Cycling The River Crane & The Hounslow Baseline

A geek cycling microadventure along the River Crane and Hounslow Baseline on sections of the London Loop, Capital Ring and Thames Path.


The idea for this trip came whilst reading Mike Parker's book, Map Addict. In his fascinating and funny account of all things map-related Chapter 2 covers the beginnings of the Ordnance Survey. Prior to the establishment of the Ordnance Survey General William Roy pioneered the techniques that would later be used to map all of the UK. The Hounslow Baseline was the first point to point measurement and was chosen “because of its vicinity to the capital and the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, its great extent, and the extraordinary levelness of its surface, without local obstruction whatever to render measurements difficult.”

I won't go into the rest of the story as its well documented elsewhere and Mike Parker's book is a great place to start. Instead, this blog post describes a ~50k circular cycle adventure that explores the Hounslow Baseline and the nearby River Crane.  

The River Crane

The best place to start is the car-park at Minet Country Park in Hayes. A few hundred metres West you'll cross a bridge giving the first sight of the Crane.  The source is further North in the park but you can't see it so its not worth venturing further. 

  • From the bridge continue North-West through the Parkway underpass, then take a left and follow the cyclepath that runs parallel to the Parkway.
  • The Parkway will cross over the Grand Union Canal and mainline railway. Don't forget to marvel at the industrial wasteland along the way. Once you have crossed the Grand Union Canal you'll also be on the well-signed London Loop which you can follow for much of the route of the Crane.
  • Take a right at the roundabout, then first left at the Crane Pub onto Watersplash Lane. 
  • From Watersplash Lane you'll enter Cranford Park, the first of a chain of parks and green spaces that follow the Crane for most of its course. 
  • At around KM 5 you'll cross over the A4 Bath Road then through a small housing estate in Cranford before re-entering the park. 
  • At KM 7 you'll reach the A30, a busy dual carriageway with a solid central reservation. Unless you want to risk cutting across you'll need to cycle West for ~1km to the nearest crossing then back on the other side.
  • Once over the A30 continue along the green spaces including The Causeway, Donkey Wood, Brazil Mill Meadows, and Pevensey Road Nature Reserve then into Crane Park, home of Crane parkrun
  • The Crane passes under the A316 and B358 as they cut across Crane Park. After the B358 continue alongside the River Crane but don't follow the London Loop signs as they leave the Crane at this point.
  • Continue through Crane Park and Kneller Gardens into Twickenham. From here is harder to stay next to the river so you'l need to navigate through several residential streets. This is where a map and a GPX file is essential. 
  • The Crane eventually meets the Thames next to an apartment block off Railshead Road. Take the footpath next to the Capital Ring sign to see the confluence of the 2 rivers. 

The Thames Path & Capital Ring at St Margarets

From the end of the Crane there's 2 options to get you to the Hounslow Baseline: a direct but busy road route through St Margarets, Twickenham and Strawberry Hill or a marginally longer but more scenic Thames Path route. Taking the latter (as I did) also takes you along 500m of the Capital Ring before it crosses Richmond Lock Footbridge.  A stop at the Barmy Arms and a visit to Eel Pie Island make a great half-way rest stop for the trip.

From The Thames Path opposite Eel Pie Island:

  • Turn right onto Wharf Lane, then left onto Heath Road and left onto Hampton Road.
  • Continue along Hampton Road for approx 2 KM, taking a right onto Burtons Road. 
  • Continue along Burtons Road, taking a left onto St. James' Road an continue all the way to the junction of Windmill Road and The A312.
  • Turn left onto the A312 (Uxbridge Road) and look out for a small footpath on the right near a zebra crossing. 
  • Follow the footpath into a small cul-de-sac called Roy Grove where you'll find the South-Eastern end of the Hounslow Baseline.

The Hounslow Baseline

The street name, Roy Grove, is the first clue that you've found the right place. The actual monument is on the opposite side of the turning circle in an unloved patch of grass between 2 houses. The monument is a barrel of a cannon sticking the ground, next to a plaque describing the life and work of Major General William Roy. To cycle the Baseline:

  • Return back down the footpath and take a left onto the A312 Uxbridge Road.
  • Follow the A312 for ~7 KM until it crosses the A30 and reaches the Hatton Cross Roundabout at Heathrow. The road name will change several times along the route from Uxbridge Road, to Hampton Road West, Harlington Road East and Faggs Road. There's very little navigation to do as its a pretty straight route, presumably following the original Baseline.
  • At the Hatton Cross Roundabout take the 4th exit onto Envoy Avenue, then left onto the Eastern Perimetre road. This is a bit of a diversion from the original route of the Baseline but unfortunately necessary as the airport is not keen on people cycling across the runways.
  • The Eastern Perimeter Road will become the Northern Perimeter Road. Follow this until the junction of Nene Road.
  • The end of the Baseline is on a grassy triangle of the North East side of this junction.

