Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Richmond Park – Outer and Inner Loops – (Surrey) – 16/06/09 – 11 Miles – Myself.

An optimistic perspective would find me claiming that I have only put on half a stone in weight in one week. However as pessimism seems to be the overiding emotion regarding all things diet, I am far more likely to say that I have put on one stone in weight, in a mere half a week. However with a free day available to me, here was an opportunity to temporarily free myself from my chocolate bondage, and do one of my favourite walks instead. Thus not only was the 70 degree weather in my favour, but also unlike last time round here, I would be unencumbered by much slower walking companions.

The way I like to do this is to get the 65 bus to the bottom of Ham Gate Avenue, and use this as my start/finish point. Those of you unfamiliar with how large Richmond Park actually is, may wonder how can anyone possibly get an eleven mile walk around a simple park. Well to break that down I make it, based on an approximate 20 minute mile walking pace on my own as: half a mile from Ham Gate Avenue to the Ham Gate entrance, seven miles around the outer loop, three miles around the inner loop, and then another half a mile back from Ham Gate to the end of Ham Gate Avenue. In fact if truth be told I actually think it is nearer twelve miles, but we will leave it as it is for now.

I always get the sense in Richmond Park that all the other multiple users, whether they be: cyclists, joggers, dog walkers, sunbathers etc., spend a lot of their spare time there and by implication must live right next door to the place. No doubt that is entirely in my imagination, but being two bus rides away there is a tinge of envy on my part, and a feeling that if I lived next door to it I would probably still be running. Anyway I don’t, so I don’t (if you get my drift). A perfect example of such local users would probably be the ‘(young) mothers and buggies keep fit group’, I came across near Sheen Gate (an excellent location for that sort of thing, and obviously highly convenient for all involved). Anyway it is rude to stare which probably explains a midge (flying thing) crashing into my eye soon afterwards. So by the time I dislodged that I happened to notice a group of deer keeping out of the Sun under some nearbye trees, and took a number of photographs two of which you can see at the top of this blog.

Lunch was at the usual café by the Golf Club which was almost empty of customers. Mindful of their penchant for charging lots for little, I made sure I checked out the price list before getting too much of a shock at the till. Anyway a Sausage baguette, slice of Genoa cake, and half a litre (you read that right) of Orange juice, came in at £6.30 (slightly cheaper than last time then, so I must be getting the hang of the place). Following lunch I got off the beaten track so to speak, and wandered along the trail by the stream that set Helen off moaning when I wouldn’t let her walk along it, when we were here last September. Anyway this sort of thing is so much better on ones own anyway, the only thing being that I wasn’t, as there appeared to be a meeting of every Blackbird in London taking place at this very spot (unfortunately the camera showed its limitations here, although for their part they wouldn’t keep still).

Following which it was the usual outer circuit down to Robin Hood Gate, Kingston Gate, Ham Gate (again), and the gate by the Dysart Arms public house. From there it was the very steep climb up to Pembroke Lodge/Henry Eighth’s mound, and the start of the inner loop. Walking along the path heading towards Richmond Gate, I spied a group of very young deer on the kerb of the adjoining road munching some grass. Thankfully all of the motorists were sufficiently clued in to slow right down when going past, otherwise the sequel to Bambi will remain a pipe dream (I haven’t included the photo’s with cars in them here, as they misleadingly look as if they are parked, but you should get the idea). So turning right at Richmond Gate, alongside the road again, the full panorama of the London skyline comes into view, but much better viewed with the naked eye, than a hand held telephoto on a cheap digital compact camera (but the picture showing: St Pauls, the Gherkin, and the Millenium Wheel etc., should give you the idea). Looking around, it is also possible to see at one extreme: the Post Office Tower and a little further on Canary Wharf, and right at the other end the arch of the New Wembley Stadium.

Anyway enough of these panoramic lists. So turning right again I headed off towards ‘White Lodge, The Royal Ballet School’ with Roehampton and a playing field full of deer on my left. With Pen Ponds eventually on my right, I came across the mobile tea stand, who to my shock and horror sold coffee but no chocolate. So with that unfulfilling break behind me there was nothing left but to head down towards Ham Gate, along Ham Gate Avenue, and the 65 bus stop.

So overall a very good days walking which: including my lunch and coffee stops, as well as faffing around taking 45 photos (most being the usual rubbish), came in at around four and a half hours. Also as a bonus when I got home I felt around half a stone lighter, well after I had been home some ten minutes anyway.
Walks since last blog entry (1 x seven and a half miler).


  1. I'm one of the Buggyfit mums you mentioned at Sheen Gate but I actually live closer to Robin Hood Gate. I ran around Richmond Park as a young child but it's only since I had my baby that I've taken to walking (and even breaking into a jog occasionally) various routes around the park albeit for only 1-2 miles at a time. It's an incredible space with such different views and vistas each time I go there.
    Keep on with your epic walks and blogging it - you never know, the chocolate may suddenly appear if the Caravan Tea man is a reader!

  2. Hi, thanks for the feedback and sorry for being so late picking it up (I can't seem to get that setting right on blogger that tells me when I have a reply).

    Anyway it's great that you enjoy Richmond Park regularly (it's a rare treat for me to be able to get down there). I regularly pass another mums and buggies keep fit group on Twickenham Green, but as a location for working out, it hardly compares to Richmond Park. Also like you I used to run round it (in a former lifetime) when I used to belong to Ranelagh Harriers. Unfortuntely the older I get the fitter I was. I'm sure you have time on your side though.

    Anyway to get to the real issue, Richmond Park is a little poor on the chocolate front all round really. As when I had a cuppa at the tea stand near Pembroke Lodge on another walk, the best they could come up with was some cruddy Bourbons (Hmmph !)