Jo’s Monday walk : to Camden and beyond!

Isn't this a heart warming sight?

Isn’t this a heart warming sight?

I don’t know if any of you have been watching ‘Great Canal Journeys’, presented by Timothy West and Prunella Scales?  I have a real fondness for this couple and the way in which they are dealing with advancing years and health issues.  For me, they are fulfilling a dream that I’ve always had, to take to a boat and putter away my days.  As near as I’ve come is the towpath so far, unless you count a long ago week in a narrowboat in a permanent mooring at Reading!

It was pure coincidence that last week’s episode featured Regent’s Canal, because that is precisely where I had planned on taking you.  Sadly for all of us, we’re on foot!  Still, as a bonus we can pick up a book before we start, and keep a lookout for a sunny bench.  I begin my journey along the canal behind King’s Cross railway station. With time to spare you could pop into the London Canal Museum, but I need to be in Camden Town by 11.00, so it’s best foot forward.

Goodbye bookshop!  Nice meeting you.

Goodbye bookshop! Nice meeting you.

The boardwalk looks brand new!

The boardwalk looks brand new!

Apparently this gas tower is a listed building

Apparently this gas tower is a listed building

There'd been a spot of overnight rain

There’d been a spot of overnight rain

Super smart canalside living

Super smart canalside living

But no escaping graffiti!

But there’s no escaping graffiti!

More desirable housing

More desirable housing

Lots of it!

Lots of it!

I'd love to do this!

I’d love to do this!

Approaching my first destination

Approaching my first destination

Camden Lock

Camden Lock

I think I’ll have to split this walk into two halves.  My eventual destination along the towpath is Little Venice, but in Camden Town I take a small detour to join Judith from London Walks.

A guided tour of ‘Old Camden Town’ sounded irresistible to me, and so it proved.  Judith, a local artist with a twinkle in her eye, regaled us with stories of characters as diverse as Dickens, Amy Winehouse, George Bernard Shaw and Dylan Thomas.  Better yet, she showed me a London that, in all my years of first living there and then return visits to the capital, I had never managed to find for myself.  Now that’s what I call a good walk leader!  If given the opportunity, do join her. You won’t regret it.

There can be few high streets that look like this!

There can be very few high streets that look like this!

I’ve been to Camden Town several times and it’s a favourite of my daughter.  The mix of quirky shops, outrageous clothing and sparkly things is a magnet to her magpie nature.  It was just 11.00 when I arrived and anxiously scanned the High St., looking for Judith in the Saturday morning swell.  As promised, she was outside the Metro Station entrance, cheerfully rounding up her flock.  Introductions made, we were off at a brisk pace, on our 2 hour Camden tour.

The Town Crier seemed perfectly happy to chat

The Town Crier seemed perfectly happy to chat

Click on any photo to view gallery

We head back towards the canal and cross over Hampstead Road Lock- arguably the most picturesque lock on the canal- about to delve into Camden Market.

Hampstead Road Lock

Hampstead Road Lock

Judith, recounting a little history to the group

Judith, recounting a little history to the group

And I think that is a good place to leave her.  I hope that you’ll come back next week, when we’ll explore the incredible Stables, and I’ll continue on along the Regent’s Canal.

Many thanks to Jude for reminding me about ‘Take a walk in the park day’, which just happens to be today.  I’ve linked back to Ailsa’s Outdoors.  What could be more outdoors than the canals?

walking logo

Time to look at my contributors and to say a big thank you for their kindness in joining me. Details of how to join in are on my Jo’s Monday walks page, or simply click on the logo above.  All you need right now are a cuppa and a comfy seat.

……………………………………………………………………………………….

Debbie first this week!  A boardwalk and boats are just my style.  Thanks, Debs!

Walking the boardwalk at Wicken Fen

Geoff is staying with the Street Art, which seems highly popular at the moment  :

Dulwich Street Art- part two

Amy has some more of her beautiful captures, and guess what?  It’s Spring!

Monday walk : Spring is here…

Gilly has us wandering on the Exe Trail.  The dogs needed a gentle stroll  :

Strolling Route 2

Can you find a dog on Meg’s post this week?

Eurobodalla beaches : Yabbara Beach

Meanwhile, Esther has a tempting proposition?

Walk on Mars

And Anabel has some wonderful tapestry for us to look at  :

New Lanark and the Falls of Clyde

Drake gives us a glimpse of summer time in Denmark.  It’s beautiful!

