Back on track

Ruislip Tube station (no, not the Betjeman one, that was Ruislip Gardens, “Four-square upon the Central Line”, as Muir and Norden nearly wrote) may not be the most likely point of re-awakening, but it was the start of my first post-lockdown walk, the first wind-in-the-face and sunburn-on-the-arms outing — plus, it must be said, unshaven-chin-rasping-inside-the-mask — since … no, not since Coventry City won the FA Cup, but it feels like it.

HS2 goes through West Ruislip, and through the route of Peter Aylmer’s Ruislip Woods walk in his Walking in London book. My job today was to walk a diversion which kept clear of the HS2 works, continuing from the end of the diversion back home, a distance of 7.7km.

Footbridge over the River Pinn, Clack Lane

Not very far, but enough to start the rebuild: it represents almost half of my walking during lockdown. The Hillingdon Trail is similarly disrupted: the Borough has not amended its maps and directions, though there are some roadside diversion signs in key places — perhaps we should call its diversionary route HT2.

A mix of suburbia, green lanes, woodland, and the liminal secondary industry which clings to the edges of suburbia: waste management, car recycling and so on. Really good to be out, even so locally. Just after I arrived home, the guide-book for Elbsandsteingebirge came through the letterbox: still out of reach, but it should be a good read, the German language taxing my lockdown-shrunken brain.

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