The monument, a twin of the South West one at Roy Grove, is in the far corner of the grassy triangle. You can barely see it from the road so you'd have to be looking for it to notice it. The rest of the site is now a Heathrow Business parking car park. The area could have been used for another 25 parking spaces with hundreds of thousands of pounds of revenue. Its nice that a little-visited monument has been preserved there instead.

I've read a few opinions that the Ordnance Survey should do more to preserve and promote the 2 monuments that are so important to their history. I don't agree. It seems fitting that they are hard to find and you'd need a map and some navigation skills to find them.


Doomed Village

From the monument it's just over 7 KM back to Minet Park. The easiest way is to continue North over Nene Road, crossing the A4 and taking the A408 through Sipson. This is one of the "Doomed Villages" that will be lost to the future expansion of the airport. As you pass by Sipson Close, look left as this will be the end of the proposed 3rd runway. I've been through here a few times in the past and normally see "Stop Heathrow Expansion" banners on most roads, presumably preaching to the converted. Maybe the lack of them this time is due to the increasingly lost cause of trying to stop the inevitable?

  • From the A408, turn right onto Sipson Lane, then left at the roundbout onto the High Street.  
  • Turn right at the A437 North Hyde Road and continue until the Parkway roundabout from the start of the trip.
  • Retrace the route along the cycle path next to the Parkway, crossing back under into Minet Park 

Red = course of the River Crane, Yellow = cycle route, Blue = Hounslow Baseline. Green = (approx) future site of proposed Heathrow 3rd runway

Elevation plan of the cycle route (marked as yellow in the map)

Elevation plan of the cycle route (marked as yellow in the map)


Richard gowerComment
Middlesex parkrun & The Eel Pie Pilgrimage

Back in April I completed my 100th different parkrun event at Hazelwood. What I didn't know at the time was that it was also my last of the 20 parkruns in the historic county of Middlesex. This only became important in the last few weeks when looking for new parkrun challenges to tick off. I'd completed LonDone and the Channel Islands Region in July. Next up would be the South-East England region but there's 84 of them and I've only ran 26 so it will take ages. I needed some smaller, more frequent hits, and the mini-regionnaires of the Historic Counties would do the job. It would also be a nice match with my other current obsession, the UK County Tops

The Historic County of Middlesex has been chopped and changed over the years and now doesn't really exist except as a legacy in some postal addresses. Most relevant to the parkrun geek, it's also in the address of parkrun Headquarters that can be found at the bottom of every page on parkrun.org.uk. A pilgrimage to the parkrun HQ would be a fitting end to the Middlesex mini-regionnaire.

So, as a part of a different micro-adventure, I headed towards Eel Pie Island. This is a quaint, quirky place in the Thames just South of Twickenham. I'd read about it and its interesting musical history a few years ago and had wanted to check it out. Discovering that it's now the Global HQ for parkrun meant that I had to go immediately. I wasn't really sure what to expect though. I had visions of a sprawling HQ complex, maybe under a volcano, with Paul Sinton-Hewitt at the centre of it, stroking his cat and surveying a huge map of the world, planning his next country to conquer. 

As it turned out there were no volcanoes and if there was a sprawling complex it was well hidden. Although you can walk onto the island over a footbridge, there's no access to Phoenix Wharf where the offices are. There's some cute cottages along a quiet footpath but no obvious signs of a global HQ. I assumed that the secrecy was for a reason. They're probably in league with the Illuminati and the Bilderberg Group is probably also behind the fence. Assuming I was being watched by parkrun's crack security militia I decided to retreat before being captured, never to be seen again. 


