Tuesday, June 29, 2021

The Lea Valley Walk

This summer's project has been following the Lea Valley Walk - or at least parts of it. 

The full walk is a good 80 km (50 miles) long, but I restricted myself to those bits covered by Transport for London as in their web site page for the walk.

Transport for London's route headed south, starting at Waltham Cross and ends at either Trinity Buoy Wharf or Limehouse Basin, but I did it the other way round, starting at the Thames and heading north.

I also combined it with another walk, namely The Line, which is an outdoor sculpture trail that ends at the O2 Arena, but again I did it in reverse. The Lea splits into all sorts of channels around the old Olympic Stadium, and I spent some time exploring which were accessible.

The resulting segments were:

  • Walk 1: O2 to Three Mills (8.1 km)
  • Walk 2: Three Mills and Olympic Park (9.7 km)
  • Walk 3: Hackney Marshes (11 km)
  • Walk 4: Clapton Pond to Meridian Water (8.9 km)
  • Walk 5: Meridian Water to Waltham Cross (11.7 km)

That was around 50 km in total. There was also a bonus walk of the:

  • Walk 6: Greenway from the Olympic Park out to North Woolwich (11.8 km).

I'm tagging these with label "Lea Valley" so when these all the relevant posts are published you can find them by clicking here.

Update 1

One thing should point out is the difference between the Lea and the Lee. Basically anything natural is called "Lea" - as in Lea River - while anything of human construction is called "Lee" - such as the Lee Navigation. See this post on Wikipedia.

Update 2

Useful - if slightly out of date - post on the Londonist web site about the walk

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Supermoon brings super tides

You can't ignore the tides if you live near the Thames, particularly along parts of the Thames path such as that part along Putney Embankment. At high tide this can flood, especially during the high tide after a supermoon, such as the one we had yesterday.

It's all to easy to get stuck and risk wet feet (as shown above) or even a wet car engine:

At least this one wasn't in danger of floating away like the BMW in this post!

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Is this a canal?

I thought I knew about the canals of London, even short ones (such as the Grosvenor blogged here) or lost ones (as shown in maps at the London Canal Museum, blogged here) but then the Evening Standard wrote about a new one!

This was potentially very exciting, so I headed out to have a look - see photo above. According to the Evening Standard, it was part of another of these upmarket apartment developments. Their web site was very fancy and even showed stylish people paddle boarding on the their "canal":

Credit: image from here

The image was indeed accurate: there was a broad water way with bridges (see top). But is it a canal?

Wikipedia describes a canal as:

Canals are waterways channels, or artificial waterways, for water conveyance, or to service water transport vehicles.

Does this do either of these things? I'm not sure it does - it isn't connected to any other water body and is too small for boats bigger than a SUP. It appears to me to be a canal-like water feature. There was even a bubbler in it to keep the water aerated.

What do you think? Is this a canal?

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Fulham Cottage Riverstand Update

There's some sort of a football thing going on right now, so here's a post related to that sport.

Over the last year or two, observers of traffic on the Thames will have noticed a number of structures such as the one above and below being towed upriver.

These were all heading the same way from Tilbury up to Fulham, in particular to the redevelopment of the Fulham football club stadium, for the new Riverstand.

Here these pre-fabricated sections are fitted together using a crane on a barge floating nearby:

Getting the barges up to Fulham is challenge given the number of bridges, some of which are very low. So the passage plans have to take account of the tide and bridge heights, and it can take 2 days to get them up from Tilbury Docks with the right river depths and bridge clearances.

There's a useful video here.

It's really coming together:

I'm not a great football watcher but there should also be a new riverside walk which I'm looking forward to trying out.

Updated: stand as of this afternoon:

Sunday, June 06, 2021

Book Review: The Secret World of Weather by Tristan Gooley

Weather is always with us, every day, where ever we are. You'd have thought that this would mean there is nothing left for us to learn about it, but in this brilliant book I discovered that is wrong. There is much more to weather than simply clicking on an app.

Previously Tristan Gooley has written a series of books about Natural Navigation and How to Read Water (as reviewed here) and his latest is called The Secret World of Weather (UK cover above, it is different in the US).

Full disclosure Tristan's a friend of mine, but that really makes no difference to this review, for this was a fascinating read.

The book looks at the relationship between the local, such as hills, valley, rivers, plants and buildings and the weather, how they interact, changing it.

A simple example comes from the sail Tristan and I did to the Arctic Circle: we spotted the clouds above the Faroes Islands before we saw the islands themselves, until all of a sudden we were there:

This contained many examples of these, from eddies around buildings, to birds rising on thermals, to the different types of rain, to the secret laws, to the tree fan, to canopy breeze, to the wind bulge, to finding coastlines from clouds to..... so many new ideas, and then integrated into a framework.

I kept wanting to try out what I've read by looking at the sky, trying to read the clues. This is a book to come back to, to observe the natural world and then re-read the relevant sections, to learn to connect what you see with what is happening, to know what to look for.

I found myself peering at the sky, checking out the commas, the mares' tails that come down from cirrus clouds, thinking myself into the layers of the atmosphere, reading the sky as I'd read the book.

Strongly recommended!

Saturday, June 05, 2021

Boats, Boats, Boats again on the Thames

Lockdown is easing and so the boats are out again on the Thames - which is good to see!