Walking Between Worlds

Edinburgh 23.02.20, 3pm – sunset (5.30pm)

Happily coinciding with Terminalia, Women Who Walk and the Audacious Women Festival

Walk between worlds

Please join me in a circular walking tour (of approx. 2.5 hrs) to muse and meditate on boundaries and borders – between one community of people and another, day and night, life and death and on the cusp of the new moon.

 

A new(ish) moon

We will be visiting the graves of notable women in Rosebank Cemetery, North Leith Burial Ground and South Leith Parish Church. Briefly, at each stopping place, we will face the memorial stones, and have the chance to learn about their incumbents.

The North Leith Burial Ground is ‘the dead centre of Leith’ according to The Spirit of Leithers

Grave stone, North Leith Burial Ground

The steps taken from one to the next, will be equally, if not more important. You might like to walk in memory of a loved one, or muse on your own life and mortality. It will be an opportunity for exchange or silent contemplation on these topics. I hope to make a map after, and of, this event that will contain some of its psychogeography (see below).

Pilrig Church, Leith Walk. At the border between Leith and Edinburgh

Meeting at the join of Pilrig Street and Leith Walk, opposite the location of the Boundary Bar (now renamed as Bier Hoose) which marked the former border between Leith and Edinburgh; Terminating at Robbies (the corner of Iona St and Leith Walk, more or less opposite the start) for libation and conversation about where we have been – both in ourselves and the city. You are welcome to join us at any stage of the walk – contact Tamsin for route details if need be. 

Lady Mackintosh who raised a regiment for Prince Charlie, buried in the North Leith Burial Ground, Edinburgh

Wear hardy shoes or boots for tramping pavements and negotiating sodden grass between stones and at the edge of the Water of Leith. This event is free of charge. 

Psychogeography is ‘The study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organised or not, on the emotions and behaviour of individuals.’

 

Guy Debord from Making Maps

The annual Terminalia Festival of Psychogeography

Terminus was one of the really old Roman gods – he didn’t have a statue, he was a stone marker – and his origin, associated with a physical object, and lack of the usual stories that go with the gods, may have originated from animalistic religions. He had influence over less physical boundaries too, like that between two months, or between two groups of people. Terminalia was celebrated on the 23rd February – which was the last day of the Roman Year, the boundary between two new years.

Women Who Walk

Tamsin Grainger is a member of Women Who Walk. The network is for women who use walking in their creative or academic practice. It includes artists, writers, field historians and archaeologists, psychogeographers, academics and more.

Please note that there is no religious content to this event. Dogs and children are welcome. There are no flights of steps.

Eventbrite ticket (free)

Kings Cross to Camden Town – a walk

February 2020

Kings Cross 2
King’s Cross Station, London

I turned left out of Kings Cross station and left again onto York Way. I was seeking Wharf Road Gardens (connected to Handyside Gardens).

‘The name [King’s Cross] derives from a statue-topped structure erected in 1830 on the junction, or crossroads, between the roads now known as Euston Road, Pentonville Road and Grays Inn Road. The statue, you guessed it, was of a king – King George IV to be precise – who had died that year.’  Culture Trip

Street scene
Chat on the street, Kings Cross, London

Past Pret with its cucumber hoarding, old buildings and new, a sign for The Guardian newspaper offices (Farringdon Road) advertising ‘Hope is Power’, and King’s Place with its vertical, undulating reflective surfaces.

King's Place at a tilt
I cannot resist a reflective surface and tilted, it caught the light better, Kings Cross, London

Soon I crossed the Regent’s Canal with its long boats, both residential and for business. Turning left again, I wound between patches of grass and raised beds. Apparently the London Underground trains run a mere 4.5 metres below the surface and so the soil depth is insufficient for planting.

Regent's Canal from York Way
Looking west along the Regent’s Canal from York Way, London

Daisies
Little daisies opening their hearts to the sun. There were strawberry plants with fruit (honestly) and all manner of sprightly Spring flowers

Wharf Gardens incorporates Coal Drop Yard, Granary Square, King’s Boulevard, St Pancras Station and West Handyside Canopy – all very ‘regenerated’ and rather chi-chi. However, I discovered many interesting places, not least the Word on Water bookshop.

Word as Water Book Boat
Word on the Water Bookboat, Regent’s Canal, King’s Cross, London

There was a little contretemps – a woman who was not in full control of her behaviour needing a smoke and most insistently tramping through the shop – which the gentleman in the bowler (see above) managed admirably.

Boat Bookshop interior
Part of the interior of the Word on the Water bookshop, Regent’s Canal, Wharf Road Gardens, London

The House of Illustration was there, with fascinating sounding exhibitions such as W.E.B DuBois Charting Black Lives. Not much further on was Central St Martins (CSM) art school collaborating with Shades of Noir in a window display, impressively focusing on ‘the historical white dominance of institutional ownership of archival material’ within the CSM Museum.

House of Illustration
House of Illustration, London

There were people playing table tennis in the massive, roofed community space (I wanted to join in) and Art Fund at the Coal Drops Yard.

Art Fund Coal Drops Yard

Down by the canal, I bought a book a lovely little book, London’s Hidden Rivers, a walker’s guide to the subterranean waterways of London – the sort of thing I would have liked to write! And admired the cranes against the picturesque sky.

IMG_20200212_215447

Cranes at Kings Cross

Smart shop units
Perhaps the remains of Chinese New Year celebrations – red streamers blowing in the wind

The Canal and River Trust have done a great job of opening up the canal for all of us to enjoy – those walking, jogging, pushing buggies and the school boys smoking joints. Under Somers Town Bridge I trundled with my suitcase, opposite Camley Street Natural Park which I discovered last year (see the link below to an earlier blog, with photos). Past a flight of smart stone steps upon which you could sit and watch the coots and moorhens rush by and up to the St Pancras Lock and Basin, and Gasholder Park, a tremendous new conversion of the disused gasworks.

IMG_20200212_154420
New blooms amidst the remains of last year’s dry stalks, Regent’s Canal, London

A man was putting his back into it, tightening a sheet on the roof of a barge. The vessels were all colours of the rainbow, some more modern than others, one with a bright blue old-fashioned wheel, but no-one was going through the lock as I approached.

Hot Tamale, canal boat and wheel

BT Tower
The BT Tower as seen from St Pancras Lock, Regent’s Canal, London

Gasholder park
Gasholder Park, Regent’s Canal, London

It all reminded me of a recent visit to a friend’s boat for breakfast on the Edinburgh and Glasgow Union Canal, the Leamington Lift Bridge and it’s waterside community, so I had some idea of what was below decks.

Canal boats, Edinburgh and Glasgow Union Canal
Canal boats, Edinburgh and Glasgow Union Canal

The Leamington Lock, Edinburgh
The Leamington Lock, Edinburgh

Lochrin Basin, Edinburgh
Lochrin Basin, Edinburgh

It is not far from King’s Cross to Camden Town, perhaps 30 minutes if you didn’t stop off and take photos and browse bookshops and generally see the sights, but well worth it on a cold, sunny day. There I picked up the overground to Gunnersbury, ideal for where I was staying that night.

Geese standing on the water, Regent's Canal, London
Geese standing on the water, Regent’s Canal, London

Moorhen, Regent's Canal, London
Moorhen, Regent’s Canal, London

You might also like Camley Street Natural Park; St Pancreas Parish church and gardens; and Goldington Crescent Gardens, Camden London

or Regent’s Canal Towpath from Camden onwards

Regent’s Canal Towpath