Completing Middlesex parkun

If you've done LonDone , you've pretty much also done Middlesex as its only Hazelwood that sits outside of the Greater London region. The other odd exception is Oak Hill. It's the only North-West London event that's not within the Middlesex boundary, due to an oddly shaped scoop of old Hertfordshire that plucks it out from its neighbours. I'm now hoping for a new parkrun to be set up in Wrotham Park as it would have the honor of being the only even that's inside old Middlesex but outside of both Greater London and the M25.

Here's the full list of all parkruns, at the time of writing, that are in the Historic County of Middlesex.

Richard gowerComment
Completing all Berkshire parkruns

After a 5-year slow burn I had completed all 8 Berkshire parkruns by August 2018 First was Upton Court on the far East of the county and the last at Newbury, the furthest West. All pleasant locations in a fairly flat county so not much elevation to deal with. For the completists there’s also Didcot and Harcourt Hill which were in Historic Berkshire by are now in present-day Berkshire.

UPDATES:


Bracknell

 

California Country Park

  • Completed: [soon]

  • Time: TBC

  • http://www.parkrun.org.uk/californiacountry

 

Dinton Pastures

 

Maidenhead

 

Newbury

 

Prospect

 

Reading

 

Upton Court

 

Woodley

 

Actual course outlines for the parkruns in present-day Berkshire. California Country Park to be added once I’ve done it.

Richard gowerComment
East Burnham Park

Significance: Highest peak in the Slough Unitary Authority (present-day county) 
Elevation: 51 m
Date climbed: July 25th 2018
Coordinates: 51.5379° N, 0.6249° W
Route Start / End: Circular route from Burnham Beeches car-park off Lord Mayors Drive, Farnham Common.
Webhttp://www.hill-bagging.co.uk/mountaindetails.php?qu=CoU&rf=5537
OS Map: Explorer 172. Chiltern Hills East

East Burnham Park gets my award for the most underwhelming County Top in the UK. Let me know if you have any other contenders. "East Burnham Park" is actually Estate Agent speak for "the arse-end of Slough". Others may argue that Slough is also the arse-end of Berkshire, but you've not heard me say that.

The high point of the Slough Unitary Authority is on a small mound of grass opposite the junction of Farnham Lane and Crown Lane. There's nothing really to see here and the dog-poo bin that used to mark the summit has long since disappeared. 

If you're planning an attempt on the summit a good option is to combine it with a cycle ride from Burnham Beeches. You'll get a reasonably pleasant trip out of it and will spend as little time as possible in Slough as most of the route is in South Bucks. Don't forget your crampons and make sure you have spent several weeks in the area before the trip to get acclimatised. Slough has very little provision for Mountain Rescue so if you get into trouble, you're on your own.

Red map marker = Burnham Beeches car park. Purple dot = summit

View of the summit. There's no cairns so take care with navigation

View of the summit. There's no cairns so take care with navigation

Elevation of route from/to Burnham Beeches car park on Lord Mayors Drive. You'll be cycling downhill to the summit.

 
Richard gowerComment
Burford Bolt 10K Trail Race

When: July 22nd 2018
Where: Burford, Marlow Bottom, Buckinghamshire UK
Course: Single loop hilly trail run from/Burford School.
Finish time: 1h 00 mins

In-race photo by  Barry Cornelius

 
Richard gowerComment
River Pang Circular
Above: sign near the source of the Pang

Above: sign near the source of the Pang

The River Pang is a small tributary of the Thames in West Berkshire. The source is between Compton and Hampstead Norreys and from there it runs 23k / 14 miles to meet the Thames at Pangbourne. I cycled the length as a part of a 38k / 24 circular, also taking in villages to the north or the river including Ashampstead and Upper Basildon. For the first 8 miles, the river stays close to country roads, but from Bucklebery its tough to stay close to its course. There's some good walking options that take non-cycleable footpaths for the rest of the route to Pangbourne. Its a pleasant ride along mostly quiet country lanes. 

