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.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Change of dates


I've been pretty busy recently. I've been travelling a fair bit for work (Liverpool and Stoke last week, Wales this week and a full week in Scotland next week) and I've also spent the last two weekends working 12 hour days at the Cheltenham literature festival. It's been awesome but means I only had 5 days off in October and on 3 of those I was supposed to be walking. I've decided then to wimp out give myself a break and take this Saturday off. I'm going to have a lie in, buy some wool, watch terrible TV, crochet and play with my new phone. I'll be back on track in Richmond on the 29th. I'm still walking on all the same days it will just be different parts of the route on those days. You can see the full schedule here. It also gives me some time to round up some more people to walk with me. How about you? Join me!

xx Lizzie

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Part 3 Streatham to Richmond

Saturday was the day for my third Capital Ring walk. Saturday was the 1st October. Saturday was 28 degrees. I don't know about you but I need to start stocking up for when the climate wars come. But ignoring freak weather and the threat of impending doom, we loaded up with water, smothered ourselves in factor 50 and walked the mile from my house to the start of walk 5.

Here is Hannah posing up a storm at the start of the walk. Hannah is one of my best friends from Uni and was one of my best London friends until she selfishly abandoned me to be a speach therapist in a hospital in Margate. Rude I say. Once we got to Streatham we essentially had to double back on ourselves and head to Tooting Common. On the way we passed this beautiful building.

Which is, in fact, a pumping station. You crazy victorians, you.

Tooting Bec Common is one of my favourite places in London. When I first moved down I lived about 30 seconds from it and now I'm about a minute away. It's beautiful, open, filled with such a mix of people and it makes living in London a lot more pleasant. I felt a bit strange walking through it as part of this walk, as it's just where I live.

I tried to remember to take photos as I would if it wasn't somewhere I saw everyday. This is the castle. I can actually see this from the other side from my kitchen window. According to my letting agent it's the gatehouse from when the common was a hunting ground. I don't know if that has any truth in it but I like the story. As you can see my phone camera is all a bit smudged with suncream at this point. Sorry about that!

From the common we took a ludicrously round about route to get to Balham. I guess the capital ring does that in a lot pf places but I only noticed here because I know all the roads. Still I insisted we follow it exactly- got to do these things properly! And very shortly we arrived at Wandsworth Common (a route I didn't know and will be using in the future)

Here we stopped for out first snack- apples (in their crocheted apple jackets!)

Hannah took some much better photos than me of the lake in the common

What neither of us have a picture of is Wandsworth Prison which you walk past after leaving Wandsworth Common. Three fun facts about Wandsworth Prison:
  1. Oscar Wilde was held there
  2. Patrick Gayle's dad was prison warder there (Who's Partick Gayle? Read this now)
  3. I have had the most frustrating time for the past 9 months trying and failing to volunteer there
After the prison it was mostly streets to Earlsfield and on to Wimbledon except for a brief interlude through the cemetery.

There was little of interest on the streets of Earlfield to be honest. This is the best I found. A mosque built in 1977:
We made it to the end of the official 5th walk

And were joined by Emerson and his bike

We were all pretty hot and flustered by this point from the walking and the cycling so we sat down in Wimbledon Park and ate luch. Home-made Spanish tortilla by me

And home-made lemon drizzle by Hannah

Suitably rejuvinated we carried on past the signs to the All England Tennis Club, past some pretty incongrous luxury homes and onto Wimbledon Common. I only ever seem to come to Wimbledon Common during freak weather. Last time I had only been in London a few months and decided to come exploring on a stupidly hot March day. I had plans of sitting on the grass reading my book but ended up wandering for hours, lost, in the baking heat with no leaves on any of the trees. It was pretty freaky. Thankfully this time I had a map, company and also it was the Big Draw!
Me and Hannah got stuck in with the drawing while Emerson wussed out/showed his artistic side another way by taking some very pretty pictures. Here are our efforts:

And our inspiration:
The windmill was also open to the public for free that day so we climbed up inside to see all the workings
Sadly we didn't learn how girls can help to build the Empire because the book was in a glass case.

As you can see I can't work out how to rotate photos, but if you tilt your head you can see the Common. And if you look very closely you might be able to see Wombles.

After Wimbledon common we crossed at a Peagusus crossing and into Richmond Park.

And then this happened:

And my poor little iPhone was broken beyond repair...

Although silver lining- it was still functioning enough for me to rescue the photos off it and to sync everything else!
And I'm due for an upgrade anyway. Crisis averted!
And as an extra bonus- all of the photos from this point onwards are off a much better quality camera!
Plus we had ice cream to cheer ourselves up! Or rather Emerson and I had ice cream, Hannah had a Solero *shudder*

Richmond Park was like a beautiful country meadow. Although I said that and then it was pointed out to me that was the name of the ice cream we had just eaten. It turns out I am outrageously susceptable to advertising.

We got a bit off track but it did mean we got an amazing veiw across London

And saw even more deer.

You can see St Pauls Cathedral through the gap in the trees. Protected veiw dontcha know?

Can anyone tell me how to rotate these photos?

Out of Richmond Park and back to the Thames. It was getting late, we were tired and the tide was high.
We made it to the end
With the flash you can see the exhaustion on their faces! This is the longest leg of my walks and I reckon we walked at least an extra mile to the start point. Emerson joined half way through but had already cycled 16 miles and then pushed his bike for the rest of the route.

We rewarded ourselves with chips

And beer

It was amazing.

Come with me next time?