06 July, 2006

Around London

I began my circumnavigation of the city today.

I'd been itching to get started all week, but the offensively hot weather kept me inside. Following yesterday's downpours, however, I decided to take a chance by getting up early this morning and seeing how far I got before either my compulsion, or my legs, or both, gave way.

I actually managed eight miles, and would have gone further but the battery in my camera ran down, I came to a part of the route that had been temporarily closed off for repair, and it was lunchtime. Plus I was only five minutes from the nearest Underground station.

But I was fairly impressed with how far I'd come, especially as most of it was in, yes, the pouring rain. Given it was a weekday, I also found myself walking great long stretches of the route completely alone. This didn't bother me, though, and other than a bizarre exchange with a young child who broke off from talking to his mum to tell me about how he was going to buy a newspaper, and a kid in Finsbury Park who asked me if I wanted to play football with him, I hardly said a word to anyone.

I've already mentioned the route that I'm following. It's fairly decently signposted, at least it has been so far, but for a short spell in Queen's Wood in Highgate where I got lost and found myself walking inside a drainage ditch. According to the leaflets which I'm using as a guide, the section I walked today was one of the greenest of the whole circuit. It was certainly one of the most genteel and agreeable. At times I could have been strolling through the Cotswolds.

Heaven knows how long it will take me to complete the circumnavigation, but just to have made a start has filled me with a sense of enthusiasm and inspiration to press on. As Claire Rayner would say. Now all I need is another day without too much sun. Knowing London, that'll be in about three months time.

Day 1: Hendon - Finsbury Park
Miles Completed: 8
Miles Outstanding: 70


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