Sunday, 16 November 2014

15/11/14 - London Loop in a Nutshell

Distance - 14 Miles
Geocaches - 14
Start - Cockfosters
Finish - Chingford

Traditionally, Stage 12 of the London Loop should have ended after a more sedate 9 miles, at Enfield Lock Station.  Once again "Planned Engineering Works" on our railway system have meant a change of plan.  There really is no need to kick start the economy with HS2.  We are spending loads maintaining our existing infrastructure.

So, I will attempt to force three stages into two - even if we are double digit walking from now until the end of the Loop.

This stage is a perfect representation of the Loop.  Some fine walking, some unexpected oddities and the delights of walking past the chicken shops of some run down satellite town looking like an oddball in a Soft Shell Suit, carrying a rucksack.

It starts off wonderfully - the loop passes the entrance to Cockfosters Underground, so I am straight on it and into Trent Park and the former Royal hunting park of Enfield Chase.

London Loop Stage 12
Into the Woods
Wild woodland walking, with many cross country runners for company.  Three caches to find, the third at Camlet Moat.

This is what the Loop needs - a fine Arthurian legend.  Could this be the site of the legendary Camelot?  It certainly has it's royal associations and ghostly legends.

London Loop Stage 12
Avoiding the temptation to say it is "A Silly Place"
London Loop Stage 12
Autumn Colours.
Exit Trent Park at the Obelisk and cross the road into fields onto good green lanes.  This is notable for a start of a cache trail names after the London Loop.  And for the sun showing itself for the first time today.

London Loop Stage 12
This is London
Looking at some of the cache logs and other London Loop Logs, it would appear as though someone has been living on these paths since the summer.  There is talk of a large yellow tent and sure enough, even in November, it is still there.  The guy ropes are looking a bit slack but it's still standing.  I found it all a bit Blair Witch and scuttled off to the next cache.

With the extra miles and a named train to catch on the way back, I need to get a move on.  It's two hours by the time I reach Cuckolds Hill and I have only done about 4 miles.  At least there is a lengthy stretch with no caches which should enable me to gain speed.

London Loop Stage 12
If I don't Gallop, I will miss the 16:23 Return
Still in the countryside wilds, the loop delivers me to Turkey Brook.  The loop cannot help itself when it comes to water and this provides the navigational hand rail for a number of miles.  Good job it is fine walking.  Alas, too early for the first pub of the day that we pass.

London Loop Stage 12
Turkey Brook
London Loop Stage 12
Reputedly owned by Dick Turpin's Grandparents.  They loved the footie
By 12:30pm, I am delivered to Enfield Lock Station, the original end.  It's clear to see why I won't be going back into London this way.

London Loop Stage 12
No doubt phoning Poland to get the resources to finish the job.
So I continue, into the very uninspiring Enfield Wash, through housing schemes, past closed pubs and through inner city high streets.  A good couple of miles before I get into better walking territory at the River Lee Navigation.

This is a confusion of man made water ways, filling into the seemingly huge King George Reservoir.  As you cannot see over the banks, you are not quite sure of the scale.   On the map, it looks all of it's 420 Acres - making it the largest in London.

London Loop Stage 12
River Lee filling the Reservoir - hidden behind the green banks
It about this time that the legs are starting to feel it.  The signs aren't helping.  I can cope with Chingford Station being 3 miles away but not when I walk for 20 minutes and the next one tells me its 3.5 miles away.

After some lonely walking (all uphill), I reach the Scouting Facility of Gilwell Park.  You have to love Scouts.  They plant geocaches.  And there a three to get in quick succession.  With the height gained, I also get the first look of London that the loop has provided for sometime.

London Loop Stage 12
Scouting Badge for Survellience 
London Loop Stage 12
London - 10 Miles as the Crow Flies
Thankfully, after a slop through the park, Chingford is all down hill.  A last cheeky cache and then my reward opposite the station, in the only way I know how.

London Loop Stage 12

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