There are numerous reasons why I decided to set myself the challenge to walk the entire 78 miles of the Capital Ring – to help with my mental health, my fitness, for the challenge, to just get outside, to see bits of London I’ve never been to before and to revisit some places I know well. I knew that my friend Sharon would be up for doing it with me too so I ordered the book and we decided which section to do first.
I’m a follow the rules kind of person so it was a bit out of character to start part way through the book on section 6 – Wimbledon Park to Richmond! Little did we know that on 6th August 2021 we were starting with what most Capital Ring walkers consider the best section. We started off at the place where I used to live before we moved to where we are now, on a lovely sunny day. A highlight of this walk was getting up close to the deer in Richmond Park – or at least I did! I took a hilarious photo of the deer right next to me with a tiny Sharon in the distance as that day I learnt she’s not great with big animals!
Walking with Sharon is a joy, we never argue and are interested in the same things – I thought I was a compulsive information board reader but I now realise I’m just in silver position to Sharon’s gold medal-winning reading of every single word. We hand off the book between us as we go, taking it in turns to lead the way and love discussing all the additional information that’s given alongside the directions. She also has something about her that makes many people talk to her – we’ve ended having some great chats with other walkers and people we’ve met on the way, including one guy who was doing the whole of the Capital Ring backwards in a day (on a bike). We also had a strange conversation with an Irish man with the gift of the gab – he was hilarious, tried to convince us he was in the witness protection scheme and we wisely didn’t believe a word he said!
We have a love/hate relationship with the Capital Ring book and the signage. Mostly both are great – the book is much more accurate and helpful than the online version – but there have been many occasions when we have been at a loss of which way to go which would have been solved with the addition of a well-placed sign! On one occasion we had to pick the wooden signpost up off the floor and use logic to work out which way it was supposed to be facing! I don’t know if it’s us or the book but it’s become a running joke that every time we do quite a bit more mileage than is quoted in the book! We like to go off route on occasion if there is something interesting to go and see and we got lost slightly once but these detours still don’t explain all of the difference in mileage.
We’ve done 5 out of 15 sections so far and I can’t wait for us to complete the rest – we’re already discussing what walking challenge we want to take on after we finish the Capital Ring!
Find out more about the Capital Ring