“That would be lovely.”
“What’s in your plan?”
“90 mins on the flat”
“Shall we head to the river?”
“Could do. Though I’ve been meaning to check out the Wangle Trail”
“Wangle = Waddle”
“Waddle = Wandle. Damn you, autocorrect!”
And that was that. We fixed a time, agreed a place to meet and set our alarms for reasonable o’clock (unlike a very dedicated running friend of mine who set hers for 3:30am so that she could squeeze in her long run before her other half left for work).
The Wandle Trail is a 14 mile route which runs along the River Wandle from East Croydon to the Thames, through numerous parks and an industrial estate or two. We decided to start from Morden Hall Park and run and out and back towards the Thames, a great plan, but one that meant we were running imperceptibly downhill on the out and leg-sappingly ever-so-slightly-uphill on the back.
In the main, this part of the trail sticks fairly closely to the river and most of it is both cycle route and foot path. There’s a section through the Wandle Meadow Nature Park which is footpath only (and which we missed out by sticking to the cycle path) and a slight diversion around Earlsfield, but for large chunks of the way, you can see the river in all its glory. As with most urban waterways, there are some quite pretty sections, some bland sections and some sections which, um, won’t be gracing a chocolate box cover any time soon. There were also some fairly typical encounters: a familiar running club face, an over-friendly puppy (which fortunately decided that G was a more exciting playmate), buggies galore, and the occasional baffled “why would anyone run here?” look.
It’s definitely a trail I shall return to (in the day time) if only because it has transport links galore and cafes (with loos) in most of the parks. I may have to reconsider starting from Morden Hall Park though, because I almost bankrupted myself in the National Trust shop at the end of the run.
Rhubarb and Ginger Jam anyone?