According to Transport for London, there’s very little there…
… but if you venture to this patch of nothingness between the Hounslow and Great Chertsey roads, then you will be met with a riot of colour, a profusion of trees and a tantalising tower. And, of course, the river.
And if you venture there on a Saturday morning, then you will be in great company, for it is the home of the new(ish) Crane parkrun.
Logistically, Crane parkrun is not without its challenges. The start and the finish are about a kilometre apart and parking is limited. If you are cycling (as I did), then aim to be at the finish by about 8:40am to give yourself time to leave your pannier, cycle down to the railings, lock up your bike and jog to the start. Any later and you will have to throw yourself on the mercy of the volunteers at the start and hope that they will take pity on you and carry your pannier around to the finish. As parkrun volunteers are uniformly wonderful, you may (as I was) be in luck, but I wouldn’t like to make a habit of it!
The route is simple, beautiful and essentially flat. Underfoot is either hard gravel path or tarmac, and as it comes without tree roots, muddy puddles and potholes, it is very buggy friendly. There are a lot of dog walkers about, but relations with them seemed cordial, and most returned my gasping hellos.
Icing on the cake? Bumping into three familiar faces (not a bad hit rate in a field of thirty-two runners) and clocking another sub-28 min time. But when the cake is as great as this one, the icing is pretty much redundant. Even for someone with as sweet a tooth as me.