On the ferry.
Sunday 3 March 2002
Lovely warm in the sunny morning and 9 of us met at the Cutty Sark for 10am.
A late one arrived with a puncture so we didn't leave until 10.25 by which time a few were getting understandably restless. East down the river path, then in front of the Naval College and down the glassy alley by the Trafalgar pub. Another puncture. Badly worn tyres, no spare inner tube. One kindly agreed to stay behind and help, I took the rest on along the Thames, round the Dome and on to the Flood Barrier for a coffee stop. We waited, and some, and just pressed on through Woolwich dockyard to the ferry, where they caught us up by using the main road. Good.
The Woolwich Ferry crew were charming for once.
Then north past the Royal docks, the City airport and the lonely campus drums of East London Uni and up to the start of the 6 mile Greenway. You can't get into the Beckton works, which looks after 5 million north London toilets, and mirrors south London's Crossness works where our flushes are treated.
On the Greenway.
The Greenway is a paved path on top of that huge eastbound sewer. There a few irritating gates to keep out motorbikes, but it's a fascinating elevated tour thro bits of where's that Newham and Plaistow past the huge East London cemetery and then past the beautiful Victorian Abbey Mills pumping house and over Stratford Marsh and 5 or so channels of the river Lee/Lea.
And then there's a curly swoop down into Marshgate Mill Lane (I think). Imagine the worst car-breaker rottweiler-ridden broken glass pit-bull terrier burn anything change-the-plates street, and it's here. Don't do it on your own.
And on past the Bryant and May 1884 match-girls strike factory to the end of the Greenway. And we're dumped in nowhere.
But we know the way to huge Victoria Park and lunch at the Pub on the Park at London Fields (where we start the Dunwich Dynamo - check our website, 12 coach back seats sold already, and not infinite). We sat outside and for about £6 got an ok Sunday roast.
Then south down Broadway Market and superb navigation in the uncharted north/good sign posts got us onto Mile End park and the fab green bridge and the seamless merge onto the canal back to Limehouse Basin and the Isle of Dogs/Canary Wharf east side river route back to Island Gardens. Where the cafè is open again in Jamaican mode. We got tea.
And then home via the foot tunnel.
Then some of us hit the Admiral Hardy.
About 22 miles of backstage London. Slow frustrating start, but good tour after.
3 March 2002