Wednesday, 2 May 2018

More walking...

We decided almost on the spur of the moment on Sunday to go and walk a bit more of the Jubilee Greenway in London. We did section 1 a few weeks back - from Buckingham Palace through to Little Venice, near Paddington, and it's been on our list to do for so long that having started we were keen to get some more of it walked. It was a bit of a grey day but the London walks always feel like they're a bit less affected by less than brilliant weather, to be honest, so we weren't going to let it stop us! 

Exiting Warwick Avenue tube station we headed for the Canal - almost the whole of these two sections are walked on the towpath which is great - always nice to get in a London walk a bit away from the traffic, noise and bustle of the capital. In fact this first picture - taken from the Canal Bridge at Warwick Avenue - sums up pretty well what the walk was going to be like.

MrEH spotted the first thing of notable interest - this blue plaque on the wall of a house at Aberdeen Place - always nice to find an unexpected reference to a total hero and this is no exception...

That felt like a really nice way to start the walk actually - we saw it within the first few minutes and for me it felt really good to have two of my hobbies tied together with something like that.  Always good to have a reminder of those who gave their tomorrows, too...

Finally after quite a lot of walking parallel to the canal but not actually alongside it we reached the point where we dropped down onto the towpath - and were immediately confronted with this - look

The boats moored alongside here are all people's homes too, and the owners have adopted the towpath as their gardens. It's a riot of colour along there with beautifully planted pots and wisteria climbing everywhere - so pretty! Also some really clever re-use and recycling - I loved this planting wall...

Yes, that's the ends of pallets cut off, attached to the wall, filled with soil and planted, it looks amazing! The planks from the pallets are in evidence being used for various things as well so clearly nothing has been allowed to go to waste on these boaters watch!

Onwards and under the first of many railway bridges. This is the Marylebone mainline running ovder the top - later in the walk we would also go underneath both the West Coast and Midland and over the East coast Mainlines too.

When I was little my Nan and I used to make regular trips to London Zoo - usually during the winter as we always felt it was better then, the animals were more active and there was more to see. I can remember many times looking across at the canal and feeling quite sorry for the people walking along as they weren't at the zoo and we were - well on Sunday the tables were turned! Yep - these buildings are indeed part of the Zoological Society of London's London Zoo - we walked past the Giraffe house, some creatures that looked like Dingos perhaps, and on our side of the canal the famous huge aviary with masses of birds that we couldn't identify at all!

Not long past the zoo we saw a cow on a roof you do! We wondered whether this might have been one of the Cow Parade cows from a few years ago.

Another railway bridge - west coast mainline this time - and some standup paddle-boarders too. we kept seeing this group all the way from when we first joined the canal right through to Camden - sometimes we were in front and sometimes they were - they looked to be having a great time anyway!

Camden Lock and its market are, next to the Zoo, probably the most famous stretch of this walk, and as ever it was heavingly busy! Oddly we'd passed someone we know a bit further back along the path and she'd told us to leave the towpath and cross over the bridge at this stage as the market was so crowded it was impossible to get through - handily that lead us straight past a pub so we decided to pause for a pint - particularly once MrEH spotted the Adnams Oyster Stout that they were serving!

A bit of a detour to get back to the towpath at the other side of the road as just past where you can see in the shot above it's closed while some building work is going on - yes, where those cranes are!  When we did rejoin it though we were amused to see this reminder of the Zoo that we'd passed not so long before!

On to St Pancras Basin - and this clever use of gas holders. The holders themselves are listed apparently so the company that wanted to build the flats had to incorporate them into their plans - clever eh? The nearest one to me has been left open and planted as a garden with a fantastic mirrored arbour all around the bottom - it looks utterly amazing!

Look carefully and you can just see St Pancras Station here! The lines on the right of the shot include the Eurostar tracks and we did in fact see a train heading off to France...or possibly Belgium!

Approaching the Islington tunnel now but just time to stop and look at this brilliant Bookshop on a boat!

And then for the Islington tunnel - an 878m long stretch with no towpath, originally boats would have had to unhitch their towing horse and the boat would be "legged" through the tunnel by a man lying on the boat roof and pushing with his feet against the tunnel roof to propel the boat through - now engines take the strain which I imagine comes as a bit of a relief! Rather like the men leading the horses we had to find our way through the streets here - thankfully it was brilliantly well signed...

...with these rather lovely blue plates set in the pavement at regular intervals. We did however make a planned diversion to another pub - one of the Craft Beer Company outlets.

Back onto the canal and this coffee stall's signage made us laugh! Very witty and it was clearly paying off as he was doing a good trade! 

Almost immediately after that we came to the corner of Victoria Park and that was the end of the sections we'd planned to walk - but we still had to get back to the tube. A brief discussion weighed up the options - to backtrack to Bethnal Green or walk on - although not still on the Greenway - to Mile End. Mile End won so we turned right in through the park leaving the next section of Greenway off to our left....then came across another Greenway marker on the path...hmmmm. Turning back to the Canal - and there was another one - very curious! We continued to Mile End Park, all the way seeing the Greenway markers and getting more and more mystified...*

Just before Mile End we got to do something we have both wanted to do for years - crossing the green bridge over the Mile End Road - we used to live in Bethnal Green and have driven under this so many times, almost always saying "we must walk over that one day!" and now finally, we have!

A really enjoyable walk this one - a bit over 12 miles with our odd detours, but almost all really pleasant walking, away from traffic. In spite of the weather this is probably one of the nicest walks we've done, although I think part of that might be down to me feeling so much more confident about my abilities to walk longer distances now. Can't wait for the next section now!


* The mystery of the extra Greenway plates was solved when I re-looked at the route map on Tuesday morning - dog-legging off from the point where section 3 ends and 4 starts is section 10 - and that was what we walked approximately half of at the close of our walk! 

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