Walkabout last Summer

Next a delightful surprise from Cloud of Lace in Lebanon.  Byblos is almost as beautiful as her blog.  Please go and say ‘hi!’ to Hiba.

Walking around in Byblos

Tobias uses light and shade brilliantly.  Take a look!

A Walk in Berlin 

Hooray!!!  Jude’s back!  I know you’ll have missed her walks.  I did!

Take a Walk in the Park Day

It will be Easter Monday next week.  I’ll still be hosting my walk, and if the weather cooperates I’m hoping lots of you will be out there walking too.  Whatever happens, I wish you all a very happy Easter holiday.

150 comments

  1. I love everything about the book barge, the name, the tag line…everything! It’s inspiring to learn about people who live their dreams, especially if their dream is out of the ordinary.

    1. Hi Elaine, and thanks 🙂 Canals are one of my passions so I really enjoyed both the being there and the writing of this one. Looking forward to writing part 2, when I can fit it in 🙂

  2. how cool to see a book barge – and yet my favorite photo of the many tasty ones is the “More desirable housing” photo – the circle windows – and reflection you give us is stunning. what a great place London is…
    ❤ ❤

    1. Could be another entry for ‘Reflections’, couldn’t it, Yvette? I thought that as I was writing the post 🙂 And it’s never hard to find something beguiling in London. Many thanks, hon, and Happy Easter!

  3. I love that canals offer a quieter more tranquil side to the city while at the same time aren’t too far from the bustle. Love those trendy buildings that look like boats. Happy Easter Jo 🙂

  4. Wonderful Jo, thanks for sharing as always. Must visit that bookshop one day. Have you read the book about another floating bookshop – The Bookshop that Floated Away.

  5. I love the Bookbarge! What a clever idea. If I were on this walk, I’d get so distracted by the books, I’d end up spending the whole day searching for books and never leave the barge. 🙂

    I agree with you that I’d love to be a volunteer lock keeper! A cool gig.

  6. Jo, you must be so fit and energetic, you seemed to have walked for hours and hours. I enjoyed come along with you on this walk, I think canals to do much to enhance city life. I especially like the book shop on the water, such a clever idea. 😉

  7. Ah Camden Market … I remember it being a great haunt of my DD too Jo ! many wacky and weird stuff there Lol
    Thanks for this stroll round a lesser know part of the Big Smoke … now where did that come from .. isn’t it funny how words just drop onto the page Lolol
    Super pictures of the canal and just love the Book Barge !

    1. I was astounded how much more of it there was than I realised, Poppy. I must’ve had my eyes shut in the past. Then again, I often glazed over when I was standing around waiting for Lisa. How can anyone look at one stall for so long? 🙂 🙂
      I tried visiting you yesterday, Poppy, but got the ‘this is a private site’ message. You haven’t blacklisted me have you? (I could understand it- really I could!) I’ll try again now. 🙂

      1. I know what you mean about gazing Lolol
        And thanks Jo I see you managed to visit ! I’ve been theme faffing and thought I need more than a day to get it right …

      2. Aah so nice of you Jo tnank you ! I’ve sorted that out now too Lol Eergh Doh technology …

    1. Thank you so much, Cynthia. I dare not add any more because my Inbox groans as it is. 😦 I rely on visiting commenters and ‘likers’ these days and even then struggle to get around. The WP Reader is a capricious creature anyway and I very much appreciate your joining me. 🙂

  8. A different side to London, though I went to Camden Lock several years ago when my daughter lived in Dollis Hill. I would have liked it when I was younger, but now I’m not a fan of crowds and it is very busy there. I think I walked alongside a canal in Angel Islington once on the way to an interview, but I could be making that up. I do enjoy the canal tow-paths in the countryside around here – well more to the north of the county – nice, level walking 😉
    I may even have some photos of some of my walks – shall have to dig them out for you!

    1. I think January was probably a good time to visit, Jude. Although Camden Lock itself was very busy the towpaths either side of it were pretty laidback. Nearer King’s Cross there were more joggers and cyclists than I could have done with, but live and let live. 🙂 It’s just great to be able to escape the bustle if you want.

      1. I think we went just after Christmas and it was cold and grey and miserable, but still very busy. This must have been at least 14 years ago though – pre children (hers)

  9. That’s what I love about London. No matter how many times we visit there is always somewhere new and interesting to go and see. I must keep an eye out for that TV series. It will be on here eventually.

