Monday, 11 May 2009

Hammersmith to Osterley – (Middlesex) – 11/05/09 – 7 Miles – Helen.

Having negotiated Hammersmith bus and underground station our walk started in earnest as we crossed under Hammersmith bridge and picked up the Thames towpath. Although there was something of a windy chill in the air it was also a bright day, and by the time we had got to Barnes bridge both me and Helen were walking sans her fleece and my body warmer. As Helen is an expert at carrying clothing attached to her rucksack, I decided to follow suit rather than just the usual stuffing it inside effort. All this served to prove however was how useless I was at this, and so I eventually had to stuff the thing in my bag anyway.

Once under Barnes bridge though we found the towpath was sectioned off due to work going on under the bridge. At which point we were left on the ‘far safer’ twelve inch wide footpath, with cars hurtling towards us. One quick leap over the wall and we were back on the towpath, before we both became a pair of accident statistics. Past Mortlake Brewery and just before Chiswick Bridge we both stopped for Coffee. I had a cup and small rocky bar, whilst Helen had a Big Mug as well as a Large Snickers. Thus with refreshments over we set off again and soon found ourselves approaching Kew Bridge, making a mental note to do a river trip to Westminster, from the jetty there on a future occasion.

Once at the bridge we crossed over it joining the towpath on the Brentford side. Now this side of the river was new exploration ground for me (something I don’t usually like), and something I was not convinced about, having looked at the London A to Z map as well as Google. Basically I wanted to stay out of Brentford high street and Half Acre and instead follow the Towpath all the way to the Grand Union Canal (and then home). So having tentatively started off with Helen admiring all the houseboats by Kew Bridge, it transpired that you could actually follow the Thames Path signs and they would take you all the way to the Grand Union Canal. Albeit the signs do this with a few small sections where you are diverted back out onto the road for 50 yards or so. However being me I decided that this was all a little too simple to be convincing, and so I eventually took us both out on to the road walking some 400 yards in the wrong direction. Finally realising my error we returned to where we had come out and where the signage got us back on the towpath 50 yards further on in the opposite direction. To be fair I had got a little disorientated by all the samey new build waterside apartments and run down boatyards. Yet even then I was not convinced, and having finally flipped at a road called Brent Way, it took Helen’s A to Z to convince me that we were heading in the right direction. From there it was plain sailing and we soon found ourselves on the Capital Ring link taking us back to Osterley along the canal towpath.

So overall a nice little walk at a good pace, on a pleasant Spring day. Also providing you follow the signs, you can do 98% of it along the waterside. Ultimately however this is one for me to do in future starting a little bit further out, such as from Putney Bridge (I must mention that to Helen).

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