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What's this blog all about?

Hi, I'm Nicola - welcome to a blog about family travel around the world, without leaving the UK.
I love travel adventures, but to save cash and keep my family's carbon footprint lower, I dreamt up a unique stay-at-home travel experience. So far I've visited 110 countries... without leaving the UK. Join me exploring the next 86! Or have a look at the "countries" you can discover within the UK by scrolling the labels (below right). Here's to happy travel from our doorsteps. See www.nicolabaird.com for info about the seven books I've written, a link to my other blog on thrifty, creative childcare (homemadekids.wordpress.com) or to contact me.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

At last we've walked 75 miles round London






This blog is about family travel around the world without leaving the UK. Impossible? No. Here are some thoughts on the joys of walking in the city (any city). This post was made in April 2012 by Nicola Baird (see www.nicolabaird.com for more info about books and blogs).  
Pix above offer a taste of London views for walkers - sublime, chilly, fingerpost marked and a successful bench hunt to rest those weary legs... The last three pix show Nell and Lola reading, Pete and the girls looking at the dinosaurs at Crystal Palace and the last pic is me, Vulcan and the girls celebrating our very last Capital Ring fingerpost!
It's taken us nearly six years - from autumn 2006 to April 2012 - but at last we've completed the Capital Ring, a 75 mile (120km) walk around London. It was dreamt up in the year 2000 and then signposted around the capital in 2003. On our walks we've rarely met anyone else pounding the route, although I know another local family who impressively finished it during a three-month weekend of walks. Turns out 1000s have completed it - some in less than a week -according to the route maestro and Capital Ring guide book author Colin Saunders:  
"Sales of the book have now passed 11,000 since it was first published in 2003. Of course not all who buy it will complete or even walk the route; on the other hand many who walk it won’t have the book.  Completers are encouraged to contact Walk London for a certificate."
On our final hike - eight miles from Grove Place to Crystal Palace - both Lola and Nell were desperate to take short breaks so they could go back to the Harry Potter adventures they were reading. But on other routes they've looked up and seen herons, squirrels, wild flowers, stunning views of London and all sorts of pubs. There's been something of note everywhere - old houses, litter, multicultural shops, religious festivals, chalked pavement notes, football crowds and often in the far horizon Wembley Stadium's arches, a plane circling for Heathrow and the hills that spread out of London away to the downs beyond Croydon, and the chalk hills of Buckinghamshire. Even when the walk is bad (through boring suburban homes), it usually means it is just about to get better.


Circling London on foot has certainly helped all of us learn how vast our home town is (well, there are 7 million  plus Londoners) and how green (and underused) parts of it is. It's true that we will happily walk in rain, but the only time we've really seen children out and about (besides supervised play in parks) has been in Beckenham.


More about the Capital Ring here.

Over to you
How many big walks can you name - or have you done? Ideas from anywhere in the world please!

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