Wednesday, 23 November 2011


Last night, while carrying a very heavy box, I missed a step and landed on my ankle. Nothing's broken fortunately but the ligaments are busted and I can barely walk today. Doctor said it will take up to 6 weeks to get better so the next two walks will have to be postponed until the new year. I'm really frustrated but I can barely walk to the kitchen at the moment so 10 miles on Saturday is sadly out of the question. I'll let you know when the last two legs will be.

Hope to see you then!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Part 5 Greenford to South Hendon

So after last week with only me, this walk looked like it would be the busiest yet with a possible 8 people signed up. But illness, injury, alcohol and laziness meant that the cancellations came thick and fast and as I arrived at Greenford I was only expecting to meet my Mum Anna and her friend Jenny. And then outside the station there was Steve who had recovered from illness and was ready to walk! And so at 10.15 we set off (and were good and not distracted by the giant Hobbycraft at the shopping centre)

The first section was back on the canal and again it soon felt like you were out of the city.

And the hills and views were awesome.

Snacks for the day included Mum's bunch of bananas and my homemade apple flapjack. Steve, who had negelected to bring any snacks on the first leg, made up for it by providing fruit, crisps and chocolate buttons to share. I like how the flapjack matches the autumnal tones.

After mostly parks and hills and some generic suburbia, we hound ourselves in Harrow, home of posh houses, the famous public school and a wall with a hole for the tree root.

Even on a Saturday there were teenage boys in morning suits, presumably on their school break.

London is full of juxtapositions but this was probably the biggest example of wealth and inherited privelege I'd come accross to far on the walk. It was beautiful, but I have to say, didn't really sit well.

A teacher in gown walking down the hill.

The view back to the hill across the playing fields and I don't know how many rugby pitches.

And after a bit more walking we were half way round at South Kenton station

After a quick stop at Preston Road tube to use the loo we carried on past parades of Indian and Polish shops and into more woods. Here's Steve inside a tree.

There was a pond

and a trig point with a view of Wembley Arch. It looked so much closer than it does in the photo and it's amazing to think that on the very first walk we were straining to see it as a smudge on the horizon.

At that point, Mum and Jenny headed down the hill and off the Wembley Park station leaving me and Steve to power on for the final few miles.


I might be wrong but I think the capital ring signs send you miles and miles round and about these fields rather than a quick, straightfoward crossing. But fortunately by this time we were deep in conversation about the markets, the eurozone crisis, the occupy movement, the coming financial doom, how come the world is set up to reward nasty, greedy people and why is the only way we can continue to carry on our way of life as we know it by keeping them happy and making them richer so that "the markets" don't get in a flap. Although we made it across to the other side of the fields we didn't, sadly, come up with an answer. Apparently my tactic of "everyone just be nice to everyone else" isn't a workable way to fix the economy...

Oh and there were berries. But we didn't know what they were so we didn't eat them.

After the fields to majority of the rest of the walk was pretty suburban. Just lots and lots of streets that all pretty much look like this one.

Until we got to Brent resevoir.

This crossing was for us to stop traffic both ways on the narrow bridge and let us walk across it. And it's also the second crossing of note in this blog so far (the other was the pegasus horse crossing at Richmond.) Who knew I'd find such dull things so very exciting?

Bridge across the M1

One of the fascinating things about this walk was the different communities we went through. Obviously London is filled with immigrant communities from all over the world but you really noticed it on this leg. Wembley has a big Asian population and then crossing over into Hendon you noticed suddenly the majory of the people were wearing yamulkes. One of the reason's I love London so much is, despite what people will try to tell you, multiculturalism is working and people are living their lives peacefully, side-by-side and well.

Steve at the offical end of the walk. 3.45p.m. We made it with half an hour to spare before sundown.

The Holocaust memorial garden.
Hendon tube looking beautiful. And the best bit was it's Nothern line so all I had to do was sit (for 23 stops) to get home.

Meet me here on the 26th November?

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Meeting time

So the clocks have gone back and sunset on Saturday is at 4.16 pm.
Which means we really need to be finished by then (or else we'll most likely get lost and the photos will be rubbish).

So to be on the safe side, and as it looks like there will be a few of us, I'm proposing meeting at Greenford tube/overground station at 10 am. The walk is either 10.8 miles of 11.7 depending on who you believe and with time for snacks and sit downs and people running late I reckon starting at 10 is the safest option. Let me know if that's going to be a problem.

And speaking of snacks I'm going to bring flapjack and maybe some cupcakes and I'll have a think about what else. If you wanted to bring some snacks to share that'd be lovely.

If you are planning on coming and don't have my number, email me

See you Saturday

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Part 4 Richmond to Greenford

So it turns out other people have lives, Ariel had to work on his App, Sheena had to visit her family in Norfolk, Lucy had a doctors appointment, Lizzie was going to Ikea, Matthew was in Wivenhoe, Emerson was trying to stop Syrian's being tortured. Excuses excuses. So I set off the Richmond on my own. It was however, a beautiful day and after a week in Scotland hanging out in hotel rooms and watching films it was nice to be out in the open air.

At the start of the legs I have been taking photos of the people I walk with by the signs. So here's the first one:

And here's me. Taken with my swanky new phone that has a camera on the front. It also means the picture quality is greatly improved and all the photos are the right way up this time. Hurrah. I look in pain. Not quite sure why.

View back along the Thames to Richmond Bridge.

The river was gorgeous at this point- it was low tide and it didn't remotely feel like the same river as at Woolwich. In fact the majority of this walk didn't feel like London at all. Compared to the last one which went practically by my house, this took me to completely different areas I'd never been to before. Which is kind of the whole point.

House boats

At one point the path actually goes straight through the veranda of a pub. Note the picturesque church in the background.

And then to Syon Park. Whose history is awe-inspiring. Henry VIII and Capability Brown on one plaque- my kind of place.
It did feel, looking across the meadow at the grazing animals a bit like you were stepping back in time....except for being right underneath the flight path to Heathrow.

And after the park it was onto the Grand Union canal. Which if you followed it far enough and took one of the branches would lead you to my home town of Market Harborough. And depressingly enough I think the canal-side development would look almost exactly the same.

A less-glamourous section of the canal path

The canal and GSK head offices

This really could be Leicestershire

This is roughly the half way point of this leg and in fact the whole capital ring. Unfortunately I couldn't find the official marker of the end of leg 7 and the beginning of leg 8. But it's roughly here.

I stopped at the locks as a boat was passing through. I love locks.

Snack for today was a variation of The Best Coleslaw In The World. Carrots, beetroot, Raisins and Mayo. Sadly not quite enough mayo and no spring onions at this time of year but still, pretty darn awesome.

This bit of the path was underwater

Viaduct designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. If you ever get a chance to go to the Brunel Museum in Rotherhithe- do. It's awesome. And also did you know his sister was described as Brunel in petticoats and probably had a finer mathematical brain than he did but as a woman in the Victorian age was unable to fulfil her potential? Well now you do.

Again just lots of greenery and not much else to say. It was very pretty and not at all like being in London. Although what this walk has taught me so far is that there are far more golf courses in London than I anticipated.

If you squint (a lot) in the background is the wembley arch- the only London landmark I saw on the whole walk.

And finally it was out of the parks and over a very ugly bridge over a busy road.

To the end of the walk, outside a shopping park. And with that I was over half way round. 44 miles done, 34 to go. Join me next time?

One last thing. The escalators at Greenford station were wooden. Which I thought was pretty awesome.