Islington Tunnel

The next day we returned to the Regents Canal, and resumed our walk towards Limehouse, only to have to leave almost right away to bypass the Islington Tunnel (first photo). This is the longest of 3 tunnels on the canal – 886 metres, and there is no towpath!
In the days of commercial use before power driven barges, the horses would have walked over the top and the bargees then propelled the barge through by lying on their backs and pushing on the walls or roof of the tunnel with their feet.
We took the horse route, and eventually managed to find our way through the now built up area and rejoin the towpath at The Angel, a fairly well known part of London.
Signposting along the canals is generally very good, but this particular diversion is not marked at all.

Limehouse Marina

 From here to Limehouse, the canal passes through a number of different areas, including Shoreditch, Bethnal Green and Stepney. On the banks are a number of parks, and the buildings are a mixed bag of industrial sites, private and council housing, and more residential boat moorings.
There was no shortage of walkers, runners and cyclists along the towpath.
The canal descends via another 7 locks to lower it to the level of Limehouse.
At Mile End lock, we made a slight diversion to Bow, a few minutes walk from the canal. We had hoped to see the famous Bow Bells. The term Cockney is supposed to refer to people who were born within earshot of Bow Bells. Surprise surprise – the famous bells are actually in Whitechapel, but were apparently manufactured at Bow.
Finally we arrived at Commercial Road Lock, and the access to Limehouse Marina (second photo).

Lock to River Thames

 This area is a part of the redeveloped docklands, with the old warehouses having been converted to luxury residential accommodation. There are a number of larger expensive motor cruisers berthed here, along with a some permanent and transient narrow boats. As noted in a previous post, it is cheaper to own a boat and rent a permanent mooring in one of these places, than to own or rent a flat in Central London.
Boats have access to the River Thames through another lock. The Thames is tidal, and has a huge tidal range (about 7 metres), as can be seen from the third photo. Entrance through this lock, and similar ones as at St Katherine’s further up the river, can only be achieved one or two hours either side of High Water.

Prospect of Whitby

 From here we joined the Thames Path and headed upstream towards St Katherine’s and the Tower of London, which marked the end of this waterway wander.
 En route we passed the famous Prospect of Whitby, possibly the oldest pub in London??
If you are interested in London itself, have a look at a blog by London Geezer which gives loads of detail about the Regents Canal and other areas of London.
This is the end of our latest wanderings, but the urge to purchase our own boat has by no means left us.
In future posts I will look at some of our previous boating holidays – Cheshire Ring on a narrowboat, The Nivernaise and the Du Midi in France, as well as a power boat in Croatia – look at the different types of boats, and arrive at a decision as to what we should purchase.
A bientot.

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