Sunday, June 3, 2018
Harold Wood to Upminster -- and DONE!
I did my final section of the LOOP yesterday -- the four miles from Harold Wood to Upminster. I sabotaged myself by accidentally leaving home without my map, but then I thought, "No problem -- I'll just call it up on my phone." (I download the maps from the TFL web site.) And then I discovered to my horror that my phone only had 25 percent battery power!
So that added a frisson of tension to the walk -- knowing that at any moment I might be left mapless. The trails are marked, but the markings aren't designed to define every twist and turn. I can't see following the path without a map. So much for my years of Boy Scout training!
But by conserving power on the phone I pulled through just fine, following the path as it wandered across a section of woodland known as Pages Wood and through forests along the Ingrebourne River.
I spotted bright blue damselflies, known as banded demoiselles, fluttering among the tall grass near the riverbank.
I walked the edges of a field full of what looked like pea plants, where a crow was barely keeping his head above the foliage.
And I passed a pair of lazy goats lounging on a raised wooden platform in a fenced yard. They didn't seem interested in me at all.
And then I was back in Upminster again, where I started this walk last August! The windmill, built in 1803, is sadly still under renovation, just as it was when I passed last time. I guess I'll have to make a special trip out there if I ever want to see it, sometime after this year when the work is scheduled to be completed.
It was cool to be back in a slightly familiar place. Remember this shop? I photographed it last year but it was closed, so I missed all the fun stuff outside that truly conveys the Unique nature of the merchandise! Dave was upset that I didn't buy the stormtrooper, but for one thing (and there are many reasons why I didn't buy it) I don't see how I could have gotten it home.
Anyway, that's that! The LOOP, all 150 miles of it, has been trod by my own two feet. Kind of crazy, right?
I had elaborate plans to throw away my LOOP-walking shoes (AKA the dog-walking shoes) when I finished, because they are very bedraggled, but they seem like they may have some life in them yet. Maybe I'll use them for gardening.