Centurions Social Walk No.1
Queens' Diamond Jubilee Walk - Sunday, 15th July 2012
The Jubilee Greenway Walk marks Her Majesty the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and this 37 mile walk is exactly 60 kilometres - 1km for each year of Her Majesty's reign.
Seventeen walkers met on Sunday, 15th July 2012 at 0930, Westminster Tube Station. A highlight of the start was seeing the GB Olympic and Paralympic Team having a photocall on College Green opposite the Houses of Parliament. Luckily, Graham Quaide was there to capture the occasion.
With the Olympics in town, there were (apart from a lot of tourists) inevitable diversions as Oympic venues were being built -not just over in Stratford, but right in the heart of Westminster. Having carried out many recce's of the route over the past weeks, we successfully negotiated the first diversion at the start of the walk came when we reached Horseguards and St James Park is to host the beach volley competition so our route down Horseguards and along the Mall was blocked. No problem! A quick detour through the Park to the Mall where the 20km and 50km walks will be held.
Up through Hyde Park and through the busy streets of Baywater and Paddington to arrive at Little Venice and the canal towpath. The route followed the Regents Canal more or less all the way to Victoria Park in east London. We left the towpath in Islington where the canal went "underground" and we strolled down the busy Chapel Market and once more at the very busy Camden Market.
This was the first day without rain for nearly two weeks - so the paths were crowded with everyone taking advantage of that rare beast - the sun.
Our first stop was the Pavilion Cafe in Victoria Park where we managed to eat our sandwiches or a quick snack. Once replenished, we were off again soon to get our first glimpse of the Olympic Park ... well the top of the stadium and the Orbit Tower!
The actual Jubilee Greenway walk goes through the Olympic Park - in between the stadium and the warm up track - but this path had been closed off since the end of June. Having found a diversion a few weeks later on towpath from Old Ford Lock to Bow roundabout - this too was fenced off two weeks before our walk! With the help of the London A-Z, a secondary diversion was found taking us down Fairfield Road past the old Bryant & May match factory. This old factory has now been turned into Bow Quarter - a smart apartment building. It has been in the news as the army were now using the roof to guard the Games with missile launches.
From Bow we joined the route of the Capital Ring - another great walk around London - and we were soon back on the Greenway (this too may now be closed as it forms the Greenway entrance to the Olympic Park as the route from West Ham station).
This part of the Greenway is a very straight path down through Becton Parks to the Royal Albert Docks - and yet another diversion. The University of East London is host to some of the Olympic Games Family - so this too was locked down. With the help of the aerial Streetmap - it was quite easy to plot a route in advance - and so we found our way to Gallions Roundabout and then on to the Sir Steven Redgrave Bridge. From here we had good views of London City Airport and a couple of luxury cruise liners moored in the Docks for the Olympics.
Soon we reached the Thames itself and we followed the river upstream to the Woollwich tunnel and under the Thames to the south side where we followed the peninsular round past the O2 and the recently opened Emirates cable car. Four of our group left us at North Greenwich to get their respective trains home. The O2 is also a venue for gymnastics and whilst it was fenced off - the path was open. At Greenwich we had a welcome stop to stock up on water and snacks in the shadow of the Cutty Sark. Chris Flint and Richard Brown set off at a cracking pace to get to London Bridge and Waterloo for their trains. Hot on their heels were Graham, Suzanne and Sandra whilst the rest of us folllowed at brisk(but slower!) pace. The route from Greenwich to Tower Bridge was a bit tortuous - leaving the river frequently to skirt round slipways and docks. Soon we had Tower Bridge in our sight - wth the Olympic Rings making a splendid backdrop. Quick photo stop and the last 2.4 miles back to Westminster was quickly covered - dodging in and around the tourists.
Wendy and Ray peeled off at County Hall as they were staying close by. Whilst Norman,Steve, Steve and myself continued over the bridge back to Westminster tube station where we had started 11 and a half hours ago. And there was Sandra - waiting to greet us. Unbeknownst to us, Graham was behind us having taken a wrong turn on the South Bank. Sorry Graham!
Never before have I walked passed so many pubs!
"Thanks for organizing this event -- it was a memorable day that I thoroughly enjoyed. I made it to the train on time and was back home in Bury by 1am"
"Many thanks to everyone for a super day and a great walk on Sunday, and thankyou for joining the party"
"Many thanks for all the hard work that you must have done to organise the memorable Centurions Jubilee Greenway Walk. I thought I was pretty fit from my runnning but I take my hat off to you Centurions for your stamina and cameraderie. It amused me that you called your 60K Jubilee Walk a social one !!"
"Thanks for the effort in arranging/leading Sunday's walk. I enjoyed the day."
"Most enjoyable walk, and thank goodness the weather held up."
The route is designed to be started and finished at any point as there is access to public transport along the way - either tube or bus or mainline. The Jubilee Greenway is a circular route and Walk London’s maps and route description take a clockwise direction which we followed.
It is an urban walk but follows tow paths and parks wherever possible. Many sections of the route will be familiar to anyone who has walked the Capital Ring.
There are paving slabs bearing the Jubilee Greenway sign all along the route and it is really easy to follow - although the route description does come in handy if you have taken a wrong turn!
A overview of the walk is available based on the Walk London route which has been adapted to the Centurions timetable. Downlaod the guide here (pdf).
Section 1: Westminster to Buckingham Palace 2 miles
Section 2: Buckingham Palace to Little Venice 3.5 miles
Section 3: Little Venice to Camden 2 miles
Section 4: Camden to Victoria Park 4.5 miles 4.5 miles
Section 5: Victoria Park to Stokes Road (Becton) 5 miles
Section 6: Stokes Road to WoolwichTunnel 4 miles
Section 7: Woolwich to Greenwich 6 miles
Section 8: Greenwich to Tower Bridge 6 miles
Section 9: Tower Bridge to Westminster 2.5 miles