December 22, 2010 2 Comments
Work has all but dried up and I have writers block – it must be Christmas. An engagement in the evening was all I had on so I did something I have always wanted to do from my parents house in Pitsea, Essex; that is walk to London – The Sekforde Arms in Clerkenwell to be precise.
The only trouble was I hadn’t given myself too much time; it was seven minutes past two when I left and I wanted to be sat down in a warm pub having a drink and talking politics by about eight. The conditions were terrible for such a venture; freezing cold weather, iced footpaths and smatterings of rain and snow. It probably would’ve been easier to chase the Southend Arterial Road, or the A127,
all the way along to Havering, but I gave myself the other challenge of walking the back roads; just to make things a little more exciting. I tailed along Wickford Avenue to the Southmayne road at which point I took the Broadmayne road all the way down to Upper Mayne, where I walked through a frozen Gloucester Park towards Laindon.
Instead of going up the entire A176 leading to Pipps Hill and the Arterial Road, I turned left on the B148 up St Nicholas Lane, which has the oddly placed financial district of Laindon, near to where James Hornsby High School is. I carried on down this road until Southfields Business Park, which features a beautiful clock in the middle of one of the roundabouts (pictured). I followed the road round Westmayne near the Toomey Saab car joint, past Fords, after the exit for Dunton Village and eventually turned for a brief walk on the Arterial Road before you get to Dunton Wayletts, adjacent to lower Dunton Road.
After walking briefly down the Arterial Road adjacent to East Horndon I exited at Tilbury Road (where I probably could’ve got to had I turned down the road which led to Dunton Village). Tilbury Road was the second worst road to walk on for me (the first coming later) being without path, narrow and sludgy. Quite why it has a bus stop placed near the roundabout exit is beyond me. It was starting to get dark at this point. I followed station lane which led me to a very residential West Horndon. Past here I took a bridge over the rail line and continued down St Mary’s Lane – the worst road to walk down of the journey. The road was narrow, without any footpath, and at this point pitch black. I kept having to walk from one side of the road to the other in order not to bit by over-zealous cars. The road is a very long one which passes through Thurrock and eventually leads to the London Borough of Havering – a triumph in itself. It is home to some very pleasant houses, two kennels and a carp centre called Koi Logic (which is situated just at the end of the B186 at Warley Street).
It was really raining at this point, going as I did under the M25 or the autoroute britannique. Along the B187 by Lichfield Terrace and before the Masons Arms pub I stopped in a small shop for a lucazade and a dime bar. Further up past Cranham I stopped in the local Waitrose adjacent to Tudor Gardens, where I really turned the walk into a derive, buying as I did a bottle of Pinot Grigio, a bigger bottle of Lucozade to drink and contain the wine (so as to hide the actual contents) and a large bar of Dark Chocolate with sea salt inside. I first attempted to crawl up Front Lane – where the Cranham sign is situated (pictured) but though better of it, carrying on up St Mary’s Lane (which leads up to Upminster Bridge tube station near Hornchurch stadium).
I took a right at station lane up to Upminster national rail and succumbed to getting the train (it was half past six at this stage). It’d taken me about four hours and twenty minutes to walk from Pitsea to Upminster. I travelled by train to Fenchurch street, hopping off and walking on the North side of the bank until London Bridge where I crossed to the Southbank walking up towards Blackfriars bridge. Crossing at the bridge I seemed to zig zag the bridges for no apparent reason; I walked New Bridge Street to join Farringdon Street which traces part of the River Fleet Walk. Past the road with Farringdon tube station, and immediately past the Clerkenwell Road intersection between the A201 and the A5201I turned down Bowling Green Lane, taking the road all the way down to Sekforde Street, turning right at that road and reaching my destination. I necked the last drabs of my wine and joined the conversation – in fact one of the very first things I mentioned to an acquaintance was the walk I had just embarked upon.