05 August, 2006

Around London III

After a break of several weeks, I was, at last, today able to resume my attempt to circumnavigate London on foot.

I say attempt, but there's no way I'm not going to do it - bar the end of the world, or I lose both my legs, or something equally trivial. Still, I'd been itching to get back out and carry on walking, having previously been prevented in doing so by the unreasonably hot weather and work commitments.

Yes, even on a weekend I have been unable to escape the office of late, thanks to a system whereby members of staff take it in turns to "look after" the website out of hours for a week at a time. My shift ended yesterday, hence the recent markedly infrequent (more markedly than usual) updating of this blog.

Anyhow today I was able to pick up where I left off - West Ham station - and press onwards in a clockwise direction, notching up my biggest daily tally so far: no less than thirteen and a half miles. I know this is peanuts when set aside the accomplishment of those John O'Groats to Land's End veterans like Sir Jimmy Savile and Ian Botham, but it felt like a hell of a distance to me. Especially as it had suddenly got hot again. And especially as the route was particularly thankless.

The problem was precisely down to the period of time between today and the last time I walked. Specifically what has happened in the interim. Namely, sun. Where once I was able to enjoy strolling through very pleasant and agreeable forests of green, today I found only mile upon mile of brown. And when you've seen one patch of burned grass, you've seen them all.

I really couldn't believe how much dust and straw there was. It made great chunks of the route boring and thankless. I know - I hope - I would have enjoyed it more in cooler, more temperate climes. As it was I kept pushing on in the belief I would get to another bit of shady forest or quiet suburbia. Hence the higher than normal tally of miles.

Highlights included approaching and then crossing the River Thames, which I did via the Woolwich free ferry; getting a wonderful view of the North Downs; stumbling upon a flock of white doves; and finding, yet again, most of the route entirely deserted of people.

I'm now heading west for the first time, and feel like I'm making real progress. Indeed, the next leg, I reckon, should see me pass the halfway mark. As long as there's not too much sun. And something other than parched earth under my feet.

Day 3: West Ham - Falconwood
Miles Added: 13.5
Total Miles Completed: 30.5
Total Miles Outstanding: 47.5


Blogger Stupid Girl said...

Hey Alistar

I'm so impressed! What a cool idea to walk all over a city. That been said, I have actually never been in London, strange coincidences because I've been around (USA, Africa, Central Europe, Mediteraian, Scottland) but never GB and London. I have no clue about London, but I'm going over in the middle of September for 10 days. Most of the time I will work, but I will spend a lot of time to experience London.

I like your blog, and will keep an eye on it!

11:10 pm  

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