London’s canal system forms part of the Grand Union Canal; a 137-mile-long canal line running from London to Birmingham. I have always been fascinated by life on the waterways — especially since my mother lives full-time on a houseboat herself.
A few weeks ago, on a rare day off, I decided to walk the canal route between Kings Cross to Little Venice — a part of London I had never properly explored before.
The canal cuts through The Regents’ Park and passes by London Zoo. I saw hyenas and warthogs on my journey, which was an unexpected surprise!
The weather was dramatic that day; it would rain hard and fast for a moment, only for bright sunshine to suddenly erupt from the clouds. I found the changeability quite exciting for photography, as the wet surfaces reflected light in interesting and unpredictable ways.
The walk was long — longer than I usually spend wandering in London. Like most other Londoners, I normally speed-walk with a destination in mind. Rarely do I get the opportunity to see where the day — and the path — takes me. Walking along the canal meant seeing a completely different side to London. I could hardly hear the traffic noise or smell the vehicle fumes from the nearby roads.
The wandering ended in Little Venice, when hunger took over and it was time to retreat into a cafe for much-needed coffee and cake. Whilst mulling over hours I’d spent following the waterways, I imagined what it would be like to be one of the many floating villagers who populate the canals of London. I imagined waking up each morning, surrounded by water. I thought of my mother, who was at that moment floating on the very same canal system as I had been following. For a while, even miles away, we had been linked by the waterways.