Friday, 9 April 2010

Random Walks©: Highbury Corner to St Pancras avoiding Angel

However long you live in London, you can find new walks and views to delight and interest (and, occasionally, appal) you. This is especially true since they keep knocking bits down and building anew!

This Random Walk© starts at the ABC Jewellers, 139 Holloway Road (all walks have to start somewhere), passes Highbury and Islington tube, and turns sharp right after the Cock Tavern onto Highbury Station Road (HSR). At the end of HSR turn left onto Liverpool Road and walk down it, admiring the many architectural sights, till you pass the back of the Business Design Centre (it's a former Royal Agricultural Hall and looks much different to the front).

Before you get anywhere near the back of the N1 shopping centre, with its hideous "angel of north London" sculpture, but when it is in sight, turn right into Ritchie Street. Walk through the tiny Culpepper Park. (Culpepper Community Garden is on the right-hand side of this park.)

Out the other side of the park, walk along Dewey Road, cross Barnsbury Road, walk along Maygood Street. At the end you come to a housing estate. Follow a footpath straight downwards through the estate; after a while, ahead you begin to see the Regent's Canal. Cross Muriel Street and go down the stairs to the canal. Now you can walk along as far as you like - westwards. To the east the canal goes underground, through the Islington Tunnel.

I left the canal at Camley Street. This area is secluded, and probably best avoided at night and/or alone if you are of a nervous disposition!

As you come up the steps, head right along Camley Street. A little further on from the junction with Granary Street you can see an old, red-brick wall. Around about here are steps up to the churchyard of St Pancras Old Church. I passed Saint Pancras Coroner's Court at this point! There's plenty to see in this area, especially if you are into architectural styles.

Out the other side of the churchyard, I took a small detour in a rightwards direction up nearby Royal College Street to photograph the Royal Veterinary College, with its Beaumont Animals' Hospital - not free, alas, apart from a dog cardiac clinic and subsidised cat neutering, but probably shit hot! From here there's a short and interesting walk up toward Camden tube, passing the house where racy French poets Rimbaud and Verlaine lived.

From St Pancras Old Church, turning left will take you toward Midland Road and St Pancras station. It's only from this direction, looking at the back of the British Library, that I could appreciate how enormous St Pancras is and how many London taxis there are, as they queue to pick up fares. From here it's a short walk to the Euston Road.

Warning: the air here is very polluted with exhaust fumes, but the sights are interesting.

Disclaimer: This is my first attempt at describing a walk so please take an A to Z with you. I haven't attempted to tell you everything you can see (below are a few snaps), or where you should eat! I had my lunch at the White Swan Wetherspoons in Highbury before setting out.


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