Circular route, anticlockwise, starting and ending in Pangbourne. How To:

  1. A good place to park is the Short-stay shoppers car-park off Ferry lane. From here...
  2. Take Whitchurch Road (B471) south, taking a right at the roundabout onto the High Street. Follow this to the next roundabout and take a left onto Tidmarsh Road,
  3. Follow Tidmarsh Road for nearly 4 miles, crossing over the M4, then take the first right onto Common Hill
  4. Follow Common Hill to Bradfield, taking a left onto Ashamptstead Road. You'll shortly cross over the Pang at some old mill buildings.
  5. Take a left  onto Back Lane. Follow this all the way to the junction of Cock Lane. Take a right then immediately left onto Bucklebury Road.
  6. Follow Bucklebury Road for approx. 2 miles, taking a left into Bucklebury. 
  7. After the village, take a right on the main road, then first right again and cross the ford.
  8. After the ford, take the first left onto Brocks Lane. The Pang will stay to the left of you from here on.
  9. Continue along Brocks Lane until it the junction of Everington Lane just after the M4 underpass.
  10. Take a right onto Everington Lane, then immediately left onto Yattendon Road.
  11. Join the B4009 through Hampstead Norreys. The (mainly dry) source of the Pang is in the fields on the left hand side of the road about 1.5 miles from the village.
  12. To return to Pangbourne .... take the first right onto Coombe Road. 
  13. After about half a mile take a right onto a Bridleway that runs along the right hand side of a field. This is steep and narrow: good for mountain bikes or walking.
  14. The Bridleway will meet Thorn Hill, follow this to Aldworth road, continuing on this as it passes The Four Points pub. 
  15. After 4 miles, turn right onto Whitemoor Lane. This is a steep hill up to Ashampstead Road. 
  16. Turn right onto Ashampstead Road and follow it, merging onto Aldworth Road. Continue onto Pangbourne Road. 
  17. Follow Pangbourne Road down the hill to the Town Centre.
  18. Turn left onto Tidmarsh Road, then cross over the roundabout onto  Station Road / Shooters Hill.
  19. Immediately after the railway bridge, turn right onto a footpath. This will take you to the confluence of the Pang and the Thames. 
  20. Continue along the footpath to the back of the car park where you started.

Alternatives for walkers are:

  • At point #, continue over the roundabout and take The Moors, a small road to the left of WHSmith. This becomes a footpath that stays close to the Pang, returning to Tidmarsh Road.
  • At point #4, turn left at the mill buildings in Bradfield and follow the Berkshire Circular Walks footpath to Bucklebury.

Red = route of the River Pang, Blue = circular cycle route.

 
Richard gowerComment
Waddesdon Manor 5k Road Race

When: July 18th 2018
Where: Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire UK
Course: Out and back from National Trust car park to the manor with a small loop of the front gardens. Hilly for a hot summer night.
Finish time: 0:27:15

In-race photos by  Barry Cornelius

 
Richard gowerComment
High Peaks of the Balkans

I’d seen the ad for this trip on Facebook about a year ago. It ticked all the right boxes to get me over-excited. 4 new countries, the highest peak in each, and a new airport. What's not to like? I signed up straight away expecting to rope in a few friends along the way. No chance ... 1 or 2 showed interest but came up with excuses like no money, lack of approval from the wife or “just had a baby”. Meh.

So, 1 year later I turned up at Tirana airport on my own looking for others with KE Adventures bags. I had the cunning plan of wearing my KE shirt so I could be spotted by others. All that did was make them think that I was their official guide for the week and I ended up carrying bags around. Once gathered together with our actual guide we started the 4 hour transfer to the first night's accommodation.

As it turned out, the other 11 in the group were lovely and all interesting people. KE seems to attract the more serious walker and adventure-seeker. All had incredible stories of previous trips and with none of the one-upmanship that comes with some groups. By the end of the trip I’d compiled a long list of future trips and kit advice.


Day 1: Mt Korab

Significance: Highest peak in both Albania and (FYRO) Macedonia
Elevation: 2,764 m
Date climbed: July 1st 2018
Coordinates: 41.7901° N, 20.5471° E
Route Start / End: Circular route from Hotel Korabi, Radomirë, Albania
Webhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korab_(mountain)

One of the things I loved about the trip was how much was packed into each day. Day 1 was no exception with a 06:00 wake up call for the trek to Mt Korab, the high point of both Albania and Macedonia. This was the highest of the 3 summits on the trip and a long day at 9 hours. It was a nice warm-up and a chance to get to know the rest of the group and our guide Geri a bit better. We climbed up from the Albanian side then had lunch in Macedonia over-looking Mavrovo National Park. The return was more or less the same as the ascent, with a nice diversion through a forest and meadows. After a quick celebratory Albanian beer we set off on 3 hour bus transfer to the Kosovan city of Junik.

