Saturday, 31 May 2008

Wimbledon Park to Osterley – (Surrey) – 31/05/08 – 11 miles approx – Walk London.

This walk being one of 39 organised over two days by Walk London as part of their Spring Into Summer weekend. The actual walk itself being a 7.5 mile section of the 78 mile Capital Ring, and travels from Wimbledon Park (tube) to Richmond Station. At the end of which I carried on with the Capital Ring for another 3.5 miles, until I had reached Osterley.

A group of about 20+ walkers gathered at Wimbledon Park Tube for the 10.30am start, 4 of which were leaders of some sort. So having made our way into the park, we found ourselves being photographed by a local press man in order to publicise the (London wide) event. Everyone seemed chatty and happy to be there, none more so than our ultimate leader Jill, who as well as being an ultra 24 hour walker, is also some sort of Bat Warden (as if walking round the Isle of Wight coast for 24 hours didn’t make you enough of a super hero).

Having left the tennis courts and the hidden athletics stadium behind, we were soon out on the road which I recognised as part of the approach to the (not close enough to be visible) All England Lawn Tennis Club. However a diversion off of that and we were on Wimbledon Common, with its famous windmill. By the time we reached Putney Heath, it did start to look as if the heavens were about to open at any moment. Thankfully in the event not, with the only nuisance value being the Mountain bike fraternity and a few horses.

Having crossed the footbridge over the A3 we were into Richmond Park via the Robin Hood gate, where we cut straight across the park. This being a whole new and unrecognisable section of Richmond Park for me, as I have tended in the past to stick to the perimeters. The beauty of it being you are not being hassled by either motorists or cyclists (as is the case in some sections). We then stopped for some snacks upon a pile of logs, where leader Jill thoughtfully provided some Swiss Roll, for the likes of me who hadn’t brought anything along. While her husband and other leader Dave gave me a handy map of the whole 78 mile Capital Ring.

Then it was onwards onto Pembroke Lodge and what is the highest point of Richmond Hill, called Henry VIII’s Mound. There a telescope is thoughtfully provided free, and if you look through it at a gap through the bushes, you can see St. Pauls Cathedral. Apparently this was where Henry kept a look out for smoke from the Tower of London, to signal when Anne Boleyn had just had her breakfast ruined. Unfortunately even with the telescope’s help, none of us could see the Tower or Windsor Castle, which are also supposed to be visible.

We eventually left the park at the gate by the Dysart Arms pub and picked up a small path till we came to Petersham Meadows where other leaflets were handed out. Then it was onto the Thames Towpath in order to come off just after Richmond Bridge and the finish of the scheduled walk, with a few questions (for the TFL types who were sponsoring this) as to what did we like the most/least etc.

At this point I carried on alone along the towpath on what is still part of the scheduled Capital Ring. This involved crossing Twickenham Footbridge, and a few forced diversions in and out from the river, until I came to Syon Park. Having crossed through there, where some sort of posh wedding was taking place, I picked up the Grand Union Canal in Brentford, coming off at the Gt. West Road, and home for tea.

Incidentally I did take some more/better pictures than the two shown here, but like one of the days on Hadrians Wall, I inadvertently left the camera on macro, leaving the results in blurryvision.

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