So, having mostly enjoyed section 15, last week, I was keen to get cracking on section 1 of the Capital Ring, so I traipsed all the way over to Woolwich, got to the foot tunnel (the starting point) and then promptly went in the wrong direction for 3km, sigh. Now, this has a lot to do with my poor navigation skills but the fact that the Capital Ring sign at the foot tunnel seemed to be pointing in the wrong direction, did not help. The beginning of the section basically follows the river along the Thames Path and I thought, well, the sign’s pointing that way, off I go, expecting to see the Thames Barrier any minute, nope. And it took me 3km to twig *face palm*. But all was not lost because those 3km of Thames Path were absolutely lovely, much better than the occasionally slightly creepy Thames Path from section 15, it was well maintained, lovely and green and had some absolutely stunning views.
Anyway, I turned back when I realised my mistake, so that was 6km ‘detour’, the section itself is 11km, so I knew that I wouldn’t be able to complete all of it, I could have just gone back home from Woolwich and tried again another day but the thought of traipsing all the way there again was just yeugh, so I walked on a bit, trying to find the best place along the route that had a train station nearby, so that I would have a good starting point next time. Unfortunately, although there are a few stations near the beginning of the section, there isn’t anymore until the end, so I couldn’t walk far and the bit I did walk wasn’t that good. Once back at the foot tunnel I headed in the opposite direction but the Thames Path detours away from the river in places there and it was quite easy to get lost again, luckily though I still managed to either be able to see the river or roughly know where it was, so I knew that at least this time I was heading in the right direction. By this point I’d completely lost the signs, so I ended up walking through a housing estate trying to get back onto the Thames Path. I managed to get back on it eventually but it wasn’t anywhere near as nice as my unplanned detour bit. I finally got to see the Thames Barrier (if you squint you can just about see it in this photo) –
-before being directed inland on a detour through another housing estate. I ended up getting as far as the entrance to Maryon Park, before veering off to get to Charlton station, so I got about 2.5km of section 1 done and what with the walk from Woolwich Arsenal to get to the foot tunnel originally and then the walk to Charlton station, I did still get my 11km done.
I had been feeling really enthusiastic about trying to find extra time to fit in a good few more sections in before my op in July but after today, not so enthusiastic, confusing signs aside, when I actually got onto section 1, it wasn’t that much to write home about, especially compared to my wrong turning. I suspect as well, that most of the rest of section 1 will not be that brilliant, although it looks a bit interesting towards the end. In the half of the Capital Ring that I’ve done so far, there have been some absolutely stunning sights (Fryent Country Park, Highgate Wood, Harrow on the Hill, Parkland Walk, River Lea) but I guess there isn’t a ring of complete and utter amazingness around London, so there will be some dreary bits but yeugh, having to travel right across the city to get to them ….