Geocaches - 126
Started - Erith, 16/11/13
Finished - Purfleet, 31/01/15
The Best Section - As expected on a journey of this magnitude, there were many highlights. The eerie walk in dark through Pett's Wood, nearly getting a pint bought for me by my daughter after the Hatton Cross section and eating my sandwiches on a bench under Wildberforce's Oak all stand out. However, the best section had to be the unexpected chalk uplands in the Happy Valley on Stage 5. A real surprise to be in such good walking country.
The Worst Section - Again, a few to choose from. Not a big fan of the canals of the North Western section of the loop. Erith had fine views as long as you were looking at the river and not the inland scrapyards but for pure misery, nothing beats the 1/2 mile down the A1 to go under a tunnel and walk 1/2 mile back up the otherside on Stage 11.
Purfleet, with its one down at heel pub, is no place for a finale.
The Stages (Click on the Hyperlink for Stage Details)
16/11/13 - Erith - Stage 1
12/12/13 - Bexley - Stage 2
18/01/14 - Pett's Wood - Stage 3
22/03/14 - Hayes - Stage 4
12/04/14 - Upper Warlingham - Stage 5
17/05/14 - Banstead - Stage 6
07/06/14 - Kingston - Stage 7
12/07/14 - Hatton Cross - Stage 8
02/08/14 - Uxbridge - Stage 9
30/08/14 - Moor Park - Stage 10
18/10/14 - Elstree - Stage 11
15/11/14 - Cockfosters - Stage 12
03/01/15 - Chingford - Stage 13
31/01/15 - Harold Wood - Stage 14
|Fresh Faced and Keen - 16/11/13|
|Bedraggled but triumphant - 31/01/15|
After finishing the Capital Ring in September 2014, I was looking for my next challenge. The London Loop was an obvious choice. Further out and longer in duration, there was no chance of being able to do it over summer evenings when working in the smoke.
So, I committed to taking advantage of cheap Virgin Train tickets on the weekend (won't have a word said against them) and making a monthly pilgrimage. Despite minor problems when the local trains weren't running because of the February 2014 storms, I stuck to my goal and finished exactly as planned in January 2015.
|15 Trips to the Smoke|
Its taken me to places I would never have considered visiting before.
Who would have thought that you could lose yourself in woodland under the roar of landing aircraft near Heathrow?
How long does the train take to get down the single track line to Banstead? - I can still hear the tannoy announcements of stations when I drop off to sleep
Why was a fine looking pub near Stanmore Woods turned into a Gentlemen's establishment for people with clean garments? I don't know as my mud caked hiking boots ruled me out of further investigation.
I'm delighted to have achieved my goal, but as always with finishing a long term plan, there is a slight feeling of melancholy. Still, I will can cheer myself up with a certificate.
So what next for one weekend in every four? Well, check out the London Countyway. It ticks all the boxes - a third circle of London, this time even further out from the centre. It is, however, an historical route that hasn't been publicised or maintained since the late 70s. It will be interesting to see if it's still achievable.
|Long out of print - thank god for Ebay|