A visit to London

It was time for my Covid vaccination, so a good opportunity to get on a train to London without feeling guilty about bending lockdown rules. The nearest station to the appointment at St Thomas was Waterloo, but looking at the map, I decided that it would be a much nicer walk from Charing Cross.

There is only one fast train per hour to London these days (it used to be four), so I had plenty of time to explore before my appointment.

I crossed the river using the western Golden Jubilee bridge – there used to be a grotty walkway alongside Hungerford Bridge, so this is a vast improvement:

A nice view of the (closed) London Eye from the bridge:

and then to a very deserted South Bank:

then Westminster Bridge, looking quite resplendent in the gloom:

Time for a quick mid-morning snack opposite the Houses of Parliament:

Then it was time to get vaccinated at St Thomas:

I then walked over Westminster Bridge to St James Park:

then past Horse Guards parade and The Mall (looking very empty indeed):

finally, through Admiralty Arch into a very empty Trafalgar Square:

then past the National Gallery & St Martin in the Fields:

and to Charing Cross Station and the train home:

It all made a nice change! And it was nice to see bits of London without pushing through lots of foreign tourists…

 

A Cold Weekend

No fresh snow for a while, but the temperature has remained below freezing all week, so the paths through woods were frozen solid, and consequently quite hard to walk on. The one benefit was returning home with a clean dog – this photo was taken almost at the end of our walk in High Elms:

We went to Shoreham Woods on Sunday. I normally avoid this path because it is so muddy during the winter, today it was just rough walking on ice:

Rocco enjoyed himself though:

The views from Polhill Bank are always nice:

And the paths along the Darenth Valley:

Rocco enjoyed himself crossing the large field:

And then back home, with a clean dog yet again!

Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud?

There have been far more “wet days” this winter than I recall – not so much heavy rain (or at least not when the dog needs walking), but consistent rain making everything VERY wet. Even High Elms Country Park, which normally isn’t too bad in the winter, has been suffering with muddy paths this winter.

Today’s walk was in the National Trust “Petts Wood & Hawkwood” estate. Rocco loves going there as there are plenty of rivers and ponds to get wet and muddy in.

However, the paths were really muddy today, and with a light dusting of snow and some strong gusts, it wasn’t always that pleasant walking!

Rocco was enjoying himself though:

Further on, it didn’t get much better:

Though the heathland looked pretty:

Rocco needed a hose down once we’d returned home!

A Frosty Shoreham Woods

A cold morning, so two pairs of gloves and a woolly hat today!

So we’re off to Shoreham Woods.

3° below zero according to the car, so at least most of the muddy paths will be frozen. Unfortunately, my least favourite path down the hill was a combination of uneven surfaces and icy puddles – quite a struggle to stay upright!

It was nicer further on at Polhill Bank, and while I retied my shoelaces, Rocco enjoyed shredding the stick he’d carried for the last mile:

With no one else around, and the mist suppressing distant noises, it was eerily quiet:

Later, we had to get past some ponies to get to the stile. But these ones are no problem – they must be really used to dogs by now:

Disappearing Path

A cold and misty morning today, though with no wind. High Elms is starting to dry out a bit after the last storm, so Rocco returned much cleaner than before!

This is the path across one of the fields, and yes, it does go somewhere eventually!

Boxing Day at Shoreham Woods

The woods were almost deserted this morning; in fact I only met three other dog walkers the entire time. A bit warmer than yesterday as well, though less sunshine.

Rocco likes these woods as it is very muddy, and there are plenty of sticks for him:

If there’s an opportunity, he does like to chew them into small pieces:

Shoreham village looks nice as always:

And the path across the fields unusually didn’t have any cows in it:

Christmas 2020

Like most of the country (world?), our Christmas was a much quieter affair than recent years, but we had an enjoyable day nevertheless.

Gemma had wrapped a chew for Rocco, but he was very unsure what to do with it:

An hour later, it had disappeared, so he either ate it or hid it somewhere!

After lunch, we went for a walk in the sunshine. This is Rocco waiting me to throw his stick for him:

The park looked nice in the sun:

But it didn’t stop Rocco getting muddy:

Sunrise at High Elms

It’s a lovely crisp morning, and really quiet at my favourite place to walk Rocco – High Elms Country Park. Not too muddy this morning, which is a bonus.

As we descended down the hill, the sun was just rising over the opposite hill, bringing a bit of colour to the woods:

Merry Christmas to one and all!

Kyd Brook

Very heavy rain overnight, though it had eased a bit by the time I took Rocco for his morning walk. We went to a rather muddy Petts Wood & Hawkwood – one of his favourite walks as there is a lot of mud, water and sticks!

Kyd Brook was seriously in spate following the overnight rain – I’ve not seen that much water in it for a fair while:

Rocco leapt in as usual, but really struggled to swim against the current, and only just got out again. At which point he ran over the bridge and got in that side. Again, he was swept down the brook and this time, he really did have a hard time getting out. Luckily after that, he treated the brook with a bit more caution!

This bit further down is normally about 6″ deep with a little “beach” to the side:

Further on, Pondwood Pond was a bit calmer, and he had a swim there instead:

Pondwood Pond

Rocco and I regularly walk in Petts Wood & Hawkwood woods; he enjoys it because there are lots of sticks, and ponds & rivers to get wet in.

Last February, a very large tree fell into the pond in the middle of Pondwood:

The trunk was soon cut to keep the path clear, but the branches in the water have been there ever since.

When we visited today, the rest of the tree had been cleared away, and he could have a swim again.

The whole area by the pond has also been cleared. You can see the logs by the fence line:

It’s so nice to have woods that are looked after, even if it takes a while to get things done.