Ham Gate to Penn Ponds – the meandering long way round

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Another walk in Richmond Park today, quite a long one, for ‘current me’ anyway, it was 7 – 8 km (walks I’ve been doing recently have been 5 – 6km). I can’t be precise on the distance I walked today (other than it felt like slightly too much, I had a bad stitch in the side I’ve had surgery on in the last kilometre), as although I have three pedometers on my phone (I know, it does wonders for my battery life), the ‘proper’ one I use for recording walk lengths froze again for part of the walk (grrrh, I need to find a new walking app) and the other two pedometers disagreed with each other by quite a bit, it goes to show that probably any phone pedometer is probably not that accurate. Still, despite the stitch, I could really see myself making progress today, there’s a short but steep hill you have to climb if you want to walk into the interior of the park, if you come in from Ham Gate and although I was breathless at the top of it, I wasn’t 80 year old breathless this time, which was a pleasant surprise.

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Anyway, although the weather has been horrible, grey and cloudy for weeks now, the weather decided to be blue and sunny today, at least first thing anyway, it was going a bit grey by the end of the walk. But I decided to use the vintage option on Hipstamatic today, as the contrast was so nice.

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I had headed out with the destination of Penn Ponds (two ponds, sort-of-ish in the middle of the park) in mind, as I can not yet just head in the park for a mindless wander as my mindless wanders tend to be far too long. But heading to Penn Ponds is a sort of a personal, internal in-joke for me, as I often plan to head to Penn Ponds and I never do because I get distracted by some other tempting path and go way off course before I remotely get there, so I never actually get to Penn Ponds. And I was true to form today, veering off just after I passed Isabella Plantation but I did get there by a roundabout route.

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Then it was heading back home, again going a straightforward route seemed impossible for me (the straightforward route being up the large hill, head straight to Pembroke Lodge, then follow the road back to Ham Gate). Instead I veered off into some woods.

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I did come out near Pembroke Lodge eventually but even then, follow the road, nah. Instead I plunged off (and it was a bit worrying that I was actually going to plunge) into the much more muddier, slippy, narrow paths going down the edge of the embankment that makes the high ground that most of the park sits on. But as I told myself as I cursed myself for going that way, that having to be careful not to slip or trip over, was doing wonders for my core stomach muscles but thinking about it, that could well have explained that stitch.

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