Geograph Blog ::

The 2014 season draws to a close

By David Howard

After my big start to the season (ie when the clocks go forward) in April the elastic which had been being pulled back throughout the winter months was allowed to shoot forward to Dungeness, and then relaxed back into stasis partly as I discovered it was no longer necessary to make a few of my next planned journeys, as plan A (getting as far as possible between my furthest two points) was no longer necessary as none would any longer increase it as they were in different directions and the only one which would add maybe 6-7 miles is about 90 miles. Plan B is new myriads, all well over 80 miles each now, and plan C is compass point records. West is pretty well sufficient, south would get me drowned if I went much further, and unless I went diagonally so will east. As the A12 has now become more like the A406 at least on the last visit when I had to turn off as I'd been in second gear maximum till Chelmsford, let alone the dire journey to reach it at Harold Wood, Colchester was now pretty much off my radar despite many previous visits in the past with no trouble. Things change. I did get to Swanscombe TQ6074 : Swanscombe station by David Howard after the big April burst, just getting into the new hectad TQ67.

Soon afterwards I was laid low with a chest infection, coughing nearly every night for a month or so so back to local duties as I had little energy left for much else. As I recovered I started a new project, partly also based on the lack of need to beat my plan A record as without a different car or benefactor with their own wasn't minded to keep the efforts going which unlike in my 30s now tire me out. I bagged two more hectads, meaning it was now only possible to get new red squares by leaving a 12.5 X 25 mile rectangle which was completely covered already. I made a new list and instead of driving as far down a road as I could manage, I pencilled the map with the green squares and tried to get as many per visit as possible as I had with the hectads, but (unless another raises itself naturally) not going for any more as certainly the ones around the other side of the London border have a few unreachable squares in them, some on gated developments and others in the middle of reservoirs. I suspect TQ37 and 36 may end up next as I've covered so much already, assuming all of those are accessible as all within the suburbs.

So the original lines have become loops and zigzags, and got to know a lot of back doubles and new parks and fields not that far from home, and am always surprised how many squares on the fringe of London only have one or two previous photos for first geographs and then nothing, eg TQ0288 : Over the Misbourne Road, Denham by David Howard, except on the south side which seems a magnet for photographers. It's been a fairly even sweep, from Kimpton in the north TL1618 : Field by Coopers Hill, Kimpton by David Howard Cudham in the south TQ4459 : The view from Berry's Hill by David Howard and Chalfont St Peter TQ0091 : The Warren, Chalfont St Peter by David Howard and Chobham SU9763 : The entrance to Langshot Cottage on Gracious Pond Road by David Howard in the west. The good news was the pre-Worboys signs I collect kept coming in 2014 after a massive year in 2013 when a record number of new arrivals surfaced in and around Kent for a period of months. Unfortunately due to removal plans we no longer reveal the exact locations until the sad day one is removed, unless someone's already posted it here so won't make a difference adding one more TQ6074 : Pre-Worboys one way street sign on Alma Road by David Howardso have had to stop posting them here until that happens as so many we posted on Flickr and Sabre didn't last very long afterwards. I am using the last month or so as much as I can, and spent the last three days managing at least two new squares a day, although due to a lack of pedestrian signage missed a final one yesterday as the actual boundary appeared to be on someone's property (on a little path just left of these) TL1504 : Cottages on Burydell Lane, Park Street by David Howard (regardless of the map) and there were three actual paths to choose from TL1404 : Burydell Lane, Park Street by David Howard (left, middle and right) with only one known to be public, which was the wrong side of the line. I ended up with a draw, ie a cross-grid supplemental as the houses I took were in the new square but I was standing next to them which was not. I'll manage, I pass that spot from time to time and will plan a trip for squares which passes it now. Compared to the 20 plus mile trip to Amersham for SP which I missed when I saw a nice view and turned left before I should, and went back the following day, and far worse the 70 or so mile trip to TM where the map didn't show the difference between the road into the marsh and the one right next to it into a farm which wasn't in TM, and had to do all over the following week. It did mean a nicer patch on Dengie Marsh and more squares in TR just next to it as it's a node, and was the first time in three visits where the A11 wasn't walking pace for half the journey.

So although none have been very ambitious the steady addition of 10-15 squares a week by hook or by crook has returned me to 68th from 71st fairly quickly, although I don't aim for anything on the leaderboards besides hectads as they change daily. I crammed the last two weekdays before the schools went back by going through a uniquely deserted Brecknock Road TQ2985 : Shops on Brecknock Road, Tufnell Park by David Howard for an isolated square in Islington TQ3183 : Liverpool Road, Islington by David Howard, and then through Kingston and Surbiton to get to Bookham and Leatherhead TQ1256 : Path to Little Bookham Common by David Howard TQ1557 : Pachesham Farm, Leatherhead by David Howard. I'll try and knock a few more off my list before October and then get settled in for the close season and start watching more TV again for a while...

Thu, 4 Sep 2014 at 02:23
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