Friday, 11 January 2013

23-31 - The High Points of London Part 1 - 10th January 2013

London, one of the largest urban zones and metropolitan areas in Europe is made up of 33 boroughs, each one of these boroughs has its own high point and is included in my list of places to visit, as you can imagine many of the high points in London are . . . how do I put this? . . . lacking in glamour? . . . . . . not so attractive? . . .  how about somewhat dull? yes I like that one, somewhat dull, therefore it would be silly of me to make special trips to visit.

When I first came up with the High Points challenge I discovered some confusion over the single highest point of London, I read in a book that is was High Holborn, a friend of mine who lives in London (Darren) pointed out that surely Alexandra Palace was higher and on looking into it, I worked out that High Holborn is the highest point of the City of London, there are of course 32 other parts on London, however Alexandra Palace was not one of them.

I started to researched the High Points of London and working out how to make it more interesting, eventually it came into my head about trying to visit them all in one day, is this possible? can I do it? it was going to be interesting whatever happens. I contacted Darren again and he was eager to join me so we set the date for Jan 10th

Shooters Hill - Greenwich
I headed up to London on the evening before the adventure, Darren lives in Bermondsey, this is perfect as it is very central and heading up the night before means we can set off early in the morning. The drive up was good, the roads were clear and I arrived much earlier than expected. Darren and I chatted for a while and then headed off our beds with our alarms set for 6:30 in the mornings.

January 10th
The alarms woke us up and we got ready and set off for hill number 1 of the day (high point number 22 of all the high points I am doing) , Shooters Hill in Greenwich, this was situated 7.4 miles east of Bermondsey and would take about 25 mins, the drive was easy, pretty quiet for London standards but it was only 7:30am and we arrived at Shooters Hill in Greenwich. The top of the hill was marked by a Victorian gothic water tower, there was a fog in the air so the views were not up to much but we took a few quick photos.

Langdon Shaw - Bexley
Darren and I decided we should score each of the high points out of 10, just to give you an idea of how much we liked each high point, we scored Shooters hill 3 points and then we headed off to high point 2 (or 23)

The next high point (HP) was in the borough of Bexley, heading south from shooters hill we drove the distance of 6 miles in about 20 minutes and ended up in Langdon Shaw. There is not a lot I can say about Langdon Shaw, it was a residential road, there was a school near by, we scored it a 3 again.

Westerham Heights - Bromley
Moving on we drove 19.5 miles to our next location, down to the M25, clockwise to Sevenoaks, then up to the HP near Bigging Hill. Westerham Heights is the of Bromley and the highest point we will visit today, and not only is it the highest point of all the London boroughs, it is also the highest point of Kent, This means I get to cross off 2 high points in 1 go. It was quite nice here, a country road but hard to tell where the actual highest point was, we gave it a score of 7.

Sanderstead Plantation - Croydon
The drive to our next HP was really nice, it was like driving through the New Forest, county roads and heathland and trees. after about 25 minutes and 9.2 miles we stopped at a road and walked into a small woodland called the Sanderstead Plantation, this was the HP of Croydon, it was quite nice here, a proper woodland and we scored it a 6.

Time to recap
HP 1 (22) - Shooters hill (Greenwich) - 132mts
HP 2 (23) - Langdon Shaw (Bexley) - 83mts
HP 3 (24) - Westerham Heights (Bromley) - 245mts
HP 4 (25) - Westerham Heights (Kent) - 245mts
HP 5 (26) - Sanderstead Plantation (Croydon) - 175mts

Clock House - Sutton
The next stop off was in the borough of Sutton, not too far at 5.1 miles, about a 15-20 minute drive. It was slowly becoming apparent as to how long this was all taking to do, Google earth said the whole thing would take about 9 hours but we were well behind schedule, still we carried on. Parking in a residential road we walked up a path into another woodland and found what we thought was the HP, for some reason it was called Clock House, we couldn't see a clock, or a house but I am sure it has its reasons, it was all pretty flat but I think we got it. This one got a score of 7.

Telegraph Hill, Kingston Upon Thames
Kingston Upon Thames next and a place called Telegraph hill, this turned out to be like a scene from 'The Hills Have Eyes', with random containers strewn about with their doors hanging open and dogs barking in the distance, otherwise eerily quiet and mud EVERYWHERE, we quickly took our photos and left as soon as we could scoring it a generous 1.
Lauriston Road, Merton

Onwards to Merton and rather uninspiring high point called Lauriston Road, This was (as you can guess) a road, quite a posh road, beautiful houses but pretty flat and nothing hill like about it what so ever, it was however the highest point, we scored it a 3.

Putney Heath - Wandsworth
The HPs were getting a little boring at this point, were there going to be many like this? just roads, or other odd places, never mind, we continued to our next one which was Putney Heath in Wandsworth. On arrival we were both pleased to see several things, 1 - a toilet (phew), 2 - A tea room (mmmm) and 3 - a nice looking highpoint, it was not that high but it was on the heath and was better than a street corner, we took out photos and got ourselves some food and a nice(ish) cup of tea.

So far so good, I looked at the time, we were a quarter of the way through and we have so far taken over 4 hours, eeeek, this is taking a LONG time. still we had to soldier on. 9 down and 27 to go

To bo continued . . . . . . . . .

The Story so far

Distance travelled - 72.4 Miles - 4 hours
HP 1 (22) - Shooters hill (Greenwich) - 132mts
HP 2 (23) - Langdon Shaw (Bexley) - 83mts
HP 3 (24) - Westerham Heights (Bromley) - 245mts
HP 4 (25) - Westerham Heights (Kent) - 245mts
HP 5 (26) - Sanderstead Plantation (Croydon) - 175mts
HP 6 (27) - Clock House (Sutton) - 147mts
HP 7 (28) - Telegraph Hill (Kingston Upon Thames) - 90mts
HP 8 (29) - Lauriston Road (Merton) - 55mts
HP 9 (30) - Putney Heath (Wandsworth) - 60mts

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