With a work social event the night before I wondered if I would get an early start on the Saturday, but as luck would have it a colleague offered me a lift home soon after 21:00. I was up at 06:00 and made the 07:01 from Berkhamsted with coffee in hand, the journey was relatively short at just over the hour to the starting point, Hendon Central.
At Euston I just had to get the Northern line, but not before having to get let through the barriers, by Tube staff, my ticket validated ok when I got off the train but was not working on the tube barriers, luckily i only had a total of four barriers to pass. Interestingly named tube stations for the journey were Mornington Crescent, Chalk Farm, and Folders Green. One of the things I have gained walking in London is a sense of where things are. I knew the center ok but the outskirts were always a bit of a mystery, but when I hear places talked about I am reminded of places I have walked through or travelled through on my journeys.
Right from the get go I was passing Jewish people on there way to the synagogue with their wide brimmed black hats and shawls, known as Tallit. The housing estate was very neat and tidy with well manicured front gardens and the pavements were lined with cherry trees. Next change of scene was a small brook which i followed for a while getting lost at one point when I missed a sign, but it was fairly trivial to get back on track. I noticed bluebells and wild garlic starting to bloom.
Back in a well to do estate I came a cross a Synagogue just at the edge of Hampstead Gardens Suburb, there were no less than three security guards in black suits, dark glasses and ear pieces. I asked one of them why they were there thinking maybe an important person was coming, but apparently that is what they have to do to counter the threats they get, what a sad state of affairs!
The next housing area was very prim with very tended front gardens the houses were Mock Tudor, all had sharply cut hedges and flowers in the gardens, one had a ornate box hedge covering g the whole of the front. A short footpath lead to East Finchley tube station which you walk through to get to the other side of the line. It is the first public footpath path I have seen as through a station.
Next was Cherry Tree Wood, followed by Highgate Wood of the Corporation of London, then I came across an organic coffee shop in Queens Wood, was a welcome stop, I had an Americano and a really crisp and puffed up chocolate croissant. By this time the sun which had been shining since the start had me in my T-shirt, the skies were blue horizon to horizon.
The Parklands Walk part of a disused railway between Edgware, Highgate, and Finsbury took me all the way to Finsbury park, there were lots of joggers and walkers out enjoying the early warm weather. The path then follows a river in a sweeping curve to West and East reservoir near Woodberry Down. I cam across a nature reserve cafe, Woodberry NR, but the food wait was 45 minutes so I carried on.
Next I spotted what looked like a castle, it was a climbing centre, I’m guessing it was one of those grand Victorian pump station building. On the edge of Stoke Newington i came across a welcome pub called the Brownswood, where I indulged in a mozzarella burger with some chips and an orange juice and soda water to wash it down. I lingered for a while recuperating the weather was so nice I guessed a long walk was possible, especially as i was travelling light, I had ditched my DSLR and camera bag for my Linux LX5 on my belt and no rucksack. It made a difference I felt fresher at 10 miles than I usually did.
At Clissold Park seemed everyone one n the neighbourhood were out on the sun. Out the other side of the park I passed through Abney park NR and cemetery, what an interesting place. There were lots of fairly old graves, last century none recent, and the place was completely overgrown. I spotted the grave of William and Catherine Booth the founder and mother of the Salvation Army.
In the next housing area I spotted another synagogue in an area where Jews seemed to live along side Muslims, in apparent harmony, there were not security guards that I could see. The Jews were wearing even more elaborate hats like large cake tins but mass of a hairy fabric, possibly some sort of fur. Apparently called a shtreimel and worn by married believers.
After passing through another park and a short down hill I was a in Lea valley following the river for a few miles. At the ice rink the man on the entrance allowed me in to use the facilities. It was getting warm outside and the coolness inside was very welcomed. The river path got more and more busy as we got to the Olympic park, where West Ham was playing Swansea, it was great to hear the crowds chanting in the stadium. I got the impression that the game started just as I passed by.
I was heading for Pudding Mill station, but a policeman told me they usually shut it on match days, I had to walk to Stratford station instead, which added about a mile to my walk. I was not too pleased. I got on a Jubilee line train to Waterloo, to then get the Northern line to Euston. At London bridge station I checked Google it suggested getting off a and getting the Northern line there, I decided it made a no difference. I should have listened. At Waterloo I just missed the train even tried stopping the doors from closing. I then just missed the 16:05 to Berkhamsted, as I arrived it was taken off the departures board. I took the opportunity to grab some food for dinner from Mark’s and Spencer.
It had been a good day out and the sixteen mils had been easier than the week before, my body was getting more accustomed to the walking. I wonder if i can manage 20 miles in a day before the summer is over?