Thursday, November 30, 2006

Capital Ring: Sudbury Hill to Hendon

Today Bondi and I picked up our journey around London via the Capital Loop, returning to Sudbury Hill station where we'd left off just over three weeks ago.

I was rapidly unimpressed by the guide book I had, as the map fragments omitted street names, as do many of the actual major streets in London - not a helpful combination. Running between the maps is a long stream of text mixing walking directions with historical snippets. I think the book needs to be completely re-thought with clear maps, and sidebars for the history. On today's walk we ended up straying off the path a number of times, either because the text was ambiguous or the route was blocked and I had to make guesses as to how to reconnect with it.

Anyhoo... the first pleasant part of the journey was at Harrow-on-the-Hill where the famous Harrow School is situated, a dense cluster of buildings with a commanding view to London in the southwest. Bondi distracted some bored students in one class as we strolled down the road past one of the science blocks. Later in the walk I noticed curtains peeled back as elderly residents peered out at Bondi sauntering down their street.

Near to the school is the small church of St Mary's, with its spire made more prominent by the elevated position of the church, at the highest point of the entire Capital Ring. A plaque outside the church displays some poetry written by Byron when he was a student at Harrow just over 200 years ago. His daughter is buried in an unmarked grave in the grounds here.

Looking southwest through Harrow buildings

As we moved down to the Harrow sporting fields, another sacred (to some) location is revealed via the 133m arch of the new Wembley Stadium. As Pelé said: "Wembley is the church of football. It is the capital of football and it is the heart of football".

The last scenic stretch in the walk was the Brent or "Welsh Harp" Reservoir, heavily populated by waterfowl and sailing boats.

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