Saturday, June 30, 2018

Canal Walks: Islington or Kings Cross to Little Venice

Key facts:

  • Start = either Angel tube or Kings Cross / St Pancras tube / train stations
  • End = Warwick Avenue tube station
  • Distance = 8.5 or 5..9 km 

There was a certain amount of back-tracking and overlap in my walks along London's canals.

This leg was technically the Kings Cross to Little Venice leg as previously I'd done the Kings Cross to Mile End leg to complete the Limehouse to Kings Cross leg (I said it wasn't simple) but this weekend I was in Islington anyhow, going to an art exhibition to see some pumpkins:

The gallery was off the Wenlock Basin and there was only a short walk along the Regent Canal tow path until reached the Islington Tunnel:

Alas this time there was no one offering a ride through so had to navigate through the estates of Islington until found the other end. In total it was about 2.6 km until reached Kings Cross and the new bit of the walk.

The Kings Cross / St Pancras area is a good place for rest as there are plenty of eat places in the stations and Granary Square is a great place to people watch. There is also a floating bookshop:

Just after Kings Cross there is the St Pancras Lock, which visited on another occasion before the canal goes under the Eurostar (and other) train lines on its way to Camden.

This stretch somethings feeling a bit "urban" and not rural and gentle like other parts. Camden Lock itself is a misnomer as there is no lock of that name, but there is plenty of snack bars for pretty much every cuisine on the planet. However sometimes it feels like the whole planet is there so on my hike I kept going on a bit further to the southern edge of Primrose Hill. Primrose Hill is rather nice indeed and I had a really super lunch at Michael Madra's restaurant - seriously yummy.

Then on passing Regents Park and the London Zoo - you can actually see quite a few animals from the tow path itself. I was rather surprised also to see this punt:

One bridge worth looking out for is known as the "Blow Up Bridge" because it was destroyed in a gunpowder explosion in 1874. The iron pillars were rapidly put back into place but at least one was put back the wrong way round so you can see tow-rope marks on both sides.

It feels so civilised on this stretch its hard to think of that violence and death:

There's another tunnel at the end of this walk and again must be navigated through the streets above, though in this case its relatively easy.

You end up this leg of the walk at Little Venice, which at some times of the year is packed with narrow boats for the annual IWA Canalway Cavalcade, as in this post (with pictures).

From here its a short diversion to Warwick Road tube station and home.

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