Sunday, May 01, 2016

Through the Islington Tunnel on a Narrowboat

I decided to head out on another canal walk, after enjoying the Limehouse canal loop in January. The plan was to start at Kings Cross and head west along the Regents Canal, but it didn't work out. It was to be much better than that.

Before striding out towards Camden I thought I'd have a quick look at the entrance of the Islington Tunnel, which opened back in 1818. There were a couple of boats waiting at the entrance, presumably as the tunnel was occupied, and indeed shortly after the first of a trio of narrowboats made its appearance (above).

The waiting boats began to get ready, mostly well crewed, but one had just a single crew and maybe because he wanted company or maybe could read my mind he asked if I'd like to go through on his boat. Err.... that would be a yes.

So off we headed, heading not west as planned but east, into the dark:
The tunnel is 878m long and so it did take some time get through. It was really dark apart from two spots, literally the light at the end of the tunnel in either direction.
There was time to exchange stories, voices in the dark as nothing could be seen. My companion was a circus clown called Daniel and he was from Lisbon. He rents nights on his boat out on AirBnB if you want to stay. I told him stories of the ARC, 21 days spent sailing across the Atlantic.

Slowly the far end grew brighter until we emerged the other side of the Angel:
Daniel steered his yellow narrowboat into the next lock, which is where I said my thanks and goodbye.

I continued walking east, following the canal towards Limehouse, out in the bright sunshine.

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