14 February 2020

Weekly Walk: Richmond to Uxbridge

This week's walk came about following a discussion on exploring the outer reaches of the Underground network, places like West Ruislip. I said that I would play around with routes on Google Maps and see where we could walk to from there that was 15 to 20 km.

That did not really work so I tried from Uxbridge (one end of the convenient Piccadilly Line) instead and it quickly occurred to me that the obvious place to walk to/from was Richmond. Starting from home gave the added advantage of being able to start the walk early, say 8:30am.

The first part of the walk was familiar enough as we walked along the Thames to Iseleworth and then it was a new route to Osterley Park. We had walked through there before but then we were travelling south and this time we were going the opposite way. I preferred this approach because of the first views of the house across the lake.

Immediately afterwards we had to cross the M4 which took us into unexpected farming country with the smells to match. The village of Norwood Green looked decent too.

We then crossed Grand Union Canal for the first time. I made the decision to avoid central Southall, expecting it to be busy, and to stay in suburbia.

At first that worked though the area looked decidedly run-down and had the shop familiar to poor areas. It was not all doom and gloom though and there were some nice buildings amongst the neglect.

We crossed the canal again and wondered why Apple Maps had not suggested that we walk along the towpath.

Suburbia died quickly and we found ourselves on a main road in an area of large commercial buildings. This was not what we wanted so we came up with a new brilliant plan, rejoin the canal and follow it the rest of the way to Uxbridge. This meant sacrificing a little pace as we swapped tarmac pavements for a muddy path.

We soon found ourselves in Hayes (not that we knew that at the time) and what we could see from the towpath suggested that there might be a cafe nearby and we did well to find Pop-In Cafe. They did not do the cake that I was hoping for but I was very happy to settle for a Cheese Omelette Breakfast which came with beans, hash browns and tomato. A bargain at £6; one of the delights of our weekly walks is finding cafes like this. It was only 10:30am at that time and I was not sure if that counted as a second breakfast or an early lunch.

Following the canal from there was easy if not desperately exciting due to the limited views. At least the peace was appreciated.

My last visit to Uxbridge had been about thirty years ago so I had little idea of what to expect so it was a pleasure to find that we had a choice of what looked like decent pubs to choose from. We went for The Metropolitan which worked out ok despite the limited beer choice. We decided not to eat anything so the meal I had earlier was an early lunch after all.

Rested and repaired, the journey home was evasy enough though it was frustrating to whiz through three District Line stations before changing at Hammersmith and then stoping at each of them going the other way. I am sure there is a good reason why not all Piccadilly Line trains stop at Turnham Green but I wish that they did.

I used MapMyWalk this week and the key numbers from that are we walked 21.7 km in just under 4 hours. That is what I call a good walk.

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