x-England Part 5

Rochester Castle (p0275)

Another short-ish section (30 miles) of my Cross-England bike ride completed on Sunday afternoon. It’s really starting to get dark early these days – the light is fading after 7pm. The original plan was to go all the way to Sittingbourne, but with no trains running that far, I scaled back my plans, and eventually managed Erith to Rochester.

The section from Erith, through Crayford and Dartford, is really rather unpleasant, with dereliction and industry. The only redeeming part is a fantastic, high speed section, down a bike line beside the eight-line A2, of all things. Peaceful it wasn’t but fast and new it was. The view over to the massive Bluewater shopping centre is also impressive. From my vantage point, it reminded me a lot of a poor cousin to the Eden Project, both being modern, futuristic buildings set deep inside a chalk pit. Gravesend wasn’t amazing, a short section of it was so rough I was expecting to get jumped any minute – actually it was quite atmospheric, that bit. After then, an incredibly boring (but off road) section along side the Thames and Medway canal, brought me up to Higham, where a pleasant but meandering road section went over to Strood and Rochester, at one point down a road called “Admiralty Road, formerly Powder Monkey Lane.” I wonder why the residents wanted it changed…

Rochester Bridge is quite grand, the castle and cathedral were very nice to stroll around on, especially after the almost continuous industry I’d experienced for the preceding miles leaving East London. See all my Rochester pictures at the end of my X-England set here.

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