05 July, 2007

The New River path completed.

Call me no more O gentle stream
To wander through thy sunny dream
No more to roam at twilight cool
Above thy wier and glimmering pool.

It is with a sense of relief that I have completed this walk, which was mixed to say the least. The trip to the starting point for tonights walk was dreadful with a bus accident on the way that held me up for half an hour, and the rains came down with a vengance. But if I had waited for the fine weather I think I would have waited for a long time.
A lot of the sections on the banks of New River had not been made into footpaths so there were many houses in the 'by-pass variegated' style en route, and these had the usual quotient of skips and building work being done. I saw some perfectly good WC pans in these and just wonder why people put up with living on a building site as the home improvement squanderbug takes hold. When I got to the New River it was quite pleasant as it was fairly green. Via Enfield the River has been made into a water feature through the parks. This section is very picturesque with old houses on the other side of the river crossed by private bridges. I got lost through Enfield as the path was not well marked, but ended up seeing some curious residential streets, including flat roofed houses and green tiled Beverly Hills in Britain places. One point of interest was the clarendon arch which was built in the 17th century to take the Pymm's Brook, which we met on the loop, under the river. There are commemorative stones to say the Earl of Clarendon built the arch when governor of the New River Co and a commemorative stone for the building of the clay embankment and removal of the wooden trough that had carried the river for 173 years.

After Winchmore hill with its cricket club the river disappeared into a tunnel fairly quickly and I had to walk through streets. On one street a person asked me (in a xxx moment) who earned most money, footballers or golfers. I wasn't sure what would happen if I answered incorrectly, perhaps I would not be allowed to pass, so I hazarded that footballers earned most. I got the answer wrong, but was allowed to continue unmolested on my way.

The tunnel was marked above ground by NRC posts (New River Company). New river Company shares were sold for pence at the begining of the company but when the water was municipalised in the early twentieth century were worth six figures. It just goes to show if you hang around for 300 years you'll make money from shares.
Passing by the Alexandra palace I entered an unappealing area of bread and other factories but I knew the end was in sight Cutting through a curious sloping tunnel under the East Coast Main Line I went through a luxury estate built on a reservoir (no wonder London is now short of water) and saw the welcome sight of the pumping station now turned into a restaurant. It was supposed to be an art gallery but it looks more like a restaurant with pictures on the wall than aa gallery with a refreshment room. (see picture)

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