It all began in 1929 when Richard Fairey, an aero engineer and aircraft builder, purchased a 150-acre plot from the Vicar of Harmondsworth to build a private airfield, the Great West Aerodrome. The land was situated south-east of the hamlet of Heathrow from which the airport would eventually take its name.
During World War II the land in and around Heathrow, including the aerodrome, was requisitioned by the government to build RAF Heston. Though by the time the airfield was near completion the war ended. Development of the airfield was continued, but this time as a civil airport. It opened in 1946, 70 years ago, as London Airport and renamed in 1966 to Heathrow Airport. It was almost named Swintonfield, after Air Minister Lord Swinton, because the authorities feared that visitors wouldn't be able to pronounce 'Heathrow'.
Today's walk was the first team training for the London to Brighton Challenge - a 62 mile (100km) walk from Richmond, London to Brighton Race Course to raise money for London's Air Ambulance. The walk didn't go exactly to plan. Heavy rain yesterday meant that the route was very waterlogged which at one point meant a detour was required. The weather today, although better, was still rather grey and wet (hence why I hardly took any photos). The planned route was a 22 mile circular walk starting at Staines, following sections of the London Loop, Grand Union Canal and Colne Valley Way, but at the half-way point we decided that we would call it a day and hope for better weather for the next training.
Distance: around 11 miles.