Saturday, 6 April 2013

Nine Bridge River Thames Walk

Nine miles and nine bridges along the Thames from Ravenscourt Park to Sloane Square.

1. Hammersmith Bridge
The king of London's bridges. Handsome, creaking, IRA-defying landmark for rowers and joggers of all ages and abilities. Green and gold up close; more often a dark silhouette against the sky and river.

2. Putney Bridge
Boathouses always bustling on the Surrey side; spruced up Bishops Park on the Middlesex side; a London bus always crossing the historic arches. Read Wolf Hall and forever associate it with Thomas Cromwell.

3. Putney Railway Bridge
Looks like a meccano tube. Good for jogging over. Steep steps at either end and a single-file width add to the challenge.

4. Wandsworth Bridge
Ugly and steeper than it looks. Refreshments available in The Ship on the south side. A Youngs pub that stocks guest ales - Wandle had run out but the Purity Gold was ok. New bartender served soda and lime with a record-breaking amount of square ice. Weird atmosphere; a load of totally sozzled twentysomethings half-asleep surrounded by empty fizz bottles. At 12.30pm.

5. Chelsea Harbour Railway Bridge
Pedestrians denied. Unwelcoming. Like most of the eerily-empty riverside apartments of the super rich. Doesn't Michael Caine live here somewhere? Like a millionaires' Malaga out of season.

6. Battersea Bridge
Goldie-looking bridge in blue plaque and posh houseboat country. See if you can cross the road without getting honked. Whistler points the way.

7. Prince Albert Bridge
Pink and ostentatious link from Cheyne Walk to the south side. Remember to break stride if you're marching over it with an army.

8. Chelsea Bridge
Sandwiches the Battersea Park daffodils with the Prince Albert and a spicy big Buddha dressing.

9. Chelsea Railway Bridge
The London Eye and the Palace of Westminster glitter beyond. Head inland past the Chelsea Pensioners to Sloane Square.

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