick Tesco meal deal it was time to finally enjoy the uncharacteristically good weather and venture out on a walk, which began with the end goal of Great Lines park fifteen minutes from our accommodation. Little did we anticipate we would not return for another four hours.


The spontaneity began churning out of us the moment we reached the top of the hill in the park and spied the Pentagon centre in Chatham below. Never ones to resist an adventure, we made our way over the other side of the hill and into the mall. Realizing that the Pentagon was a little off fulfilling our wildest dreams, we made the executive decision to keep moving and settle in Rochester for coffee. Rochester and then home. Or so we thought.


Often as we’ve passed through Rochester on the train we admire a green bridge linking the castle town to the great unknown that is Strood. On this sunny day, we decided it was about time we investigated the bridge and the world beyond we had only heard the conductor announce over the tanoy on the train. The first thing to catch our eye as we made the crossing was red graffiti reading, “Bollox Brexit” and from that moment on we knew we were in for a treat.


The pivotal moment on our journey through the town of Strood was the spotting of a road sign reading, “Gravesend A2” and pointing us in the direction of our new goal. We were making it to Gravesend. Why? Because why not? And so, admittedly using the train route as a reason to presume Gravesend comes after Strood, we set off, embracing our inner Dora and Diego, and enthusiastically began our hike.


Everything was going swimmingly. We were enjoying the fresh air, taking in the new surroundings and then we reached the motorway. We were quickly made aware of the thinning path ahead of us and had to channel Usain Bolt a number of times until we reached safe ground again in the next town of Higham. It was becoming very apparent we had left the industrial catchment in Medway and entering into the yellow field towns of Kent.


After Higham came Shorne and after Shorne came … well just more road seeming to lead nowhere. We were starting to droop and doubt our decision to become marathon walkers. Legs shaking and feet blistering we consulted our dear friend Google Maps to hopefully discover the end was near. Unfortunately this was not the case. The phone broke the news that there was still an hour of trudging in the heat until we would reach the outskirts of our destination.


We carried on, the morale was low but we pushed through the pain. Gravesend would be conquered and we both knew there was a McDonald’s waiting for us if we continued to put one foot in front of the other. And that’s exactly what we did until eventually, lit up by the rays of sunshine, we spotted the signpost welcoming us to Gravesend. We grinned at each other. This was a greater accomplishment than anything we’d known before. We’d made it, now we just had to walk the extra thirty minutes to the train station on the other side of the town.


Needing the toilet and a sit down, we set off up the hill. We walked. And walked. And walked. After we passed through the rows of streets mostly consisting of chip shops we locked in on our target; Maccy D’s. Chicken nuggets have never tasted so good and I presume never will again. We were fulfilled in that moment. No one believed, but we had achieved it.


Tired, satisfied and rather chuffed with ourselves we dragged our weary feet the last five minutes to the train station. With a train arriving in three minutes nothing could dent our happiness. We joyfully approached the train doors, stepped on to the carriage, only to clock that it was rush hour and packed. So, despite our heroic achievement, there really was no rest for the wicked and we stood on our broken little feet all the way back to Gillingham.