31 December 2016

Two days, two walks (near water)

(1) Queensway to Mile End linear walk

Thursday, 29 December 2016
Start time: 10:15
Moderate 7 miles / 11.3 km
Group West Essex
Meet Queensway Tube Station. A walk along the Prince Regent Canal passing through Camden Town and Islington finishing at Mile End Underground Station. Commentary on route, drop out points along the way. Please bring lunch to avoid queuing.

In Leinster Gardens, on the way to Paddington to pick up the route along the canal, this facade has a disquieting detail, if you look closely -
The windows on the right are blocked up - because there's nothing behind the facade. It's a venting point for the Metropolitan line, built in the 1860s. The facade has helped maintain property values! More about it, including photos of the rear, is here.

In one of the many mews we passed, the old "cobbles" remained underfoot (actually they are granite setts). Looks great, and these aren't too bad to walk on, but often they are uneven and unpleasant underfoot, not to mention being slippery for horses -
 Road, rail and water go their separate ways near Paddington -
This sculpture under the Westway is Walking Man by Sean Henry - he's walking towards Standing Man  -
 Some of the boats moored at Little Venice had their woodstoves going -
 Regent's Canal was fully opened in 1820; approaching Regents Park, the grand houses from John Nash's time were reflected in the frosty stillness -
... and some princely inhabitants played on a sloping lawn -
The iron columns of the splendid bridge show grooves made by ropes, as horses pulled the barges along -
This is Macclesfield Bridge, known since an explosion of gunpowder on a barge in 1874 as "Blow Up Bridge".

Passing through ZSL, London Zoo ... what are these - African hunting dogs, perhaps? -
 ... and these, in the Snowdon Aviary - ibis? -
 Graffiti, graffiti - some is less disturbing than others (I'm partial to flamingoes) -
 Near Camden Town, the new buildings are very, very close to the water -
 ... and there are lots of them -
 At the King's Cross redevelopment, one of the old gas holders has been made into a park and the other two are converted to residential use -
 More construction -
 When the canal goes into a tunnel, walkers go overground - this old building is just off Chapel Market -
Early in the walk we saw blue plaques marking the residences of a 19th-century gardening-writing couple (Jane and John Loudon) and a couple of actors, Arthur Low of Dad's Army and ... oh dear, who?? Here, heading east in Islington, the green "Islington People's" plaque commemorates Crystal Hale, 1915-1999, saviour of the City Basin; without her efforts, the large stretch of water would be packed with yet more flats.
 More gasholders, near Broadway Market -
 Narrowboats are double moored where possible -
 Nearing Mile End and the end of the walk; low sun is caught in reeds -
The towers of Docklands are visible as we cross the Green Bridge (aka the Banana Bridge) and then descend to street level, and it's back to busy reality -

(2) Linear - London Bridge to Greenwich

Friday, 30 December 2016
Start time: 10:10
Moderate 7.5 miles / 12.1 km
Group Croydon
.Starting point: London Bridge Station by M and S at platform level
Very different Very different weather conditions for this walk - fog and mist - the top of the Shard not visible -
Landmarks (watermarks?) along the central London riverside -
HMS Belfast
Tower Bridge

 The old warehouses on Shad Thames, Bermondsey -
... and more warehouses, converted to flats; this is New Concordia Wharf -
Sculpture by Peter Randall-Page
St Saviour's Dock, outlet of the "lost" River Neckinger, features in Dickens, in Oliver Twist (Sykes dies in the mud near here) -
 More sculpture -
Part of Dr Salter's Daydream, unveiled in 1991, 2011, and 2014
(with recognition for Ada Salter here)
Medieval ruins -
The river came up to the walls of King Edward III's manor house, built in the 14th century
 More warehouses, along Bermondsey Wall East -
The south tower (pedestrian entrance) of the Rotherhithe Tunnel, built in 1908; the staircase was damaged by a bomb and pedestrians must now approach through the car ramp, though apparently few pedestrians use it now -
The Pageant Crescent obelisk is "mysterious", and so is the name of the street and, earlier, the nearby stairs to the foreshore -
The bascule bridge (Tower of London is another such) at the entrance to Surrey Docks was painted red so ships could see it even in smog -

 Fog didn't deter the speedboat trips -
 Surrey Docks Farm has wonderful gates -

 A relic from the age of the docks, the Odessa Street crane is threatened with demolition -
 More sculpture  -  Curlicue by William Pye, on Greenland Dock -
 ... and what is this, out in the water ...
Plenty of signposts as we approach Greenwich -
 The visually complex statue of Peter the Great (a gift from the people of Russia) is set against a visually confusing background -
 Out stopping point - the Cutty Sark, Greenwich, reached at 13.10 -
A brilliant three hours of walking, fog notwithstanding. 

My way home was via Canary Wharf -


yaarge2 said...

Thanks for posting Margaret. Bernie and Claire

Margaret Cooter said...

Bernie and Claire, perhaps you wondered why the obelisk wasn't mentioned - well, I forgot! It seems to be a "mysterious" obelisk, nor is the origin of Pageant Stairs known.

yaarge2 said...

I prefer my obelisks to be mysterious :)

yaarge2 said...

I prefer my obelisks to be mysterious :)