 

Day 2: Đeravica

Significance: Highest peak in Kosovo
Elevation: 2,656 m
Date climbed: July 2nd 2018
Coordinates: 42.5318° N, 20.1399° E
Route Start / End: Point to point route from Gropa e Ereniku to Dobërdol 
Webhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deravica

Kosovo was a pleasant surprise. My only awareness of it was from grim news reports from the 90s. I’d tried not to have any expectations, just an excitement from being able to tick off a new country, and an obscure one at that. Following our last comfortable night for a few days we took a bumpy 4x4 trip to a remote valley to start of our 4 day trek.

After the gentle initial ascent of Korab, today’s climb got steep quickly. The post-lunch scramble reminded me a bit of the Barranco Wall on Kilimanjaro. Once at the summit I was more hesitant to climb on top of the trig-like pillar than on Korab due to the high winds and steeper sides. Fortunately there was a flag pole to grip onto and attempt to look vaguely heroic.

After the initial descent from the summit, the rest of the trek continued north-west, re-entering Albania after traversing a steep sided valley. A large ice field tested my long held nervousness of slipping. The more experienced of the group trudged straight across it while I followed Geri on a longer steadier route.

From the Kosovo/Albania border on the final pass, the end of the day’s walk was a pleasant wander down the Alpine Valley to the farm where we stayed for the night. This was to be the most basic of the guest houses: a single barn floor with a row of mattresses. The 3 snorers in the group, of which I was one, took the option of a separate barn 5 mins up the valley. Although intended as a gift for the others, we ended up with the better deal with a cosier barn and better toilet.

 

Day 3: Dobërdoll to Çerem

Elevation: from 1,800m to 1,220m
Date walked: July 3rd 2018
Route Start / End: Point to point route from Dobërdol to Çerem, Albania
 

Day 3 was a break from the summits with a gentler plateau walk, mostly descending, from 1,791m to ~1,200m. The route crossed the Albania/Montenegro border several times a highlight being our lunch stop on a hill with views across to Zla Kolata.

Accommodation that evening was a pleasant but basic guesthouse in Çerem. We were amongst around 50 guests squeezed into the main house plus a few outbuildings. The good news was that it had a shower, but with just 1 for 50 sweaty walkers, there was a bit of a queue. Dinner arrangements were impressive as one lady in a small shed managed to serve up a hearty meal for everyone in 1 sitting.


Day 4: Zla Kolata

Significance: Highest peak in Montenegro
Elevation: 2,564 m
Date climbed: July 4th 2018
Coordinates: 42.4850° N, 19.8972° E
Route Start / End: Point to point route from Çerem, Albania to wild campsite on south side of Zla Kolata
Webhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zla_Kolata

By avoiding the screening of the World Cup quarter final nonsense I managed to get an early night. It was just as well as the next day was epic. This was Zla Kolata, the High Point of Montenegro. It was a monster.

The morning was a nice ascent through forests and meadows up to pass on the Albania/Montenegro border. We stopped for an hour for lunch while Geri met up with 2 local guides who would help us on the summit climb. I spent much of that hour looking up at the ascent in fear. From there it all looked like sheer cliff faces and steep ice.

Most of the actual ascent was fine. Taking it step-by-step tends to be much less daunting than from a distance anyway. The tricky bit was not far from the top where the only passing point on an icy ridge was a thin, rocky ledge with a long drop below it. My slipping fear was kicking in but I pressed on, helped enormously by the local guides.

For the final push to the top we were down to 8, with 5 of the group having decided they had met their limits. The final 20 mins was a steep, but relatively easy and mostly grassy scramble to the summit. It was well worth the effort as we were rewarded by clear 360 degree views of both countries. It was a good competitor to Toubkhal for the best summit view I’ve had so far.

The descent to the pass was the same route, although several bits were tougher than I remembered on the way up. I held back to keep fellow trekker Stephen company. He had been struggling with his feet since the first day and was slowed down due to the pain of red raw toes. To be honest, I was also glad of the slower pace to take my time on the steep parts.

With no villages close to the mountain, we wild camped that night. I enjoyed the best night‘s sleep in a tent for many years. In the morning we left the camp site for the final descent to the Valbona Valley. It was a short day ending at a very nice guest house for some beer, rest, reading and a celebration on completing a challenging 3-country trek.

