Sunday, 1 April 2012

Capital Ring 2012

I decided to walk the capital ring route as my own mark of being a Londoner in The Olympic Year. It is a 78 miles route which loops round London going through parks and woods with Charing Cross as a central point about 10 miles away.
I started the walk with my 25 yr godson Alastair and we may do the whole walk together or i might link up with different friends for the different sections. I shall walk about 10 miles per section and i hope to enjoy the parks and architecture of different parts of London.   
The Capital Ring 1 April 1 Woolwich to New Eltham: Light, history and renewal
This 8 mile walk was suffused with a sense of new beginning. It was fun to be starting a new walk and spring was evident everywhere, in the fresh new leaves on the trees and the rustlings of small animals in the undergrowth.  The view of the Thames here is impressive, it is a quarter of a mile wide at this point and was reflecting the light. We looked upstream at the futurist domes of the Thames barrier and beyond to Canary Wharf. Opposite us the planes took off from my favourite airport, London City, favourite because of its size and speed and the wonderful views one gets of the City as one lands there.  Charlton Park seemed like a manicured space with mown lawns, mature trees and people playing football in the sun. The route wound through the woods of Shooters Hill and Oxleas woods. Underneath the triangular Severndrooge Tower, a dilapidated monument to a long forgotten battle in India we had a fantastic views out over south London to the north Downs.  We ended our walk in New Eltham where the streets were pink with cherry blossom and we replenished ourselves with fish and chips.  The Shard dominated the beginning and end of our journey. It rises straight out of London Bridge station and reflects the light in interesting angles. There was also another link to an older time on the river. The building work at London b ridge was enclosed in a huge Canaletto (1720) picture of the river full of barges and boatmen, very different to the nautical quietness on the river now.  We ended our day in The George pub, a balconied Southwark pub several centuries old. I sensed  London’s ongoing renewal , there were modern new waterside flats, a military hospital had been converted into private apartments and Woolwich has been improved with a fine new station in nautical white and blue.  

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