Page 20 column A (the western edge of the known universe) to page 22 column B (Oakwood Station).
Did my first A-Z walk last Thursday. I couldn't have wished for a better start. Pages 20 and 21 (the first actual map pages) contain:
- at least two real ale pubs (the Sebright Arms and the Olde Monken Holt)
- two Tube termini (High Barnet and Cockfosters)
- lots of green stuff
After a dim sum lunch at the New World with various components of London.pm, I headed up to High Barnet. The station's in column D of page 20, so not quite at the edge; this meant I had to head west for a bit before I could get started. The point which I deemed to be the beginning of the walk was the point where Galley Lane joins Wood Street; I took a photo of the sign (and of the pub that happened to be there), sent commemorative SMSes to Bec, Bob, doop, and Richard, and headed towards my first landmark, the Sebright Arms.
The Sebright Arms was on the agenda because it was in last year's Good Beer Guide, and hence got added to RGL when I was doing my auto-import of all GBG pubs. Sadly, it's not in it this year; I don't know why. Equally sadly, I didn't get there until 2:50pm, and it closes at 3pm on Thursdays, so I didn't go in. Never mind; the Olde Monken Holt (on the agenda for the exact same reason) was just a short walk away, so I headed over there for a pint (for review purposes, of course), and a bowl of chips (since I forgot to eat enough food at lunchtime).
From here on, the walk was pretty much entirely countryside. I was basically walking across Monken Hadley Common from west to east. There was a very very villagey bit, and then there was woodland. I stumbled on some London Loop signs at one point, and followed them for a while. Towards the end of the walk, and the afternoon, I started to see other walkers: a young couple, hand-in-hand; an older couple, with a car and a dog; another dog-walker, alone but for his dog.
The end of the common was marked by another pub — the Cock and Dragon, which I didn't go in (but should have, since it would have meant I missed rush hour later on). Cockfosters station was just a few minutes away; I walked past it, but decided to press on to Oakwood station, since it would get me onto the next page.
Cockfosters to Oakwood was the least enjoyable bit of the entire walk. I walked along Westpole Avenue, which is basically a long, straight, tedious suburban street. And my feet hurt, because they'd just spent 45 minutes walking on nice soft ground, and now I was expecting them to put up with hard pavements (and I need new boots). If I'd realised that this part would be so dull, I'd have stopped at Cockfosters and then started the next walk with a good wander around Trent Park.
But overall it was great! Next up, Oakwood to (probably) Ponders End.
There is a photoset on Flickr, and a (rather noisy) GPS trace on Google Maps, and I've also set up a Twitter account called KakeWalk, which you can subscribe to if you'd also like to get commemorative SMSes on future walks (I only sent them to people who I knew were interested in me and/or adventures this time round, but I'm happy to share with more people) when something interesting happens, or when I find myself in a pub that I plan to stay in for more than half an hour.