When I last hit the Capital Ring, I did section 2 and a bit of section 3, I hadn’t planned on doing any more until the Autumn but I’m not recovering too badly from my surgery, so I thought that I’d finish section 3 before the trains round my neck of the woods turned into a total nightmare for the summer.
I also thought that a spot of Capital Ring might entertain my increasingly tricky to entertain children; I’ve come to realise that there are lots of things to do in London for the under elevens, not so much for older kids. S, my oldest, who is into everything, does not have the often found teen attitude of “that’s too babyish” but Z, my youngest, was never particularly that into that sort of kids stuff (unless it involved a computer) even when ‘that stuff’ was more age appropriate for him. Anyway, Z’s ideal holiday would be six weeks, in his pyjamas, in front of his computer, obviously, that’s not going to happen but trying to find stuff for him to do that doesn’t involve a screen is even harder now that he’s older. So, Capital Ring.
I’d finished my jaunt through section 3 last time in Beckenham Place Park, I had exited in the direction of Beckenham Hill Station but had realised, when checking my transport app, as I left the park, that trains weren’t running or something from the station that day, so I ended up getting the bus to another station. This time round, trains were running to Beckenham Hill, problem was, when we got off the train, as I hadn’t walked as far as the station last time, I had no clue where I was and although I had thought I’d find it easy to get back on the Capital Ring route again, it was difficult. So, big thumbs up to the two different locals who helped us, unprompted, find the park (we probably looked cluelessly lost). Once in the park though, I still had problems finding where I had left the route last time and there was a lot of staring at the Capital Ring map and comparing it to where Apple Maps was saying we were. We eventually figured out where we were, pretty much the opposite side of the park to where I had finished last time and although I didn’t like the idea of skipping a bit of the route, it was a relatively small bit and my kids would have mutinied if I made them walk to the other side of the park and then back again. Once we knew where we were, we managed to find a Capital Ring sign and headed off, except it was completely the wrong direction, in fact we were actually walking back to the other side of the park, where I had finished last time. We only realised this when we came to a more detailed Capital Ring signpost and Crystal Palace was pointing in the direction we’d just come. S was not impressed, as she had said she thought we were going in the wrong direction but I had over ruled her (which I shouldn’t have, as I’ve proved countless times doing the Capital Ring, that I have zero sense of direction). So, I didn’t actually miss that much of the route after all and in hindsight, after doing the whole section, Beckenham Place Park was by far the nicest bit!
After Beckenham Place Park, there is a lot of street walking, there are some more green bits but not that many and not particularly “ooh, let me just get out my camera,” hence no photos. I will have fond memories of section 3 because this is the first time I’ve walked the Capital Ring with anybody and call me biased but my kids are always good company, even if they’re doing the walking equivalent of “Are we nearly there yet?” – thanks Z, although to his credit, he didn’t do it that often but other than that and Beckenham Place Park being quite nice, section 3 is rather bland.
The thing that keeps you going though is the promise of Crystal Palace at the end, in particular, the dinosaurs. Here though, is where the Capital Ring map gets extra confusing, as it shows a route around pretty much all of Crystal Palace, except for the dinosaur bit and then it shows a dotted path (which is normally Capital Ring speak for alternative path, if something is closed or if you can’t go up steps or something) through the dinosaur bit. Yet the written description goes on about the dinosaurs, so I think they got their route key a bit confused for this bit. Also, big bonus, as well as dinosaurs, the dinosaur route is much shorter and, well S wasn’t, but me and Z were getting knackered.
The dinosaurs were put in Crystal Palace by the Victorians and so, they aren’t particularly accurate dinosaurs, however, the grounds they’re in are rather pretty and it is fun spotting them amongst the trees.
I can imagine that they were the height of excitement for the Victorians.
Anyway, that is definitely it for me and the Capital Ring until the Autumn, as it’s not the easiest thing as it is travelling from A to B across south London as it is but with major engineering works, nope, not worth it. I have figured it out though, barring injury or something (touch wood), I will finish the Capital Ring this Autumn. Section 4 is quite short, so I’m going to combine it with section 5, which will just leave section 6 (I started on section 7 in February last year). I suspect sections 4 and 5 may again be a bit bland (sorry South London but you’ve not wowed me on the Capital Ring), so it will be good to get them over and done with. Section 6 though, I’ve been looking forward to that, back on home turf, with very, very little walking through streets (yawn) and lots of (call me biased) the best park in the world, Richmond Park.