Tag Archives: walking

Walking the Northern Line: Part 2

It wasn’t my finest moment when I finally rocked up to Kennington station after 7 hours of walking, being rained on, enjoying a brass band, and having been lost for the last half hour. I chose to walk this section by myself and as such I just wanted to get it over with. This meant one bathroom break, no pub, lunch on the go, and clearly a lot of poor decisions relating to food and drink (tuna pasta salad washed down with Gatoraid while walking down Goldiers Green Road got some weird looks.)

Another of my finest moments is that I can’t actually find any photos from this walk (how frustrating!) Anyway, I started my walk from Edgeware to Brent Cross, crossing over what’s left of the River Brent and a very scary footbridge over a motorway. From there I walked through Goldiers Green, past some surprisingly leafy areas in the very affluent Hampstead which actually felt like it was farther out of London than where I started in Edgeware.

From Goldiers Green, through Camden, Euston and central London, now with a headache and no patience for the tourists going out to the theatre in the evening. Finally crossed the river as it started to absolutely pour to find a flash mob brass band. I have to say, I love brass bands at the best of times and this really perked up my spirits. I thought I really could make it to Kennington at this point. And I did eventually after walking past it for about 20 minutes and then back.

I then, in my infinite wisdom decided to pop into the food store and pick up soup and juice (very heavy) and get on the train home with everyone else who was going out for their Saturday night. I arrived home around 10pm, after giving fairly detailed instructions to a very confused Italian who was finding his way from Manchester to Milan somehow via Heathrow with no tickets.

It may come as no surprise as I took a very long break before starting my next line, the Jubilee.


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Wanderlust Wednesday: The Northern Line- Part 1

The Northern line is a real doosy. I’ve split this one up into two posts so the first one is my walk from Morden to High Barnet. (The second post will be the epic walk from Edgeware to Kennington.)

Nothern Line

I started off at Morden and walked to Balham (it was convenient for where I was living at the time.) I’d never been anywhere near Morden and it felt very suburban walking from there to South Wimbledon (a euphemism if I ever heard one) and a very straight, long road from Colliers Wood to Balham. Broken up with very, very different neighbourhoods that ranged from very suburban (hardly feeling like London) to feeling like I was in another country (which I think is really cool- ie. This is a xenophobic anti-immigration free zone) with African and Middle Eastern shops and a very non-suburban feel and an amazing lamp post.

Nothern Line

Another day, I met my very patient friend, Lenny at Stockwell for ‘a quick walk’ (walking from Balham to complete that stretch) and once again while we passed through Stockwell, it absolutely poured down with rain. It stopped (thankfully) as we walked towards Oval and then London Bridge.

Nothern Line

From Colliers Wood to Balham to London Bridge the Northern line follows a single road. A distance of over 7 miles! No screeching carriages around curves on this stretch! (Although to be fair, I’ve never taken the Northern Line all the way to Morden- I got the bus to get there!)

We passed through the city and I experienced for the third time the weird disjointed feeling when I compare where I walked from – Balham (or Morden) to the City of London. From a suburban (and not so up-and-coming) residential area to the pinnacle of the world’s financial markets where on weekdays the people going into the sky scrapers wear suits that cost more than my rent for the year.  Welcome to London.

Back out of the city, through Angel and King’s Cross (again) and north, up Hampstead Hill (more like a cliff face) and onward to Finchley. Watching the trains pull in and out of King’s cross (and getting a severe case of the travel bug) and then walking to the next station I was surprised once again with how post-industrial and run down it still is. Though since Google announced it’s offices moving here, it won’t be up-and-coming for long- it’ll be expensive.

We walked past Camden, Tufnell Arch and then Archway and a really cool second-hand shop with a nautical theme (and completely incongruous with my budget even if I wanted to carry a ship’s wheel with me for the rest of the walk.)

Nothern Line

Finally, we gave it up at East Finchley and stopped at a surprisingly nice pub tucked in to one side of the railway bridge. I really enjoyed making the bar tender guess where we had walked from.


Photo courtesy of Runny Custard Photography

Another day, we finished the walk from East Finchley to High Barnet- including Millhill East (a very annoying appendage to the main High Barnet branch of the Northern Line but passed the Dollis Brook Viaduct- an incredible feat of engineering and a big surprise to stumble across.

Finally at High Barnet-  the end of the line.

Nothern Line


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Wanderlust Wednesday: Walking the Victoria Line

When I called my friend Lenny (over at RunnyCustard Photography) and I asked her if she wanted to go for a walk with me, she asked me where to, obviously. I just said “We’ll see how it goes, see how far we get”. We walked from Brixton to Walthamstow, the entire Victoria Line. I don’t think she’s forgiven me yet.

We met at Brixton and by Stockwell (a tradition by now), the weather took a turn and we got caught in a rainstorm. Thankfully by the time we got to Vauxhall, it had stopped.

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The walk from Brixton to Vauxhall to Victoria  and on to Kings Cross was fairly easy. I was feeling energetic and Lenny wasn’t tired yet, so on we walked. To Highbury and Islington (a surprisingly long way from Kings Cross) and through my old neighbourhood to Finsbury Park. We stopped to refuel (cider and a JD and diet coke, if I remember correctly) and kept walking on to Seven Sisters. It was at this point that we simultaneously walked near a reservoir in a really gorgeous summer evening and totally hit the wall.

