Yes, I’m intrepid and I still did a challenge this week – despite ‘The Beast From The East’ swooping in and bringing the country to a grinding halt and causing widespread ‘panic’ – although it wasn’t without consequence – I did have to get the car washed (because someone had written ‘Cock’ on the side of it in the snow!)
Friday brought ‘calamity’ to Londons transport network – but the positive side of a 3 hour commute (to go 7 miles) was that I ran into my good friend Kevin who I talked into coming on a walk with me on Sunday.
I fell victim to work-induced lethargy this week – I knew that I wasn’t going to roll out of bed on Saturday, full of beans and raring to go so I didn’t force myself to – because that would be counter-productive.
Instead I spent Saturday reading, baking bread and playing with my puppy – if I was better at Instagram, the posts would have been adorabubble! #Saturdays
Otford is 14 miles outside of London, reachable by train from Victoria. It’s a pretty town, with a village pond that doubles up as a roundabout and it has good access to the Kent Downs. The Otford Circular walk takes you through woodland, fields and chalk upland. It’s around 5.5 miles long, takes 2-3 hours and it wasn’t busy at all – the ‘Beast’ had seen to that.
Kevin, the puppy and me set off from the train station with some instructions for the walk that I downloaded from the internet, because I didn’t want to pay for a map, because I’m cheap.
The walk starts by taking a right out of the station and again up Pilgrim Road East, then it takes you up what looks like a private driveway, you walk through a narrow alleyway and then it turns into the Kent Downs and becomes a nice little patch of countryside.
The puppy was loving the last bits of snow and did his usual trick of jumping around like a billy goat, although it became clear that he had eaten the tennis ball we gave him last week when it made a bizarre reappearance – no details necessary but mystery solved!
I didn’t… Sorry Kent.
After an hour or so, we stopped for a sandwich on freshly baked bread (thank you me). Kevin and I don’t get to hang out that much, it was great to catch up over a walk – it’s like a catch up over a pint only you actually listen to each other and it all makes sense.
After clearing the chalk uplands we came to these amazing tree arches, which took us up to Dunstall farm – the puppy still can’t figure out his opinion on farm animals, but he spent a good few minutes staring at a cow like he thought they might be related. I don’t like to disappoint him so I’ll probably spend some time teaching him to ‘Moo’ this week.
The farm leads you to more woodland and down to Shoreham station, where you walk through a golf course and back to Otford. Coming out of the woodland, Kevin and I were discussing the pro’s and cons of downsizing and taking life on the road (I’m slightly obsessed with the idea of van life and van conversions). A man overheard and immediately stopped us both – ‘Don’t think about it, just do it’ he said ‘Do it or you’ll always regret it’… I wish I wasn’t impressionable.
This is a nice little walk if you fancy a quick break from London, it’s quick to get to and not too long/short/testing/boring.
Also, there are a couple of ok looking pubs in the town and a load of thrift shops… Who can resist Bygones and Curios?