  10. That sounds like a great series, Jo. I’ll get hubby to look out for it and download it. Prunella Scales must be getting on a bit. i loved her in Fawlty Towers. 🙂 Camden High Street looks like a fascinating place to have a good browse, but the canal pics are my favorites. Another great walk, Jo. xx

    1. Pit found it on YouTube, Ad. It’s Channel 4 over here. She has early stages of Alzheimers but she looks as game as ever. I can still fall about laughing at Fawlty Towers when the mood takes me 🙂
      It’s a great bit of canal, tucked away in the city, and Camden Town is a lot of fun. Thanks, Ad.

  11. Apart from the obvious touristy places and galleries, museums and shops, I don’t know our capital very well. Whenever I go up it’s a bit of a haul, and while I always intend to go more often, I suppose I don’t enjoy it enough to make the effort. I have been to Camden market many years ago and I guess my favourite places are Kew and the V&A. I’ve bookmarked the walks link though, thanks!

    1. They are an excellent company, Gilly, and they do a good range of walks. The canalside does give you a very different outlook on the city and it’s relatively hassle free once you get there. 🙂 But you’ve got plenty of lovely places nearby to keep you happy.

  12. All very recognisable and nicely captured Jo. I am thoroughly enjoying Tomothy and Prunella’s journey’s as well. There is remarkable personal synchronicity – I first became hooked on canals in the summer of 1976 taking a boat along the southern Oxford from north of Banbury to Blisworth – the same year and location they started. I have done the London Ring from Slough via the Regents Canal and onto the Thames up to Brentford in the late eighties when hire boats were allowed onto the river. And, lo and behold, we have done the same stretch of the Canal du Midi featured in the latest episode but in the other direction! Next week it is the Lothian canal which we haven’t done – perhaps we should 🙂

  13. My boys were in Camden on Friday. Eldest Son took brother to Wembley (birthday pressie from November) to watch England play, a real treat, and they visited the Imperial War Musuem first then ate at Camden 🙂 You know how much I love boats Jo, I used to dream of living in on one too. Never have tried narrow boating but it’s on the list along with so many other things. You had a busy day! Love the book boat 🙂 The walk sounds fascinating. We did a ghost walk in London a few year’s ago, near Halloween. It was great fun. As is this post, thanks Jo 🙂

    1. I was exhausted but happy by the time I made it back to King’s Cross and homewards, Sherri. Part of the Algarve dream was always to own a boat but we haven’t got that far yet 🙂 I really would love a narrowboat holiday though. Thanks, hon 🙂

      1. Happy Easter to you too, Jo! We are staying home, cooking a big brunch and watching movies for a nice relaxing day. 🙂 I’ll take Ryan to visit my parents the day after when he’s out of school for spring break. I’ll definitely be back for part 2!

  14. This is such an interesting place Jo – lovely canal and festive atmosphere. High Street is very unique! The Town Crier seems like quite the character. What a fun place to visit.

    1. It’s a bit of a crazy Saturday morning place. Probably quieter but no less fun in the week. Have a look at next week’s walk. Some of the photos are not so good but it is an amazing place inside Camden Market. 🙂

  15. I’m enjouying the tv series too – I think they’re an inspirational couple. I have wanted for a long time to do a narrow boat holiday but maybe will head to France for a slightly higher chance fo sunshine! Really enjoy the photos as I think the last time I was in Camden was in my twenties either to go to the market or to a gig at Dingwalls!

    1. I love the canal network, Hiba, and this one’s proximity to the ‘bright lights’ makes it a bit special. Many thanks for your contribution. I hope you have lots of visitors. 🙂

  16. What a charming walk. I’m exhausted!! I live canals – have ridden alingside on mant trails here and in Europe, and would like to take a bike ‘ n barge trip some day. That series sounds fascinating – i will see if our Public station carries it or oerhaps it’s acailable on DVD.

    1. Timothy and Prunella were in the Canal du Midi on last night’s show. Stuff of dreams for me! I haven’t seen it yet but it’s recorded and I’ll watch it later. It’s on our Channel 4 so I have no idea if you’ll be able to pick it up online. She has early onset Alzheimers but seems to be handling it brilliantly. 🙂

      1. Me neither!!! Guess that shows our age, huh. I will look for it there (at least I know how to access you tube even if I don’t think of looking there 😍

      2. LOL
        Glad you called me an old dog and not a dinosaur. 😉
        Well, it all started about 20 years ago, when I simply wanted a new (electronic) typewriter and a colleague of mine persuaded me to get a computer instead. That got me hooked.

