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What is the West Highland Way, and why should I walk it?

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The West Highland Way is Scotland's first official long distance trail. It covers 96 miles between Milngavie (pronounced mull-guy) and Fort William, passing through some of the most stunningly beautiful scenery I've ever seen; rolling grassy hills, dense forest, and loch-side shingle beaches, giving way to sharp boulders, barren mountainsides, and rough fissures in the ground as you head North. It’s recommended to head northwards since the earlier stages are slightly easier, but can be done in either direction.

The Way is beautiful, well maintained, well signposted, and supported by a whole string of businesses along the entire route that help with food, accommodation, and supplies. I recently walked the WHW with my girlfriend and not once did we have to check a map or compass to figure out which way to go. If there was a crossroads it was always signposted unless it was unnecessarily obvious. Not once did we have to make a diversion due to the quality of track. Not once did we spend a day without passing somewhere that provided food or accommodation. If you haven't tried long distance waking before, the Way is a great walk to get started.

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Historic Remnants 1 - The Bascule Bridges of Rotherhithe and Surrey Quays

The first part of my Rotherhithe Historic Remnants project covers two very distinct and noticeable features of modern day Rotherhithe and Surrey Quays - the two wonderful red Bascule bridges.

If you don't know what a Bascule bridge is (I didn't), then check Wikipedia's article on them here. Bascule bridges are designed to allow unlimited vertical height with relatively low energy to open them due to the use of a counterbalance. This means they're particularly suited for bridges that tall vessels need to sail through. Here's a great example of one working at the Manchester Road entrance of South Docks that was completed in 1929, taken from Island History blog's (almost) 1000 years of the isle of dogs:

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Rotherhithe Historic Remnants Project

I live in Surrey Quays in South East London. I've lived here for three years before I decided to investigate some of the local history, which it turns out is incredibly rich and vibrant. I knew that only 30 years ago Surrey Quays as we know it didn't exist but I did not know what came before it. To give some perspective, the Greenwich Visitor Center has a painting on display that is part of the collection of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich (one of my top 2 museums in London along with the British Museum) by Hendrick Danckerts from around 1670. It looks like this:

Image credit Royal Museums Greenwich collection.

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