 

Day 5: Zla Kolata to Valbonë

Elevation: from 1,486m to 960m
Date walked: July 5th 2018
Route Start / End: Point to point route from wild camp site south of Zla Kolata to Valbonë, Albania 


The final couple of days of the trip were more restful with a boat & bus transfer back to Tirana and some free time in the city. This trip was epic: a perfect combination of an awe-inspiring adventure, expert organisation and fantastic company. My first action after returning was to check the KE brochure for the next adventure....

LEFT: All 5 days: Mt Korab to the South East and Djerevica/Kolata trek to the centre North

ABOVE: Djerevica/Kolata from right to left. Green = Day 2: Djerevica, Blue = Day 3: plateau walk, Red = Day 4: Zla Kolata, Yellow = Day 5: Valbone descent

Race To The King Ultra

This was my 4th Ultra and the 2nd if the Threshold Trail series. My first couple were a test, then reconfirmation, that I could do an Ultra. After the Gower I was happy to call myself an Ultra Marathon runner. From here on I’ll do them for the pure awesomeness of the events.

As a true introvert I’m not chatty on the events, defaulting to an inner game of getting through the run. Despite this I love the social aspect of the events. It’s the buzz of so many people taking on a major challenge, the support that everyone gives each other and the spectators cheering and helping anyone on the route.

Race To The King was a classic example of why I love these events. The South Downs Way is an iconic trail, the weather was amazing (albeit a little warm) and the organisation couldn’t be faulted.

The conditions couldn’t have been more different to October’s Gower Ultra. That was was damp and crippled my feet while this was bone dry. Despite being 3 miles long I’d completed this one nearly a hour quicker at 14 hours 49 mins. By the time I’d reached Winchester Cathedral I was in good shape and on a bit of a high.

Next Ultra: Race To The Tower 2019.

 
Richard gowerComment
Guernsey Half Marathon

When: June 17th 2018
Where: Guernsey, Channel Islands
Course: Flatish point to point from L'Eree in the north-west to the Esplanade in the capital, St Peter Port
Finish time: 1:59

 
Richard gowerComment
Channel Islands parkrun Regionnaire

Less than a month after completing LonDone, I've also bagged the Channel Islands Regionnaire status. Its arguably easier as it's 2 events rather than 52, but does involve flights and a bit of co-ordination. I did both a year apart to coincide with the half marathons for each island. Both were interesting courses with a friendly crowd and special in their own way. I don't expect any new Channel Island events in the near future, so it looks like this Regionnaire is safe for a while.


Jersey

 

Guernsey

 

Richard gowerComment
Gragareth

Significance: Present Day County Top of Lancashire
Elevation: 628m
Date climbed: 11/06/2018
Coordinates: 54.2085° N, 2.4814° W
Route Start / End: Circular from Leck Fell House
Route Stats: 5k / 3.1 miles + 206 / - 207 m elevation
OS Map: Outdoor Leisure 2: Yorkshire Dales, Southern and Western
Subsidiary tops on route: none
Webhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gragareth

This was a sneaky bonus tick. After a weekend in the Lake District tackling the Old Man and Helvellyn we were heading home. The trip is nearly 5 hours at best so I was looking for a convenient mountain en route to break up the trip. Gragareth fitted the bill as it was a decent mountain and only 15 minutes off the M6. It was also pretty obscure and, on a Monday morning, we had the walk to ourselves.

The best place to start the walk is from a small parking bay just before the gate to Leck Fell House. Go through this gate and the second gate on the junction before the driveway for the farm. After this you’re on Yorkshire Dales Open Access land. 

The first part is fairly straightforward. Continue along the path beyond the gate, keeping to the right side of the wall. After ~1 km, there’s a path (according to the RidewithGPS map I was using) that doubles back roughly southwards up across the hill. We couldn’t see any path so just followed the GPS direction across some very rocky lava flow-like patches. At the top of the hill you’ll get to the Three Men Of Gragareth. From here, head east and follow an actual path all the way to the summit.

The summit is a black Trig point on a large plateau with views to Whernside. From here, take the path heading south(ish) towards a stone wall. Don’t climb over the ladder, but continue following the wall all the way to the 2nd gate by Leck Fell House.

Despite not being the most exciting walk in the world, it’s a pleasant diversion from a long drive home from the Lakes.

