I finally got to do the next stage of the Capital Ring (I had started on section 7, last month) today. I had planned to do it much, much earlier than this but it has been difficult to find the time, as not only are they quite long walks, it takes a while to get to the start point and back again. I would find a spot on my calendar that looked good and guaranteed, every date I picked, it rained heavily and more often than not the weather either side of the day I could do it on, would be absolutely fine! I became fixated by the long range weather forecast for Brentford.
Anyway, the weather today is glorious, the only good weather day of the whole long Easter weekend. We had thought about doing something as a family but Boy Lacer wanted to go biking with daddy instead and Girl Lacer wanted to
spend some quality time with her iPad practice her cello, so I used the opportunity to head out to Brentford (I don’t have a bike, so couldn’t have gone biking with Mr. Lacer and Boy Lacer).
The route starts out at Osterley Lock on the Grand Union Canal and to be honest, just as I hadn’t been too impressed with the last part of section 7, which had also been (obviously) along the canal, I wasn’t too impressed with the start of section 8. The route is muddy (god I’m such a softy) and the area the canal goes through isn’t exactly the prettiest but it does improve as it joins onto the River Brent. The route follows the river for quite a way, as it runs through several parks and golf courses. I did get a bit confused at one point, in one of the parks, as I lost track of where the Capital Ring signs were (they’re, most of the time, little wooden posts with the Capital Ring symbol and an arrow) and at another point I went totally in the wrong direction and had to retrace my steps, as I’d taken the wrong path at a junction which didn’t have a Capital Ring sign. In Capital Ring’s defence, if I had been following the written descriptions and the map on the Capital Ring website, more closely, I probably wouldn’t have got confused / lost but I had been lulled into a false sense of security, thinking those little wooden posts were everywhere.
My favourite bit was this viaduct (if I’d been following the map more closely, I’d probably be able to tell you its name). I’d never really seen all the fuss about viaducts before but up close they are quite impressive things. Also, I saw a bird of prey (equally bad at bird names as I am at map reading), fly to and from the field and trees, several times, as I walked along the path in the photo.
Section 8 is slightly longer than section 7 but ugh it felt much much longer. Not helped by the little bit of getting lost and also a detour at one point where I hit a busy street of shops (I’m not even sure where) and I walked up and up the hill with the shops on, thinking ‘there must be somewhere I can buy a snack from’ and finding the first suitable place a much further walk away than I had initially thought (I’ve never been more pleased to see a Greggs). I think as well, that section 7 felt considerably shorter, in that it was more my home turf and also there was more variation along the route, which keeps my interest up, whereas you see one suburban waterway / park, you’ve seem ’em all.
But I will continue! I see this very much as a walking around London because it’s there sort of thing. I have always been attracted to the sort of walking challenges which have a fixed, definite quality to them, such as walking coast to coast or the three peaks challenge. I may not be fit enough / have enough time or money for those two but I think I can manage the Capital Ring. I am not sure when I’m going to hit section 9 though; I think timewise, doing one section a month is probably reasonable, considering other demands on my time. I’m still waiting for my big op though and after that I’m not going to be able to walk anywhere for a while.