London Outer Orbital Path (Sections 9-6)   11 comments

Planned (from TFL descriptors): 23.8 miles
Actual logged (detours and bad sense of direction): 27.6 miles

 

 

I haven’t done a segment of the LOOP since March (Sections 13 and 14) and, in fact, have been slacking on my mileage since then so today’s run was really ambitious.  But, after seeing Jackie off to almost certain doom in one of Trumps Gulags, I had nothing better to do and picked up the trail where I started Section 10, in Hatton Cross.

 

 

The path was almost immediately blocked along the River Crane.  Under the bridge, there, I found some old VCR tape strung decoratively over my makeshift urinal.

 

 

Through an Industrial Estate and across Staines Road I picked up the path again and spotted a bit of wildlife.

 

 

I also took a bridge too early and got stuck at a dead-end of an island between two streams.  Rather than go back past the three homeless guys fishing down the path, I climbed a tree, lowered myself onto some river debris to another tree and pulled myself ashore on the correct side:

 

 

Finding the right bridge, I then got a bit lost in Hounslow Heath (which could be worse, so no complaints):

 

 

Now 4 miles into the day, I took a brief rest at the Duke of York.

 

 

Just down from the pub, the path turns left into Crane Park where you find an old gunpowder mill.  The Shot Tower, as it is known, is open to climb on Sunday afternoons:

 

 

At the bottom of Crane Park, I opted to divert slightly to get to Bushy Park where I would pick up the trail, again.  To cross the busy roads, there are a couple of underpasses:

 

 

Before entering Bushy Park, commissioned by Henry VIII for hunting, I stopped for more nourishment at the Bloated Mallard pub and the Carp & Trout Fish and Chips.

 

I was halfway across the park from these signs before I saw my first venison:

 

Then, they were rife:

My exit was in Kingston-upon-Thames where I immediately fell for these art deco flats:

 

 

There was beer at the Old King’s Head (write-up to follow) but Kingston is rich with pubs.

 

It is also an especially lovely town.  I must come back and see the stone where so many Saxon kings were crowned and there is a wealth of Restoration era sightseeing to do here.

 

A bit less lovely — but more, erm, fragrant — than K-u-T is the sewage treatment facility the trail sidles up to for about a mile.  I spotted these disused aeration/flocculation tanks at the far end of this offensive segment.

 

Under the bridge by Berrylands Station you finally clear this odourous bit (but Surbiton Cemetery might be worth a visit).  At a sports ground, I stopped for beer at Woodie’s Freehouse before continuing on.

 

At Woodie’s, I realised I was knackered and I may not have paid as much attention to sightseeing as I should have in favour of just keeping the death march pace up.  Not far before the Wheatsheaf in Ewell, there was a bridge for the railroad that afforded a pedestrian passage albeit a short one:

 

 

Just out of Ewell, the path skirts Lady Castlemaine’s pile at Nonesuch Park and (as she essentially sold everything to pay off gambling debts) two “Ghost Roads” that were meant to be part of a housing estate that never went further than pouring these twin concrete slabs.

 

You can barely make out the other one in this picture (look off to the left, parallel to the one on the right):

 

 

The last few miles were torture not least of which due to me making a stupid turn and running down a long hill then having to return.  There was part of the London LOOP marked through a golf course (do pay attention as you go through).

The Jack and Jill was meant to be my last stop but I found it so refreshing that I grabbed some fish at The Mount chippy around the corner then coasted downhill to the Smugglers for a nightcap ahead of the train home.  Shorter segments coming up, and I’ll do these in the direction the documentation suggests (instead of, like today, backwards).

 

 

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