  17. Thanks, Jo, for pointing an old narrow boat nut like me [http://tinyurl.com/pma9mwu] towards Timothy’s and Prunella’s series. 🙂 I’m enjoying watching them on YouTube.
    Have a great week,
    Pit

    1. Yes, it is a bit of a topsy turvy world, Paula, and I’m not just talking about my reflections. 🙂 (have you noticed- they’re everywhere!) There was a comfy old armchair on the top deck of the book barge. I could happily have stayed and rested the poor old pins 🙂

    1. Apparently you can watch it on YouTube, Sue 🙂 Prunella Scales is famous for her role as Sybil in Fawlty Towers, which I used to adore. She now has early onset Alzheimers but you’d never know from this series.

  18. That is an enjoyable walk, Jo! I’d love to walk on the boardwalk and along the river. 🙂
    I flew back late last night from a business trip and was too tired to work on the Monday walk…

    1. So much happening along this stretch, Geoff. It’s many years since I did a London canal walk and I really enjoyed it. 🙂 Thanks for part 3. I’ll read and share after tea 🙂

  19. Jo, you should go for the Volunteer Lock Keeper job!! Now that’s a job for you. 🙂 What a lovely walk and an adorable town and waterway. Love all the bridges and the high town. Looks like a quirky place. It also appears you had wonderful weather. 🙂

    1. I’d never be on duty, Cathy, cos I’d keep hitching a lift 🙂 It was cold but beautifully bright. (this was the weekend I was in London with Mercure Hotels in January) I had such a good (but exhausting) day 🙂

      1. Oh dear, I’m sure I missed that one, Jo. What were you in London with Mercure Hotels for? That must have been when I was traveling, or preparing to travel. I love cold but bright days though.

  20. What an interesting walk, Jo. I loved the book boat and the delightful picture of an apartment building that resembled a boat. I could easily live on a boat and travel leisurely by water. Next life. 🙂 Judith sounds like a gem of a guide.

    1. She was a real character, Lynne. A lady of ‘advanced years’ but full of energy. A Canadian who has lived in London for 40 years. Kind of likes it 🙂 🙂 Yes- living the dream, for me 😦

  21. I like canal walks and this one looks great. I saw the first episode of the show, but missed the next one- I’ll get it on catch up. I think next week they are in Scotland! The narrow boats are so cute and lovely.

  22. Such a splendid walk, today, Jo. I do believe that if you had enough time you could walk your way from here all the way home. And you would love every minute of it. 🙂

      1. Armchairs are good, but trails may be better. I have a friend who is walking a trail (in sections) which will eventually take him from one end of England to the other. Can’t remember what it is called.

  23. Enjoyed your walk ! We visited the Canal Museum a couple of weeks ago while in London and found the history of London canals so interesting. Love Great Canal Journeys! My husband is keen for us to try a trip but I am not so sure. Some of those Locks look like hard work!

    1. Judith really was excellent, Meg, and I wouldn’t hesitate to go with London Walks again. They have a huge programme and I was lucky to be able to incorporate this one. I should have mentioned price too because they’re cheap. Must incorporate that into next week’s trip! The ‘top end’ is quite different in character. More ‘select’, don’t cha know? 🙂 Thanks for your company. Happy packing! 🙂

  24. Oh, Jo, what a a delight! This is a walk to our liking 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
    The bookshop looks so inviting and we love the wordplay “words on the water”. Great!
    Only trouble is, Siri and Selma now wants turn our tiny “Circe” into something similar …
    Have a wonderful new week!

    1. That’s a great idea, Dina! I’m amazed they didn’t think of it before 🙂 Thank you so much for the presence of you and your fairy friends 🙂 Happy Easter to you all!

      1. Big *hug* and lots of fayire dust coming your way, dear Jo ✨💫🌟✨💫🌟
        Yours sincerely,
        Siri & Selma 👭 the rocking Bookfayries 💫🌟💫✨

  25. Excellent captured – so inspiring… 🙂

    So many opportunities to explore these kind of waterways – we should all do it more than we do – I have been on many tours in german, french and dutch waterways – and has plans to explore the waterway from Liverpool to Leeds and on to Newcastle – the problem is that it takes probably fourteen days… 🙂

    1. Drake, I’m sure you know I could happily spend my life on one of these 🙂 I just need to find a more restless husband (but don’t tell him- he might agree! 🙂 ) Thank you! I shall look forward to your waterway shots 🙂

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