12 April 2009

Tales from the River Bank

It's been a long time since my last proper, long run--the ten-mile trek from Brooklyn Bridge to West 95th Street, which I completed last September, probably--and as I never really stray very far south of the river, other than in that small segment of the South Bank between the Hungerford Bridge and the BFI, I felt it was time for a little jaunt along the south side. As it's a bank holiday weekend, the weather was pretty dire--grey, cloudy, rainy and humid--but this at least meant that once I cleared the London Eye, going west, there weren't too many tourists and incompetents getting in my way.

My original plan had been to take the tube to Canada Water and start there but as the Jubilee Line was broked this weekend, even getting to London Bridge was a bit of a mission, involving going to Elephant Castle and changing back on to the right branch of the Northern Line. London Bridge was a bit of a zoo but because I wanted to take a look at the Tower and at Tower Bridge (having finished Henry: Virtuous Prince, I've now started on Philippa Gregory's The Other Queen so Tudor sites are still on my mind), I ran east for about a mile before turning around and battling my way back to the BFI. It was very, very busy and I almost took out a number of foreigners who should have been paying more attention. 

By the time I got to Lambeth Bridge, there was hardly anyone else around. By the time I got to Battersea Power Station and sticking to the Thames Path didn't prove very easy, I was starting to wish I had more company when I ended up at a dead end (thank you, sign posts!) and had to run back past them and all the way around the power station before I finally got onto Chelsea Bridge Road and from there, it was just straight up Sloane Street to the south side of Hyde Park and, eventually, Marylebone.

I had measured the route roughly on Google Maps beforehand and had come out with a distance of about seven miles but that hadn't included a) my little detour to eye up the Tower and Tower Bridge or b) the many diversions from the actual, riverside Thames Path the "Thames Path" forces you to make after Vauxhall Bridge. Not to mention the few dead ends I came to in Battersea that required me to retrace my steps. However, I got back to W1 without a map and without smacking any slow incompetents over the head, so I don't think I did too badly. My limbs are inclined to disagree but if they make too much fuss, I might make them start at Greenwich next time, preferably when the weather's a little nicer; they were saved by my lack of desire to deal with non-Tube forms of public transport, on this occasion.

As a reward, I'm going to go to see Les 400 Coups at the BFI and engage in some chillaxation. Probably with a small piece of chocolate.

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