 
Richard gowerComment
Helvellyn from Patterdale Hotel

Significance: Traditional County Top of Westmorland
Member of: Furth, Marilyn, Hewitt, Nuttall, Wainwright, Birkett
Elevation: 950m,
Date climbed: 10/06/2018
Coordinates: 54.5268° N, 3.0172° W
Route Start / End: Circular from Patterdale Hotel
Route Stats: 14.7k / 9.1 miles + 847 / - 848 m elevation
Subsidiary tops on route: High Spying How (Striding Edge: 863m), Catstye Cam (890m)
Other routes touched: Coast to Coast Walk (St Bees to Shap), The Ullswater Way

 
Richard gowerComment
Old Man of Coniston from Holly How YHA

Significance: Traditional County Top of Lancashire
Member of: Hewitt, Marilyn, Nuttall, Wainwright
Elevation: 803m,
Date climbed: 09/06/2018
Coordinates: 54.3701° N, 3.1199° W
Route Start / End: Circular from Holly How YHA, Coniston
Route Stats: 11k / 6.8 miles + 723 / - 728 m elevation
OS Map: Outdoor Leisure 6: The English Lakes South Western Area
Subsidiary tops on route: Brim Fell (796m)
Other routes touched: none


 
LonDone: Completing all Greater London parkruns

After 5 years of early Saturday morning drives to obscure parts of the capital, I've now completed all 52 Greater London parkruns. It started with Wormwood Scrubs, an early tourist trip and a nice change from my home location, Black Park. This soon evolved into my annual Winter Tour, bagging about 10 new ones a year. By late 2016 it had become a mission to tick them all off and get my first Regionnaire status.

I thought I'd get it done by New Year 2018, but that was thwarted by a few changes of plan, some winter cancellations and the addition of 4 new runs. Finally, I ticked off Hoblingwell, Victoria Docks, Clapham Common and Catford to complete the list on June 2nd 2018. Victory at last ... until the next new one is announced.

Updates:

  • #53: October 20th 2018: Completed Foots Cray Meadows (new since first completing LonDone)


Here's the maps, stats and links for all Greater London parkruns.

London Parkrun Venn Diagram.jpg

The interactive maps below take you to the approximate location for the course, typically the centre of the park. See the course instructions in the parkrun page for each event for specific directions to the start.


Ally Pally

 

Barking

 

Beckenham Place

 

Beckton

 

Bedfont Lakes

 

Bexley

 

Brockwell

 

Bromley

 

Burgess

 

Bushy Park

 

Canons Park

 

Catford

 

Elephant's Head!


Clapham Common

 

Crane Park

 

Crystal Palace

 

Dulwich

 

Finsbury Park

 

Foots Cray Meadows

 

Fulham Palace

 

Gladstone

 

Greenwich

 

Grovelands

 

Gunnersbury

 

Hackney Marshes

 

Hampstead Heath

 

Harrow

 

Harrow Lodge

 

Highbury Fields

 

Hilly Fields

 

Hoblingwell

 

Kingston

 

Lloyd

 

Mile End

 

Northala Fields

 

Oak Hill

 

Old Deer Park

 

Orpington

 

Osterley

 

Peckham Rye

 

Pymmes

 

Raphael

 

Richmond Park

 

Riddlesdown

 

Roundshaw Downs

 
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South Norwood

 

Southwark

 

Tooting Common

 

Valentines

 

Victoria Dock

 

Walthamstow

 

Wanstead Flats

 

Wimbledon Common

 

Wormwood Scrubs

 

My LonDone finishing line: Catford, June 2nd 2018

My LonDone finishing line: Catford, June 2nd 2018


Chiltern Walks: Skirmett The Frog Circular
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Start / Finish: The Frog at Skirmett, Henley-on-Thames RG9 6TG
Distance: 5.5km / 3.4 miles
Ascent: 164m
Duration: Max 2 hours at at leisurely pace
Other Routes Touched: Chiltern Way
Map: OS Explorer 171: Chiltern Hills West, Henley-on-Thames and Wallingford


This is a lovely, short walk in the heart of the Chilterns. Pick the right day, as we did, and you'll experience a wonderful walk in the hills, great views and an outstanding pub to start it from. We spent a leisurely couple of hours in the Frog's garden with some great food. They even catered well for the gluten and dairy frees amongst us.

From the Frog: 

  • Head north on Fingest Lane and take the first footpath on the left.

