6 February 2015

Swain's Lane and Highgate

(This is the continuation of my post on 29 Jan)

So where was I?  Oh yes, I exited Waterlow Park and turned right up the hill towards Highgate Village.
Immediately I saw a sign telling me (well; drivers) to slow down. Who needs a sign?! I think slowing down is normal at that point as it's about a 1-in-7 gradient – just see these pics and note how the old cemetery boundary wall in the pic on the right isn't true compared to the contemporary white and grey building.

But it didn't seem steep to me. Having already hiked up Dartmouth Park Hill I thought it odd that I didn't seem to be suffering at all. Perhaps my comfy lace-up wedges helped being as they are approx a 1-in-7 in the opposite direction, so I was effectively climbing up a very shallow staircase.
A cyclist overtook me. I heard him before I saw him. His demeanour reminded me of the fella in the animated film Belleville Rendez-vous; clad in Lycra with massive thighs in a hunched up position. But the odd thing was the very loud huffy puffy almost gaspy breathing he was doing. I appreciate he may have been cycling for longer than I had been walking, but it didn't sound like he was doing his body any good at all. Perhaps he should buy some nice comfy shoes and go for a walk instead.
At the top of Swain's Lane on the corner of Bisham Gardens, opposite the locked gate to the cemetery, there is a massive telecommunications mast. It's a bit of a shock seeing it there in amongst the lovely old things. But I suppose needs must these days.

Glad to notice the public toilets in Pond Square are still open and being used and a family with young children were playing ball in the square.
From there I headed north, first checking that a few things in the village were  still intact, such as enamel signs, markers for parish boundaries and insurance companies, and fancy metalwork. Almost at the top of North Hill I turned right into Church Road and then right again onto Archway Road. 
Pleased to report that I finally found old copies of both Vile Bodies and A Handful Of Dust in the warren of books that is Ripping Yarns. I have been keeping my eye open for them since going on Jen's Bright Young Things literary walk last year. More of Jen's walks here. Coincidentally, Jen lives in the Dartmouth Park area.
And then a brisk walk home; down the hill through the hollow way through Archway and into Holloway itself. Nice.


  1. A very interesting walk. Did you pass the St. Giles Pound milestone in Highgate? Hopefully still there and undamaged. Hope to follow the same route in the next couple of months.

  2. Thanks Dave. I am not sure which milestone you mean. I know of one that reads "5 miles to the post office" on Highgate West Hill, but I think you mean a different one that I cannot bring to mind. So the answer is 'no'!
    On a different note, I have just been pleasantly distracted by your Battersea piece. Keep up the fantastic work!


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Thanks, Jane