We’ve done mountain biking in Leith Hill and Box Hill, downhill biking in Wales, hiking in the Peak District and in the North Downs – we thought a walk along London’s canals would be a breeze. Not so: it nearly killed us. After a brief ‘scenic’ detour along the wrong canal (but they all look so similar!) we set out on what turned out to be a 7 hour marathon along London’s sometimes-beautiful, sometimes-industrial wasteland canals. Rachel, X, X strode off ahead, setting a pace that not many of us could keep, and once they were out of sight, we didn’t see them again until lunch time. Did they find a short cut? Did they take the tube? Who knows, but we didn’t see them for dust!
Cutting across onto the right path led us to a children’s playground which kept us entertained for quite some time; gone are the days of roundabouts and see-saws: this place had lumberjack climbing poles and a crazy swing-type thing, which flung many of us to the floor and held Roo’s attention for several rounds! Fi picked up the first bruise of the trip, and I think Mair wanted to stay there all day.
Back on track, with X trailing behind, plotting his master plan, we walked past some old mills, a burned down factory and the evidence of someone’s foiled plan to drive up the Thames in an old Cortina. X shared some tomatoes, Roo weed in a bush, Mair discovered Camden for the first time and Jon continued to live life behind the lens. Cedric joined us at lunch time, both suspiciously dressed all in black. Perhaps they are spies working for the French government…. Christa slipped off half way into a pub to find her reprobate boyfriend propping up the bar, muttering something about work commitments (but had the last laugh, as he had a relaxing Saturday, and by the end of the walk, our legs were nearly falling off!) Someone with a long arm reached into the canal and fished out a frisbee, which Jon carried around, but which we never actually played with. (I hope you washed your hands, X!) My highlight was seeing the wild boars and jackals (they chased us! No, ok, they were in the zoo…) and of course, the well-deserved pint when we reached Little Venice, after the tour of Roo’s old haunts. I was truly exhausted. Jon could hardly walk. Who would have thought that a stroll along the canals would be the one to finish us? Rats, we’re getting old!
Thank you Roo for organising the walk of London’s canals! Thank you for putting up with the constant moaning about ‘it’s too far,’ ‘we should be on bikes,’ ‘are we nearly there yet?’ It’s all character-building stuff.