Monday, 1 January 2018

Walking Off The Cobwebs #NewYearsDay 2018

DC Editor Adam Scott-Goulding writes…


Happy New Year! Here's to a happy and peaceful 2018 - the year that sees the 50th anniversary of London Walks AND the 10th birthday of The Daily Constitutional!

As regular Daily Constitutionalists and London Walkers will know, when I'm not leading walking tours or blogging, I like a big, long walk around London - especially at the start of the year.

Today – New Year's Day 2018 – was no exception and, with my family joining me, I clocked up a respectable 8.2 miles to start the year. 






2018 began with a little retro flourish at East Finchley station…



Fidget spinners! Remember them? OMG they are like SO 2017!


On Ruth's Urban Geology Walks last year I learned that it often pays to look down as well as up.

The Adamant Stone Company of Aberdeen and London was founded in 1922…





… and they specialised in paving stones made from concrete and granite chips. I rather fancy that Aberdeen Adamant sounds like a rival of Sherlock Holmes. This example was found in Woodside Avenue N6 - keep your eyes peeled, you'll find this trademark all over town.

On through Highgate Wood…



… past the plaque for the actor Peter Sellers…



… on the cottage in Muswell Hill Road where this comedy legend spent his formative years from the age of 11.


On to the Parkland Walk, 4.5 miles of disused railway turned into a walking route and nature reserve. On New Year's Day it was thronging with families walking off the cobwebs…




… and a disconcerting number of pretty angry looking runners! Happy New Year!


With the railway long gone, The Green Man, the spirit of the forest, is taking over…



Out on to Crouch Hill for a view of the Arsenal stadium and the City of London beyond…





… and a small literary detour





… into Oakfield Court where, at number 37, Frank Doel resided. 

Mr Doel worked at the bookshop Marks & Co at 84 Charing Cross Road. The shop was made famous by Helene Hanff in her 1970 book of the same name…




Mr Doel was born in Cheshire but moved to the borough of Haringay when he was eight. A devoted fan of Tottenham Hotspur and a respected and well-liked figure in the book trade, he lived in the Haringay area until his death in 1968 at the age of 60.

His funeral took place 49 years ago on this day – 1st January 1969.

He became posthumously famous through his correspondence with Ms Hanff which forms the narrative of the book 84 Charing Cross Road.


A little further along the way… the first Christmas Tree Crime Scene of 2018. They don't mess about in Crouch End, by New Year's Day it's ALL OVER…




Down through Crouch End and up to Alexandra Palace (seen in the distance in the shot above) – Ally Pally to Londoners…




… a great vantage point for the fireworks.

The morning after… two empty bottles, their fizz long gone, disappeared into a partying Londoner, protrude from an Ally Pally bin like guns from a WWII pill box…




The view in the cold light of day…




The doctor told me to take up a sport. This event at Ally Pally has given me some inspiration…




To the old railway line that once looped beneath Muswell Hill and the view out to Stratford and the Olympic park against a wintry sky…




Not far to my second pass through Highgate Wood, where I found this commemoration on a bench to the great Irish comedian and writer Sean Hughes who passed away in 2017…




As the sun put up its strongest display of the day just as the fight was drawing to a close…




… with a little more NYE detritus…




… I made my way home to the traditional Scottish New Year's Day feast of Steak Pie (made by my genius wife Karen).






Get in touch if you want to share your own big walks around London. Happy New Year!



A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at www.walks.com.



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