Capital Ring – Highgate to Stoke Newington

I’ve been working my way around the Capital Ring, a walking path that goes round outer-ish London, through its green bits, since last February. I’ve been doing it sporadically, obviously (as some people can complete it in a few weekends) and having surgery in the summer put a stop to me doing it at all, up until now (this is my first walk back on the ring). I started on section 7, as that was the bit closest to home and today I completed section 12. There are fifteen sections in total and I do plan on doing them all, completing the circle, so that I’m back at the beginning of section 7 again. I may manage to complete it in 2017, I do have more surgery coming up but my recovery from this one should be a lot quicker. The biggest problem I have with doing the Capital Ring, is the time it takes for me to travel to the starting and ending points, I live in zone 6 in south west London, so travelling right across to the other side of London, as I had to do today, takes some time. I am looking forward to when my route gets a bit closer to home again, I predict, when I get to that point, I’ll be able to finish the ring in a big rush just because I won’t have to spend so much time (which is difficult to schedule), travelling to get there. Anyway, if you’d like to catch up with the other sections I’ve walked, they are all over on my old blog, you can find the posts here, my favourite highlights so far definitely have to be walking through Harrow on the Hill, Fryent Country Park and Highgate Wood.

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So, section 12, Highgate to Stoke Newington, this one is a relatively easy section, there’s only one steep hill and that’s right at the beginning (and I’ve tackled far worse on other sections) and with a great big chunk of the route being in Parkland Walk, which has to be one of the thinnest parks ever, as it’s an old, abandoned railway line, it’s quite hard to get lost (at least until the end of the section that is but I’ll save that moan for later).

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My favourite bit of Parkland Walk has to be the old abandoned platforms at Crouch End.

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I also really liked the graffiti / street art.

And the spriggan was pretty cool, which according to the Tfl guide is

a kind of goblin. Spriggans were grotesquely ugly, found at old ruins guarding buried treasure and generally acting as fairy bodyguards. They were also said to be busy thieves. Though usually small, they had the ability to swell to enormous size – they’re sometimes speculated to be the ghosts of old giants. They were said to steal human children and leave baby spriggans in their place.

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After the Parkland Walk, the section goes onto the New River, which is neither a river or not actually that new, it was built to carry fresh water into London and still does apparently!

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Unlike the Parkland Walk, which was pretty busy with Christmas walkers and runners, this bit of the walk was pretty deserted which I am always sad to say, can, as I’m on my own, give me a bit of the creeps, which is at the same time both totally sensible and horribly wrong but until women can go and walk where ever we want without getting creeped out (and for many, many other reasons), it may be the 21st century but we still need feminism. Unfortunately, there are quite a few ‘lone female creepy bits’ on the Capital Ring and although that is most definitely not going to stop me, it does mean that it is another thing I have to take into consideration when deciding when I’m going to tackle another section, as depending on the time of year and whether it’s the weekend or a weekday, you can feel more secure knowing that there are other walkers around.

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The path along the New River did get a bit less salubrious though, as it approached two reservoirs.

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After the New River, there was some walking through the streets before getting to Clissold Park, which had two lovely old churches.

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And then more walking through the streets before getting to Abney Park cemetery.

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Then it was on to the overground station and home. And my moan? Unfortunately, the Capital Ring isn’t always well signposted, if you’re planning on doing it, definitely print off the map and written instructions for your section. There are meant to be signposts, either wooden posts if in parks etc. or actually signs if out on the street and they are not always there (or in the case of one section I’ve done, hidden by plant growth). So when I’m navigating I rely far more on the written instruction but having signposts do help (as one path in a park can pretty much look like another path, in my experience) and unfortunately, in this section, the signposting in the last third is very patchy / non-existant, so I did get sort of lost a couple of times, grrrhhh.

 

3 Comments

  1. Daniela Zastrow

    I just landed here as I’m planning to tackle section 12 tomorrow as well. I can fully relate to everything you say about the worrying and the “creepy bits” of the capital ring. As much as I love walking and exploring new areas on my own, I have passed way too many parts of the ring so far thinking “should I really be here right now” and hoping for joggers and dogwalkers more than anything. Sad really…

    Like

      1. Daniela Zastrow

        well, South West Trains had different plans today so after my train terminated in Barnes I decided to walk through Richmond Park instead…hope I will get one with the Capital Ring next week (and in sunnier weather)

        Like

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