However, as the year went by, I was doing the walks for the sake of the walks themselves; for fresh air and exercise, to explore new places, for the peace and solitude, for the freedom to please myself for a few hours.
The scrapbook fell by the wayside, but I do have the photos if I choose to go back and complete it. However the project achieved its aim of making me more active, and walking is now a bigger part of my life than it was a year ago, so much so that I am planning a new adventure.
The Jubilee Greenway was devised in 2012 to celebrate both the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics. It runs for 60km (one for each year of the Queen's reign) around London, linking the major venues used for the Olympic Games. The walk is divided into 10 sections, and I thought that they would be easy to pick off one-by-one, but looking closer I discovered a few flaws with that idea.
- I will be using public transport, and the 'official' sections don't start and finish at stations. It's quite annoying to read the instructions 'retrace your steps...' at the end of a section.
- 60km. 10 sectors. So they should all be around 6km, shouldn't they? You'd have thought so, but they aren't. The shortest official section is 3.5km (2.2 miles) which would mean spending longer travelling to and from the walk than actually walking; the longest is 10km (6.2 miles) which would be a struggle, especially when you take into account that I'd have to walk to/from the stations on top of that.
- Sections 1-9 run in a full 'circle' and then there's section 10 which is a spur that runs from the end of 3/start of 4 along the Regent's Canal to Limehouse.
So, I spent this morning with all official route section guides (and a tube map) laid out on the dining room table, planning my own version of the Jubilee Greenway walk.
- 8-10 roughly equal length walks
- each sector to start and finish at convenient stations
- to start or finish the whole walk at the end of the spur to Limehouse
- to walk in a clockwise direction as it's the way that the guide is written
- to walk the length of the Regent's Canal in consecutive sections
I initially considered 8 sections of around 8km (5 miles) each but I soon realised that I want to be able to explore places en route such as the Olympic Park at Stratford and the Royal Observatory at Greenwich without exerting myself too much. Five miles is about my limit for a comfortable walk (though I'm hoping to extend that over time) so I went for 10 sections in the end.
I'll be starting from Victoria Park near Bethnal Green tube, walking east via Stratford and Plaistow to cross the Thames at Woolwich. Then I'll follow the river west through Greenwich and Rotherhithe along the South Bank to Westminster. There I'll head through Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens to Paddington where I'll pick up the Regent's Canal at Little Venice and follow it past my start point and down to the Limehouse Basin.
Now I'm just hoping for some decent weather so I can make a start.
Wish me luck!