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This is the reason why, if you’re going to go for a long walk, you should start out in the new place if you are ending in a place that you’re familiar with. I guarantee that if you get to the new place at the end of a walk, you will not care how pretty it is or that there are cute little baby geese. You’ll just have ‘Blackhorse Road’ repeating in your head like a mantra and the dread in your heart that you’ve still got to walk to Walthamstow Central after that.

Finally, we made it.

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Walk the Lines: Review and Personal Challenge

At the end of last year, I heard about a book written by a guy  (Mark Mason, as it were) who walked all of the Tube lines, called Walk the Lines, The London Underground, Overground. Everyone that knows me quickly finds out about my obsession with the London Underground (responses range from bemusement to suspicions of insanity.) With promises of Underground trivia and a crazy challenge, I had to have it.


I read the whole book very quickly and it generally kept my interest. I have to say though, maybe I hyped it up too much in my head, but I was a little disappointed. The interviews with notable Londoners, such as a trainee cabbie and the Kray’s biographer, were interesting and could have almost made a whole book by themselves.  I can’t stop thinking about the massive wall map he made from individual maps bought in THE map store in Covent Garden and how he drew the paths of his walks for each Underground line. (I can think of no better wall paper. Geography + Memory + Time). The trivia wasn’t as good as I expected (this might be more of a ‘beginners’ London Underground book). Some of the observations and ‘facts’ were actually wrong and I think overall the book needed better editing.

However its shortfalls, I knew I had to walk the lines as well. I’ve not gotten very far since December (but very quickly learned to wear proper trainers rather than pretty ones). I’ve walked the Bakerloo and Victoria Lines in their entirety and am about 2/3 of the way through the Northern Line. (Special thanks to Lenny Carter’s patience for putting up with this Mad American and being my walking buddy.)

You may recognise this as my ‘teaser’ image. It’s of Blackhorse Road station, nearing the end of the Victoria Line.

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Walking the Roman Wall

This it the first installment of many in which I chronicle my attempt to walk the A-Z of London.

Yesterday, Alex and I walked the Roman Wall that surrounded Londinium, the Roman precursor to the modern city of London. I won’t go into the history of it here, as it’s easily wikipedia-ed, but suffice it to say, it’s some of the first level of London history and it endlessly fascinates me.


We started off at the Tower of London (a 20 minute bus ride from where I live, I still can’t believe it!) The Tower of London is a very large reminder of the history of the city, although in its current form, it is still much younger than the Roman wall found nearby.

The Tower is (to me) surprisingly close to the Gherkin and on our walk to the next bit of wall we found ourselves among highrises and the ubiquitous suits found in the City. Considering our surroundings, it’s not terribly strange to find the next bit of wall as part of a hotel. I went inside an asked and we were directed towards the courtyard where I expected a grimy bit of wall as part of a water feature or something. Instead, we saw this….


The next bit of wall was found just as tucked away– in the car park of a law firm. The receptionist of both the hotel and the firm must have recognized us for what we were and directed us towards the wall. This one was under plastic sheeting while the area that protects it gets refurbished. (Note the giant unidentified tube)


Then, for a while, any visible signs of the wall, except for historical plaques, were missing having been demolished several hundred years ago.


We kept walking to trace it’s path until we got to the Barbican, which was absolutely amazing not least for it’s inclusion of bits of Roman and Medieval wall in it’s vast landscaping.


The last part of the wall we found was very near to St. Paul’s Cathedral and extended across a very busy road from a car park and the Museum of London to another unidentified office building full of unidentified people doing unidentified things that will undoubtedly ruin our economy/environment/lives.


The rest of the walk traced the end of the roman wall where it turned to meet the River Thames. We didn’t go that far because we found a pub!

It was really, really interesting to trace the wall around Londinium. We walked it in just a few hours (including photo opportunities). The Roman city was very, very small indeed and it’s weird to imagine empty space surrounding it. That this was the only bit of city for miles and miles around and they needed a wall to protect themselves in a city that is now welcoming the 2012 Olympic games.

It was also an interesting and near impossible exercise to really put it into context. Bits of wall surrounded by highrises, hotels, suits, taxis, the Barbican. I cannot imagine it. I just can’t and that’s what is so interesting to me. It’s so far removed, but I will be thinking about it and trying to add context for a long time to come.



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As part of Alex and I’s New Year List, I decided to do (read: drag him into ) a project that I will chronicle on this very blog. I mean where else would I?

Today I walked from Angel to Oxford Circus. You should be able to see it on this Google map.

I didn’t have my camera, but next time I will. We (I) plan on walking the circumference of the London wall one sunny day towards spring.

AND then- I want to walk the A-Z!

We’re starting with the Square Mile or the City. It’s where a ton of Roman stuff.Ambitious- check! Crazy- check! Fun project to take pictures and learn about London for a history geek- CHECK CHECK CHECK

Keep you posted!

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