The End by boxplayer

The End

We celebrate with a drop of Cava at the end of our walk round the Capital Ring.

Got the tube to Highbury and Islington then the Overground to where we left off last Wednesday at Hackney Wick. Got some more photos of the street art in Wallis Road just round the corner from the station as the morning sunshine was lovely.

Not all that warm though - a very brisk wind turned the forecast 17 degrees to more like 10 I think and that continued more or less the whole day - like we were walking along some kind of 10-mile wind tunnel.

Crossed the bridge over the Lee Navigation and picked up the towpath again - quite quiet this early so not too much dodging of frantic cyclists at all. The boats were all very pretty in the sunshine and there was loads more street art along the towpath walls and bridges. Came across a lovely quiet basin by Old Ford Locks along with the old Big Breakfast house and a leftover sign from the Olympics for the Water Bus that would deposit visitors arriving to the Games by boat.

Soon after that we turned off the Lee Navigation and went up on to the Greenway - rather oddly named as it's built over the massive, major Northern Sewer Outfall that stretches from Hackney to Beckton. This end of it was strangely bleak, with not many people around and big stretches of derelict land obviously awaiting development. On the other side though was the Queen Elizabeth Park with a good view of the old Olympic stadium, now West Ham's base, and the ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture.

We passed by Bow Back Rivers and Stratford briefly then we were back on the Greenway, passing the amazing palatial Abbey Mills Pumping Station. On the path here there was an interesting sundial in the ground that worked by using your own shadow - you stood on the relevant month of the year.

We came off the Greenway at Barking Road in Plaistow and looked for somewhere to eat - several options, a pie and mash shop and a promising looking greasy spoon. But we ended up in Delicious, a great little all-purpose caff, quite busy with locals, doing all sorts from hot dinners, sandwiches, breakfasts and so on. I plumped for a Mediterranean breakfast of fried egg, halloumi, feta and salad with baguette and Dave had the rather enormous veggie breakfast.

Then it was back on the Greenway for a bit longer. It had become rather unpleasant - closer to civilisation here and with easy access from the neighbouring houses, the grass verges were full of dog poo and there was a very strong smell presumably seeping up from the sewer.

Luckily we didn't have much longer to go on it as we turned off and made our way to Beckton District Park - a large green space with quite a lot of varied scenery: tree trails, a big lake with bird life, meadows, woody enclosed paths and the odd abandoned supermarket trolley.

Eventually found ourselves by Cyprus DLR and crossing over that on the campus of the rather striking newish University of East London development - great architecture - especially the rather Teletubbies land colourful student flats all lined up along Royal Albert Dock. Royal Albert Dock was very attractive, the water quite choppy in the stiff breeze, the sun glinting on the ripples and, periodically, planes coming in and out of London City Airport just across the water.

As we neared the Steve Redgrave Bridge we turned off and found pretty Grade II-listed The Reach Bar and Kitchen, formerly the Gallion Hotel where people would stay before embarking on the big liners that used to dock here. Quiet in there on a Wednesday afternoon and we gratefully stopped for a sit down and a bottle of beer (Dave) and a Posh Pop cherry and plum drink (me).

The walk after this became very spookily and eerily quiet and devoid of people. We walked away from the bar on to Atlantis Avenue which had a bit of traffic on it but this petered out beyond a crossroads - apparently it had been built when there had been talk of a new bridge across the river, but now it's a road to nowhere.

We got to the Thames riverside - and from here on we saw barely no one. The actual river path was quite secluded and obviously not generally well-used - very atmospheric though with views across the river and to the big Barking Creek flood barrier and old remains of piers. We passed old landing stages and slipways where former versions of the Woolwich ferry used to land.

The spookiest bit came when we passed through Galleons Reach Estate - a modern residential development - but with not a soul around - not even the odd retired person doing their shopping or working-at-home parent wheeling their litttle one around for a walk. It felt a bit like an abandoned town from some nuclear test site in Russia or the day after the meteor storm in The Day of the Triffids.

Before we could get totally freaked out though we saw someone come out onto a balcony to hang out their washing. Phew. Then there was a bit more secluded riverside then we were at the Woolwich ferry terminal. We headed under into the foot tunnel and laughed at all the cyclists ignoring the No Cycling signs.

Then it was back out into the sunshine and we headed to the Capital Ring signpost to touch it to mark our completion of the 78 miles - we started in April 2015 so it's taken a year and a half. There wasn't anywhere really obvious there to put my camera down to take a self-timed shot of us, so we moved down the riverside a bit to find a little bit with steps just in the sunshine and opened our celebratory cava and signed our completion certificate.

Moving back to the main signpost, we found a couple watching the river and asked them to take a picture of us by the signpost. Then we walked on to Woolwich Arsenal, having fun with the figures of Peter Burke's Assembly before walking back to the station. Picked up the DLR to Stratford then from there got the Central line one stop to Leyton and got a bus home.

Rather bereft now - but it's the Thames Path next, how very exciting.

T is for trolley
Royal Albert Dock

5 October 2016
Woolwich SE18
You & Dave are very intrepid explorers! Read all your commentary & all I can say is very well done! I don't know London at all so couldn't follow your route but I did visit the Olympic stadium in 2012 so know where Stratford is. You are right to look pleased with yourselves.
October 9th, 2016  
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