Archive for the ‘London’ Tag
From the King’s Arms, you pick up the LOOP down a long hill. On a cold, rainy day like this you have to resist the strong urge to bolt into the Old Orchard for a hot coffee with brandy but my willpower was strong.
As always, there were decent sights to take in along the way. Early on, I spotted my first Thomasson in a while: gate posts in good stead nowhere near a fence or, indeed, any structure at all.
The descriptions of Sections 13 and 14 I had read suggested fairly well maintained paths with only a steep hill near the start before leveling out, more or less, for the rest of the trek. Liars! Oh, the initial hill was steep, mind you, but the path was slicker than goose shit, uneven, and in places boggy to knee depths. At a little over ten miles, the run left me feeling beaten and exhausted and took quite a bit longer than I allocated.
The French Tickler tree (nobbled for your pleasure) marked the extent of my horticultural exploration. Of course, as Dorothy Parker said, “you can lead a horticulture but you can’t make her think.”
There were two more pub stops on the route, this day, although another that opens late will get a visit sometime this year. The first was the Rose and Crown just after an uphill climb on a stretch of road with no pedestrian-friendly verge. About a mile later after a wooded journey, Ye Olde Greene Manne provided sustenance and shelter (and some bizarre companionship).
Art is where you find it and this automotive pipe on a concrete plinth in the deep wood was a treat to behold. Breathtaking.
The deepest mud was too treacherous to photograph and I slogged through it with the realisation that it contained a significant amount of horse shit from the stables near the roadway by which I exited this section.
I was especially fragrant by this time so I skipped the grocery stores and other possible bar stops, opting instead to run through as many clear puddles as I could find on my way to Northwood Hills tube station.
I’ve run past the Old Crown a few times but have always been too loaded already to stop in. I had just finished the last stretch of Section 10 of the LOOP and was only 2 beers into the day so this seemed like an opportunity not to pass up.
The bar is essentially a long, railed counter and eventually leads to a darkened back lounge but I stuck close to the front. It’s a friendly crowd — a fair number of Irishmen on either side of the bar — and very much a locals hangout although almost directly across from the Hayes and Harlington rail station.
After some initial, welcoming niceties I was left to my own devices in a sunny seat near the front window. I spotted what is always a good sign — a childrens’ curfew — but not so good a sign as a blanket ban on the brats. There were none here, today, though.
I’m always pleased to see that bars are used for funerals. Not just wakes but actually taking the honoree for one last round. The photo of this announcement is a bit blurry but the sentiment warmed my heart as I bid the bar farewell and continued on my run home:
Monday 20th March 2017
12 PM at the Southwest
MIDDX Crematorium Hounslow
Road, Hanworth, Feltham
On to the Angler’s Pub in
No flowers, please but if you
Wish to bring a single poppy
It’s the one flower Tommy
We are making donations to
The Princess Alice Trust as
They were a great support
To Tommy. Instead of flowers.
Godspeed, Mr McDermot. Here’s a map to the Crown, if you are planning to pay your respects.
Section 10 of the LOOP took less time than I thought it would so, when I spotted the Crane about 2/3 through the trip, I popped in for a beer. It is still TECHNICALLY “The Crane” for licensing purposes although the signage indicates they would rather focus on the Indian food. However, the atmosphere was pure barfly inside and before I could get my Foster’s order in I was accosted by a very drunk Scotsman (John) with an impenetrable accent (here’s a clip of Rab C Nesbitt that is about halfway to the WeeGie white noise coming out of John’s face). I’ll just give you the semi-transcript/subtitles and deleting my repeated “pardons?” and “what wuzzats?”
“So, is that a carrot, then?”
“Oh, no sir, I’m just glad to see you.”
“No, you daft git,” pointing at my beer. “You’ve been running. Is that a carrot?”
“Oh, I see. Maybe years ago, but I think I’m such a hopeless sot it’s more of a stick than a carrot.”
We talked about work (he drives a DHL truck) and American politics as much as we could since we are equally baffled by Trump. We found points of reference between my Atlanta and his Paisley and Glasgow, and pretty much agreed that the English are hopeless bastards, complete tools. “Tell me this, then,” I asked, “how is the Second Referendum going to turn out?” This was about 48 hours before Nicola Sturgeon officially called for another Scottish Independence vote.
“It won’t be close, this time.” I’ll check his prediction here after the vote which will be late 2018 or early 2019.
Here’s a map.
I left the Green Man refreshed and ready to start Section 10 of the London Outer Orbital Path by looping around and entering the River Crane Causeway at the end of Section 9 (which I will return to early in May running it and several of the lower numbered Sections). This looked promising and, except for the run back along the highway to find my way over the Piccadilly Line, it was fairly well way-marked.
And, damn near impassable:
There was a scenic fly tipping exhibit:
And, a chance to wave to visitors of our fair isles as I crossed under the landing path at the east end of Heathrow’s runways.
Scenes of pristine waterways were a bonus:
St Dunstan’s appears to be derelict, but the cemetery is well-maintained:
Toward the end of the trot (not far past the Crane pub), there were signs of springtime coming. The council is probably counting on the vegetation to hide all this garbage:
Section 10 concludes as you pass the Nestlé factory on the canal at Hayes. Just up ahead, there are more refreshments at the Old Crown.
The Green Man is just below Heathrow Airport on Faggs Road not far from the Hatton Cross tube station, Feltham. There’s enough adolescent humour there for just about anyone…Faggs, tube, felt ’em. F’narr, f’narr.
Friendly pub; it only looks empty inside because everyone was either in the other room watching Italy v France in the 6 Nations Rugby or out enjoying the unseasonably warm and occasionally sunny weather.
I would have loved to linger in a place like this but I was on a mission to complete Section 10 of the LOOP. So, after a quick beer and waiting the very short time it took for France to make their first try, I ran.
Here’s a map to the bar.
The Stewart Arms is worth a stop. True, it’s a lager house but it is crammed with locals. Not the sort of locals that are buying flats in the neighbourhood for £2 million, but locals … old guys who were probably brought into this pub (or another in the neighbourhood before the pub apocalypse) for their first beer by their grandfathers. Everyone knows each other and — due in large part to my observation about the stratification of Shepherd’s Bushians being so accurate — they don’t really want to know you.
On the plus side, the vending machine on the bar has hot nuts! I need to grow up.
It’s not the easiest place to find, but here’s a map.
A friend who doesn’t run pointed out that I’ve been repeatedly doing a section or two of the London Outer Orbital Path (LOOP). This is how I wound up running the Ridgeway Challenge a couple of years ago after doing most of the Avebury to Wantage segments of that long distance path; I decided to approach this one sensibly and do it entirely in sections as defined by the Transport For London pamphlets about the LOOP.
I’ve already covered Section 11, near enough, in the run posting from late February (including the trip to the White House pub along the way). Section 12 gets a lot of attention from me since it is the nearest one to the house; it was covered variously in postings about the Coy Carp, the Bear on the Barge, and the Swan and Bottle.
With plans to finish this in Spring, I’ll do a couple of more sections up till then but really focus on the final 100 miles over a couple of weekends in May. As it stands, I have 138 out of 150 miles (22 out of 24 Sections) still to go and really need to step up my game as far as route description and photography go…Des de Moor’s blog should be considered the gold standard for this (his postings on Sections 11 & 12 are here).