Geocaches - 13
Walk Inspiration - Times Out London Walks
Start - Hampton Court
End - Kew Bridge
When I woke at 6am, I didn't necessarily expect to be hiding from joggers having climbed up trees.
But that's Geocaching for you and the stretch from Hampton Court to Kingston has to be the best area for caching in London.
I'm looking for my next "best city in the world" adventure. With the London Loop and Capital Ring ticked off and part way through the much easier Jubilee Walkway, I take inspiration from a walk in the Time Out London Walks book. They have a 29 miler that stretches from Hampton Court to the Thames Barrier. Now obviously, this is not going to be done in a day, but there is a chance I will make it to Fuller's Griffin Brewery - a place that's been on my bucket list for a while.
Today's route takes me through some familiar places from the previous Long Distance Paths (Kingston, Richmond, Isleworth) and I am looking foward to seeing Teddington and Kew for the first time.
I head off from Birmingham International to Euston to Waterloo, picking up a South West Train to Hampton Court. It's a real middle class destination, as the the train is packed with families trying to stop their little angels from playing up. As one beleaguered father tells off Henry for rolling on the carriage floor, only to have it gently pointed out by his wife that its actually Sander who won't keep still, I thank the lord that I stuck to my maxim of never having more children than hands.
The crowds alight and I allow them to get a head start whilst I get the Sat Nav Signal. As I have the Thames as a handrail, I only need this to find the caches.
The footpath runs alongside Hampton Court and provides some fine views, that avoid paying the entrance fee. I can live without battling through the Maze.
|Cardinal Wolsey's Gaff|
In between caching, there is easy walking and a constant stream of things of interest to look at. To avoid the danger of the world's longest blog, I will need some serious censorship.
|Pretty Vista of St Raphael's, Kngston|
|Kingston Bridge Rowers|
Return to the north side at Teddington Lock on a pretty little suspension bridge. The first of many, many handsome London Pubs is on the other side and as I have been at it for a couple of hours (and climbed several trees), I decide a reward is in order.
|Crossing Teddington Lock|
|Too interesting to walk on by|
|I always take Pride when I am in London|
The Thames Path takes on some uninspiring road walking along Strawberry Vale, but this is OK as it brings me to Twickenham, a delightful looking place that will require further exploring. On the map, I was interested in Eel Pie Island and saw it had a connecting footbridge. On arrival, it appears to be all boatyards and caravans, so I avoid a detour.
|Eel Pie Island - Unworthy of a Detour?|
|Interestingly named but unvisited|
|Pretty Twickenham Street - I am coming back.|
Some stunning buildings on either side of the river on the way into Richmond. Marble Hill House is the pick of them, built in 1724 for a mistress of King George II. She must have been good.
|King George II and his expensive tastes|
|And now Mappiman is going for a Half|
|View from the Patio|
Like Twickenham, I am coming back for a further explore.
Still on the Capital Ring, I re-walk the grounds of Syon Park. The planes are getting lower and it's impressive hearing them before they emerge through the low cloud.
|I have an identical picture from 3 years ago|
Leave the Capital Ring behind and get confused in the grim industrialisation of the River Brent. The signage for the Thames Path is a little vague and its rather a circuitous route to get back on track along to Kew Station.
|Museum of Water and Steam Tower acts as my guide|
Time has rapidly expired and I have a pre-booked train to catch from Euston. I head down to the water for a last couple of shots and will have to save the Chiswick Brewery till next time.
|The Way I came|
|Chiswick Brewery is that way|