London Loop – Section 2 – Old Bexley Village to Orpington

London Loop - rail crossing.
London Loop – rail crossing.

I was in two minds whether to do another section, but I woke up early, and felt ready to get up. Some toast and a quick check of train times and I left the house among for the 07:46 from Berkhamsted. I was early enough for one of the free parking spaces and the ticket was only £13.70 with my newly acquired Railcard.

The train was far from full, and I got a seat with a table. At Hemel a man got on carrying a ruck sack and a very large pipe cutter, I wondered where he was going and to do what? The official section 2 is only 7 miles from Old Bexley Village to Pets wood, however I was hoping to do a but further, anything over 10 would be a good start. I noticed that my FitBit battery was almost flat, and I wondered how long it would last before going completely, I was most likely going to miss out on steps and unfortunately steps mean prizes. There would be no prizes for me!

London Loop – Suburbia

As I was leaving the train at Euston when I noticed I had my T-shirt on inside out, I would have to find a chance to turn it the right way round. My journey was complicated by the closure of the Northern line at Euston, for track maintenance, I has to get on the Victoria line to Green Park to get on the Jubilee line, to North Greenwich then the 132 to Bexley.

The atmosphere was a bit misty but I was hoping for the sun to burn it away once I got started. I had a short wait at North Greenwich for the 132. The path follows the river Cray for quite a while and I spotted trout so it is probably pretty clean. Once it left the Cary it went through a few parks and nature reserves you really did not feel like you were inside the M25. Every so often it passed through suburbia with its manicured front gardens add to that the types of cars in the drives my guess is that it was a middle class area, i.e. commuter belt. I also spotted quite a few Parakeet and I soon got my ear in tune with their call. I did not expect to see them I thought they were more west London birds.

London Loop – Countryside

As I came to the edge of one estate I passed a field transected by a footpath with chain link fence keeping people out. There were three ponies asleep all three of them farting intermittently. The next section was almost exclusively in wood and eventually I passed Petts Wood the official end of section 2, but I carried on for a few more miles, my guess was that I did about 11 or 12 miles of the loop path. At the next main road I checked google maps for a bus but the signal was poor so I carried on to the next main road. There was a bus soon but I got the distinct impression that it was an ex bus route I I ended up walking another 3/4 mile to Orpinton Station. On the way I came across a small parade of shops like you do in traditional commuter belt. There was a picture framer that had a machine that cut out the cardboard inner frames which was interesting as it looked well made but self made. At the bakers I bought a Belgian iced bun which only cost a pound and tasted great after 12 miles of walking.

London Loop – Train at Orpington Station

At Orpington station I had a bit of a wait for a train, as I took the advice of the station staff and google and got the train to Charring Cross rather than Cannon Street. I grabbed a coffee and settled in for 25 minutes of Pokemon. The train journey was quite short as the train only stopped at Waterloo East before terminating a short distance on at Charring Cross where I alighted. I then had a dilemma I realised when I got to the underground that the Northern line was not stopping at Euston so I tried the bus instead, but on exiting the station the Ride London event was in full swing so I had to walk to the north of Trafalgar square where it was not obvious if the busses were running. So I dropped into the underground again and got the Northern line south to Embankment (a step backwards) where I could get the Victoria line to Kings Cross then the Circle to Euston Square.

I eventually made it with two minutes to spare for the 15:54 on platform 11. There was an announcement on the train that it was the train to Coventry not Northampton and the LED scrolling displays said that too. I got off with a few other people who were assured that it was the Northampton train so we got back on. It turns out it was the Northampton train and it did stop at Berkhamsted. Where I found the car and stopped for a curry from the M&S. I was home just before 17:00 it had been a long day, but another section had been completed.