So today marked a big jump in our Moonwalk 2013 training regime. We were aiming to walk more than last week’s 22Km through South East London’s many and varied cemetaries, and John planned a 30Km route that followed the London Loop, which is a sort of M25 for walkers. I had some misgivings about all of this but after Vaselining up our feet and nipples (chafing), we left home shortly after 9 this morning. John is fascinated by local rivers and his route first took in the river Beck, with its source at Spring Park near Shirley. Then we continued over the hills in the desultory flurries of granular snow and icy wind to Keston Ponds, the source of the River Ravensbourne.

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Keston Ponds: source of the Ravensbourne. Not crowded today.

This route was good for Oscar the dog, who could be let off his lead for most of it as it took in a lot of Bromley’s open spaces. We are incredibly lucky to have so many urban and semi-rural open spaces and trees here, 15 miles from central London. From Keston we continued to Farnborough via our familiar stomping ground of High Elms. On the way we passed the Wilberforce Oak, where, in 1787, William Wilberforce sat and urged his old college friend William Pitt the Younger to consider abolishing slavery. Here is a pictureof the original oak, which is now dead but another has been planted in its place.

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The Wilberforce Oak isn’t quite as impressive as i thought it would be.

Oscar made a new friend here, a cute gangly-pawed five month old German Shepherd bitch called Willow and she accompanied us for part of the way to High Elms.

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At this point the snow was settling on the frozen ground with a bluish tinge reminiscent of the bloom on a freshly harvested red cabbage but we ploughed on through Farnborough and Orpington, Crofton (where we walked along the Quaggy River for some reason known here as the Kyd Brook,) Petts Wood, Chislehurst and Sundridge Park. In my frozen, sore misanthropy, I mused bitterly that all of these places were within a 15 minute drive of home yet it had taken us hours to walk here. It was hard work, I’ll be honest, and the freezing, grey winter’s day bore us little cheer but the frozen ground at least meant that there was no energy-sapping slip-slidey mud to add to our woes.

So we eventually returned home just after four aching and empty to a hot cup of tea and toasted, buttery bagels. Total distance covered; just over 35Km or 47,472 steps. Not far off our ultimate aim of 42Km in May. And our pace, though not exactly fast, was encouraging. Every time I do one of these walks my pace is slightly quicker, and I’ve noticed that my daily dog walks are becoming faster too, which means that poor Oscar is somewhat shortchanged. Still, after a long walk every weekend, pulling on his lead practically all the way, I expect he’s not too upset about that.

So that was today’s walk. If you’ve enjoyed, or at least been momentarily diverted, by this post please would you consider donating to my Walk the Walk fund? It’s really easy: you just click on that pink Sponsor Me link over there to the right and it will take you to my Walk the Walk fundraising page. Every little helps in the fight against Breast Cancer and its effects. Thank you!