Thursday, 23 October 2014


The London tube is expansive.  It's the third-largest transit system in the world, and finding living quarters close to a stop is what motivates many real estate deals.  

I was quite surprised to find out that if you take the Metropolitan line to its furthest reaches, you end up in the hills in the countryside.  No matter than it was nearly two hours on the tube and I should have just taken the faster light rail to get there, the novelty of taking the tube to the Chiltern Hills was just too much of a novelty to pass up.  

I picked up a guide to the Chilterns by the local tourism board that makes for a nice 8 mile circular, starting and ending at the train station in Chesham.

Passing through town to get to the hills, I noticed a prettified construction barrier:

Finally, out passed the church, the trail climbs into the hills.

Big, beautiful expansive hillsides.  The Chilterns make up part of the Ridgeway- the downs that cut across the north of London, and home to the Ridgeway National Trail.  I've been wanting to hike it- I love the hills and it's close enough to London for it to be an easy out, but there is no public transportation to the trail head and you have to walk three days before you can get your first public transportation back to the city.  I don't want to hike it that badly.

Probably the most magic thing about the hike, aside from taking the tube here, were the numbers of Red Kites I saw.

Dozens of them!  Some of them quite close.  I couldn't turn around and see a patch of sky without seeing one swooping down and harassing all the rest of the avian world.  

Oh, and there were brambles.  So many brambles.  Although the trail cut through a bit of suburbia and I was never far from a backyard, no one had picked a single berry.  They were all for me!

I hike slow to begin with and having food for the taking lining the trail side is downright dangerous.  

Which wouldn't be so bad except I kept getting lost.  Even with a map and compass, there were just too many trails and unmarked branches, and if I got off the trail, I had a hard time rectifying the written instructions for the route I was supposed to be on.

But ah!  There was a pub on route.  Which was closed.  Pubs aren't supposed to close on Sundays!

Altogether, not a bad walk, but not my favorite either.  I somehow managed to lose my Oystercard on the trail- it must have slipped out of my pocket during a vigorous berry reach- which I had never done before.  I guess taking the tube to the trail has its hazards.

1 comment:

  1. I can smell those blackberries! When I lived in England, there were blackberry bushes in our back yard! Love all your knitting projects!