Last weekend I did two great runs, neither of which Ive done before and both in spitting distance of my house in N16.
Saturday’s run started reluctantly. A hangover from a friends leaving do would have left me groggily curled up in bed, had The Boy not coerced me out with a banana smoothie. Plus, we’d agreed to meet a friend in Springfield Park – I’m learning that arranging to meet someone is a sure fire way of making sure you don’t back out.
We met by the café in Springfield Park and headed around the green and down onto the canal bearing left at the first juncture towards Tottenham. Having rained in the night the air was fresh and the damp – moist grass, grit and glassy canal scents clung to the air. Heading North the Saturday sunshine grew stronger at each pace.
The route stretched all the way up towards Tottenham, at which point we pivoted and pounded back. Usually I hate not running a loop – there’s something disheartening about covering ground you’ve already just run, but the length of water seemed to keep on giving: locks, swans flanking dusty coloured signets, rowers taking an early morning punt, well groomed barges, a café (where they kindly let me check out the facilities), sweeping willow trees, mossy jettys and remarkably in some sections – crystal clear water.
On the return leg we diverted past Springfield Park, hopping over the bridge and running adjacent to Hackney Marshes, finally finishing off with a sprint across Millfields Park. I felt like I could have run on – so I really should have, but at the moment I’m still at that stage where stopping is far too enticing a prospect.
Miles Run: 8.64
1008 calories burnt.
Run two was a 3 mile recovery run – perfectly tailored for a Sunday. Setting off from Manor Road, we quickly left the grot of Woodberry Down, turning right around the East Reservoir. The run was really more of a mid-morning plod, peppered with pauses for photo ops and blackberry picking.
Skirting the East reservoir we saw two proud swans flanking their baby:
Teeny tiny birds standing on clogged green reeds. (Ignore the coke cans).
We picked fallen plums from a tree on the disused canal (on the far side of the reservoir):
We wanted to stay on our nature train, so resisted popping up the far side of the canal and coming down the road into Finsbury Park, rather we did an about turn and returned the way we came, crossing over Manor Park and onto the West Reservoir.
Leafy trees made welcome spots for shade as we darted along the path. I occasionally jogged on the spot with one hand in a bramble bush, one eye on the activities of the lake:
More swans, this time with seven signets skated past:
And a cheeky heron:
Mid run I was struck by how lucky this London postcode is to be in the heart of city action, have (literal) pools of tranquility – fully equipped for canoeing and sailing –on the doorstep and London’s skyline rising up behind. Got to be a rarity in London.
Inspired by people splashing about in the water we scooted into the West Reservoir Water Centre for a poke around. Even if you don’t have waterwings, the building itself is worth a visit. A post-industrial building that was once the powercentre for the reservoir. 20 ft windows look out over the water, original features have been restored and preserved and wooden decking provides outdoor seating for the café. If you do fancy yourself as a water baby, rowing, sailing and canoeing are just a few things on the agenda.
More runs in Stoke Newington (and beyond, fear not) to come…