Archive for the ‘tourism’ Tag
The Saturday and Sunday runs, this weekend, came in at just over 24 miles but with only 1 new pub to add. Sunday was especially frustrating as the run involved long climbs and steady 25 mph winds (with gusts to 40).
The target for the day was the Case Is Altered on the hill north of Harrow Weald followed by a stop in Homebase to pick up some wall hanging hardware, but La Casa Alta appears to have been converted to a private residence.
No problem, I thought, since the Hare sits a few hundred meters away on the way to the d.i.y. place. They, unfortunately, were closed for remodeling until next weekend. Shit. I consulted my maps and decided to blow past the pubs in Harrow Weald (which I will almost certainly run past again this summer) in favour of the Letchford Arms which was on the route home near my first return trip rail crossing.
Fucking maps. The place, shown above in Google Streetview in 2008 (top) and 2016, is now a fully occupied block of flats. At this point, I was quite thirsty for anything (juice, water, beer, just something rehydrating) and decided to just go to a news agent and buy whatever they had in a bottle. How disappointing (but it was nice to get some pictures hung up on the walls, later that afternoon).
The Saturday run was a bit more satisfying. Both days had strong winds (stupidly, I designed both runs to have the winds in my face on the return trips) but Saturday was sunny and almost warm and felt as much like a Spring day as the blooms and new growth everywhere would make you think it was. After a brief stop in the Office, I was back on the road and scoping out the blackthorn blooms for next year’s batch of sloe gin.
Next weekend is scheduled to be a little shorter but I may bump up the mileage to make up for the deficit (distance and pints) this weekend.
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 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.
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).
I haven’t had doner meat and chips in 14 months and went to the Heathrow Fish & Chips Best Kebab Eat In or Takeaway Restaurant to have a bit of cod but didn’t want to wait for the fish to cook. I bet it would have been excellent because the meat was divine. Go soon: this is part of the planned and unnecessary expansion of Heathrow.
Earlier, at the King William, a short guy at the bar recommended the White Horse with the warning that I should watch my head as I entered. This was funny since he was about 4 feet tall; he knew what he was talking about, though, and anyone over 5 feet tall should take note.
While my Doom Bar was being pulled, I mentioned that a guy at the KW had endorsed the place. “The landlord?” asked the landlord, here. “Yes, but a short guy at the bar, first. The landlord’s skills with a map would have me climbing the fence into and back out of the airport.” He nodded his agreement before charging an outrageous amount for the pint: an advantage of having your whole village flattened, soon, is you don’t have to depend on repeat business. Oh…they open at 9 am.
It is truly a shame, though, that such a grand example of a 16th century ale house is going to make way for an expansion of an airport that really can’t handle the load it already has. It should be built around…maybe with a shuttle stop along the way to Terminal 5.
The King’s Arms is doomed. This isn’t because it is actually an Indian restaurant masquerading as a pub; the entire village of Longford is going to be bulldozed for the new 3rd Runway at Heathrow.
I got a cider and sat down to see the conclusion of the episode of Judge Rinder I started at the Five Bells a little while earlier and had a look around the place, amused by the menu (they probably meant ‘chilli,’ for spicy peppers and not ‘chilly,’ for a wee bit on the cold side). I was also intrigued by ‘Chicken Lollipop.’
A thin young fellow came out of the kitchen to talk. Eventually, I found out that he was from Goa and his sister lives in Swindon near the bus station. But, we started with:
Goa Boy: “Where do you come from?”
GB: “Oh, Iceland.”
Me: “No, Ruislip.” I wrote it on an empty spot on my map.
GB: “I don’t know that. How far away?”
Me: “10 km.”
Me, pointing at the scrawl on the map: “No, Uxbridge.” Then, I wrote Uxbridge on the map.
GB: “Oh, I know Uxbridge.”
Positioning the map so the pub was just in front of me, I moved my cider across the table to a point about arm’s length away, lifted it slightly saying, “this is Uxbridge;” then, taking a salt shaker and putting it a little to the right I added, “and that is Ruislip.”
Me: “So, where are YOU from?”