  • Follow the footpath up the hill and continue as it meanders around the edge of Great Wood. You'll soon see the windmill above Fingest in the distance.

  • Keep on the footpath as it crosses Dolesden Lane, across the field and turn right onto the Chiltern Way.

  • Keep on the Chiltern Way through Turville Village, crossing Holloway Lane. The path turns right and runs parallel to Holloway Lane, eventually meeting Fingest Lane just before the Chequers Inn.

  • Shortly after the Chequers, keep on the Chiltern Way as it turns off Fingest Lane and climbs a steep hill.

  • Keep on the Chiltern Way as it enters the woods, and then descends back to the Frog and the end of the walk.

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Cycling The Hambleden Brook

The Hambleden Brook is a 4.1 mile chalk stream running from Skirmett to Mill End near Henley on Thames. There's loads of options for scenic walks in the area, but I chose a 14.5 mile circular cycle route also taking in Henley, Lower Assendon and Fawley.

How To:

The maps below show a start & end point at the source of the Brook at Skirmett, however I recommend starting in Henley where there are a lot of parking options. From Henley Town Centre:

  • Head north-west on the A4120 toward Wallington & Nettlebed. This is a fairly busy road but there's protected cycle path on the left for most of the way.
  • Just before the A4120 becomes a dual carriageway, turn right onto the B480 toward Assendons and Stonor, then first left following the Chilterns Cycleway.
  • Follow the Chilterns Cycleway north for approx 5k through Fawley to the T-junction at Dudley Lane. Turn right, away from the Cycleway.
  • Take first right onto Drovers Lane, following it to Southend, turning right through the village.
  • Follow the steep Bridleway down to Dolesden Lane, and follow this right / east toward Fingest. 
  • At the intersection of Dolesden Lane and Holloway Lane, turn right onto Watery Lane, following this until it meets Fingest Lane.
  • The source of the Hambleden Brook is in the field on the right hand side of Watery Lane, just before you reach Fingest Lane. As you turn right onto Fingest Lane, you'll see a dry ditch which follows the course of the Brook.
  • Follow Fingest Lane with the Brook on your right, past the Frog at Skirmett a recommended lunch stop.  
  • Just past the Frog, Fingest Lane crosses a bridge over the Hambleden Brook and the road becomes Skirmett Lane.
  • Follow Skirmett Lane towards Hambleden, but turn left onto Colstrope Lane where you'll cross another bridge over the Brook.
  • After a short, steep section take a right and continue south toward Hambleden.
  • Re-join Skirmett Lane just past Hambleden Village and continue to A4155 at Mill End. Cross this and cut through the houses to Hambleden Marina.
  • Here you can walk your bike over the weir to Hamblden Lock, meeting the Thames Path. Follow this all the way back to Henley

Elevation of the circular route based on starting at the source of the Brook.

The source of the Hambleden Brook at Skirmett:

 
High Point NJ & NJ,NY,PA Tri-State Point

Despite having travelled to New Jersey for work several times a year I'd not realised that the State High Point was just an hour from my company's NJ office. Even better, the Tri-Point monument marking the meeting point of New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania is less than 20 minutes drive from the High Point. So, on a sunny May evening I embarked on a microadventure to find both.  

High Point New Jersey

New Jersey is a pretty flat state and High Point has an elevation of just 550 metres.  That makes it technically a mountain, but don't expect to bring your crampons for the trip. There's some good hiking options in the State Park that surrounds it and the Appalachian Trail runs close by. I was short on on time so drove straight to the car park that's 5 minutes walk from the summit. 

The summit is marked by the War Veterans' Monument, which you used to be able to climb, but it was closed for repairs when I visited. Despite this, there were great views and you can easily see the Tri-Point monument 

 

NJ,NY,PA Tri-State MONUMENT

The 3-state Tri-Point is in an almost-lovely location. The grave-stone like monument is at the tip of a peninsula at the southern end of Port Jervis at the confluence of the Delaware and Neversink rivers. It would be a very pleasant quiet place if it wasn't for the ugly highway overpass built right over the top of the monument. The monument is surrounded by the pretty Laurel Grove Cemetery. Although it is possible to drive to the tip, as several anglers had done, I parked at the cemetery gates and took a 10 minute walk through the grounds. 

Technically, the actual tri-state boundary is a few metres into the Delaware river. I was happy to stay on dry land and bag the monument stone as the marker point.