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A hill, a lake and two brooks – a walk in North London – Sat 5 December

GOC London's circumnavigation of the 78 mile long Capital Ring started over a year ago in October 2019, having been interrupted twice by the lockdown restrictions. So we were pleased to assemble - in two groups of 6 - on a  beautiful sunny morning at Kingsbury station to recommence our journey. Our route first ascended through the Fryent Country Park to the Gotfords Hill summit. From here there were wide views over London in all directions including most prominently the Wembley Arch. It was worth the muddy conditions; we all wore boots, this not being one of those urban walks where you could get away with trainers.

After descending from the heights to pass we entered some suburban streets where we came across the two contrasting St Andrew's churches. The larger 'new' church was originally situated in Marylebone, and was moved to Kingsbury stone by stone to replace the smaller old church in 1933. Another impressive feature soon followed, Brent reservoir, known from its shape as the 'Welsh Harp', where we watched sailing dinghies backlit by the noon sun. This reservoir was constructed in 1835 to charge the canal system rather than to provide drinking water as with most of London's reservoirs.

The mood of the walk then changed as we passed through Hendon, crossing the busy transport arteries of the A5, (the Roman Watling Street), the Midland main line, the M1 and A41 trunk road before arriving at the spacious Hendon Park, where we had our packed lunches on some benches in the sun. After lunch the the route passes close to major roads such as the North Circular and A1, but avoids them threading ingeniously alongside the Dollis and Mutton brooks. These streams form their own secluded world with a variety of cultivated and wild green spaces, somehow peaceful despite the intruding noise of nearby traffic.

Our walk finished all too soon at East Finchley station about 4 hours from the start, from where we could catch the frequent Northern line back into town on the first leg of our journeys home.

Andy Fisher




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