The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Day 6 - Maze Hill to Kew

27 March
Distance: 19 miles
Number of runners seen: about 3000 (I may be exaggerating slightly)

Arriving back at Maze Hill just before 7.30 this morning, off towards the Thames Path we headed via what appeared to be the shortest sensible route. It turned out not to be the shortest route when (proving once again the difficulties that can be had in navigating around a city with a 1:50k map) we missed a turning and found that we had walked half a mile out of our way. A further re-route was soon planned to rectify the situation, and so back to the Thames we went.

We did leave the riverside every now and then (either because the Path made us, or because we had chosen a different route) and headed through the local streets and across parkland. A few things struck us, mainly how everywhere was absolutely deserted; how peaceful it was; and how clean everywhere was. Quite a contrast to the litter of Kent.

Gradually more and more runners were seen, as the hour became more reasonable for people to be about, and then as we passed Tower Bridge it was like we had been transported to a whole different place; so many people! We didn't really blend in with the other tourists, with our walking poles and backpacks, but we still enjoyed the sights.

With Westminster immediately opposite us, we noticed that the crowds had disappeared, and once again we were alone with the runners, at which point I wondered out loud how many of them were in training for the London Marathon, which is now just a month away.

In the strange way of these things, only a few minutes after having this discussion, a runner slowed down to ask us about our walk. Julia was her name, and it turned out that she is in training for the Marathon. She also became the source for our first donation of the day (Thank you Julia, and good luck in the marathon!).

Having fairly sped along, we seemed to take an age getting through Battersea Park, but that was perhaps because we paused for half an hour for a cup of tea and to watch some small children liberally smearing themselves with mud as they entertained themselves (and all of the onlookers at the tea-shop) by rolling repeatedly down a muddy bank.

Back on the river, our luck with avoiding the rain ran out temporarily. It wasn't too long-lasting though and just as we were starting to feel uncomfortably soggy (having not bothered pausing for waterproof trousers) the shower passed by - phew!

By this time a couple of rendezvous had been arranged. Barry (who, along with Penny, has kindly given us a bed for tonight, and who walked with us for the rest of the day) was found in amongst an absolute throng of people and boats at Putney, where something of a rowing event was going on with dozens upon dozens of boats.

Having cut off a meander in the river, we were away from the throngs for a while, until we crossed over the river where we caught the tail end of the race. In between, however, we also bumped into two chaps called Adam and Ben with whom we chatted about our walk (Thanks for the donations Adam and Ben - much appreciated).

Vic and Juan were our next potential rendezvous, along with 3-week old Matilda. We approached each other just as we were reaching the end of the day, but having finished the day we backtracked to the nearest pub where we stayed until another heavy shower (with Harry the dog we couldn't go inside) forced us to go our separate ways.

It was another good and interesting day through London, albeit the constant hard surfaces have been a bit hard on the feet. Tomorrow we head out of London, along the Grand Union Canal.

1 comment:

  1. The navigation should get easier once you can again see power lines :-)