Squirrel's Secret Spot 14 : Regent Canal and Camden Locks

on Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Hi folks. Sorry I have been away for so long. It hasn't been a great start to the year for me so far and that included being so swamped with work that I haven't been able to even go see "Avatar" for the last three weeks. But that is not the focus of today's post.

Instead, I want to carry on with my series of posts about my recent trip to London, England and coincidentally also add the 14th installment of Squirrel's Secret Spots from around the world (which is another series that I have not posted on for quite awhile).

Well, one fine winter day (which means typical wet, cold and miserable in England), having sated my appetite for tourist attractions and bored myself silly, window shopping along Oxford Street for the umpteenth time, I followed my nose (which was buried in a tour guide) and found myself at a rather interesting place.

I took the Underground to Camden Town, got out and went in the wrong direction and ended walking along the northern end of Regent's Park and took a circuitous route that almost took me back where I started but only after a walk of about 30 minutes. But I did not really mind apart from the bitter wind blowing because this route led me to walk along the blissfully charming Regent's Canal.

The Regent's Canal is a great place in summer to take a water tour by historical canal narrowboats from the Industrial Revolution period of the 19th Century. There is also a tow path that remains open for long walks in relative solitude long after the boating season is over. As the canal meanders its way between fields and buildings, walking along its towpath is like stepping back in time. I am a big fan of canals and canal boats. The calm surroundings, the brightly and gaily painted narrowboats, the often eccentric boat owners as well as the beautiful houses and buildings along the way would be more than enough to make me score this place very highly.

Stepping Back in Time (LGS)

Narrowboats (LGS)

Someone's Traveling Home (LGS)

However, the Regent Canal walk rewards its adventurers by leading them to the Camden Locks. This area was once the confluence of a number of different transportation modes. The Locks themselves were important to allow the canal boats to go upstream to a higher water level. Nearby there were the Camden Stables where many horses were kept. Also nearby are a couple of railway bridges which mark another important transportation mode. At sometime in its history, the area became depressed and many of these facilities fell into disuse. But more recently, the whole area has been revived with a mixture of recreational boating and a lively outdoor and indoor market scene, rich in arts, crafts and souvenirs.

Sure some of the stuff was tacky but a lot of the others were quite imaginative. My wife bought some Lithuanian amber at a great price. I, in turn was rewarded with a taste of Moroccan cuisine for less than 4 pounds sterling. Wonderful. And I ate it sitting on these cute seats made to look like mini-scooters and with a great view of the canal.

I loved it. I'd go back again. And so Regent Canal and Camden Lock Market makes it on to the Squirrel's Secret Spots' list.

Camden Locks in Action (LGS)

Art Climbing the Walls (LGS)

Camden Lock - Also Good Shopping (LGS)

Even the Stables Now Host Shops (LGS)

Art Galloping off the Walls (LGS)

Mini-Scooters by the Canal (LGS)


Joyce's Ramblings said...

Loved the tour. I wouldn't mind seeing it . Love the art going up the wall.

secret agent woman said...

I remember visiting Regent Canal. Reminds me of the lyrics from an old Paul McCartney song:
"Single seagull gliding over Regent's Park Canal
Do you need a pal for a moment or two?"

Molly said...

I enjoyed visiting such an interesting place with you!I love it when old buildings are pulled back from the brink of extinction and given a new lease on life...

Molly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
geewits said...

What great pictures! I was really diving into them and getting the feel of the place. Aren't you glad you were bored that day?

On a limb with Claudia said...

Boy, that's neat! I've been enjoying your adventures in London. I wonder if you might do a travelogue of your home town as well. I've been to neither and would love to see them both!

Anonymous said...

Channels are very interesting places. I did not know that the Locks are still operational. Do these colourful boats really move? I would very much like to live for some months on a boat in London or Amsterdam.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I am sure you would love it; especially wandering around the imaginative craft shops. as for the art going up the wall, did you notice the rats were kind of rude?

Secret agent woman,
I trust that your visit to Regent Canal was a fun one.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I agree; I think it is so creative how they revive these old buildings which can be so full of character.

Thanks for your kind words. I am definitely not a big city guy. After 2-3 days, I am itching for some park or piece of country to get some solitude.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

A travelogue about my hometown? Okay, I will try to do that more often but in the meanwhile, try the link for posts on "Malaysia" on my blog cause I did a few of those previously.

Much of the english canals are still functional but mostly for recreational boating (i.e. holiday makers). The locks do work and those colorful boats do travel. I did a post on canals as part of Secret Squirrel spots posts.

Laura said...

Hello! I loved the tour, thank you. Just discovered you via XUP's blog. Nice to meet you. Happy Squirrel Appreciation Day too.


Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Hi Laura,
Nice to see you over here in these parts and thank you for alerting me about Squirrel Appreciation Day. Hmmm.....a post is forming in my head!

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