Tag Archives: Bowel Cancer UK

Walking The London Overground: Done, and I Think I’m The First!

Kentish Town West

Photos of Kentish Town West taken 10 hours and 59 minutes apart on my final walk

On Sunday September 14th, 2014 I completed walking the London Overground as part of my ongoing attempt at walking the Tube (done), Overground and DLR. I believe I'm the first and, at this point, only person to have walked all of the London Overground (unless of course anyone knows of anyone else).

In a slight shift of focus, I'm now aiming to be the first person to walk the entire Standard Tube Map, which means I'll also have to add the Emirates Airline into the mix (and more Overground if I don't finish before the end of this year). Fortunately, mainline trains and the tram network don't make it onto the map, which saves me walking them.

Overground Walk Stats

Total distance walked: 109.45 miles (176.14km) - 27% of the Tube's distance
Time spent walking: 34 hours and 52 minutes - 23% of the time spent walking the Tube
Total number of walks: 5 (although I did walk the former East London Line as part of my Tube walks)

Shortest walk: New Cross Gate to West Croydon via Crystal Palace - 13.32 miles (21.44km)
Longest walk: Walking the Overground Circle from Kentish Town West to Kentish Town West - 34.48 miles (55.49 km) - Will be the longest walk of this whole adventure

Average walking speed: 3.14 miles/hr - 20% faster than walking the Tube
Average walk length: 21.89 miles (35.23 km) - 28% longer than the average Tube walk
Average walk time: 6 hours 58 minutes - 6% longer than the average Tube walk

Grand total distance walked to date (Tube + Overground): 503.75 miles (810.7 km)

Fundraising Reminder

Just a reminder that I'm doing the walks to help support Bowel Caner UK. So far I've raised £1,773.43 but am aiming to raise £16,013 - so please donate here

Blog Post Updates

You may have noticed that while this blog has been relatively active lately, there have been few posts about the Overground walks and none from my past Tube walks. The reason is that those posts take a long time to compile and I don't really have a lot of free time.

However, my goal is still to publish photos from each of my Tube walks, just without the long winded prose to go along with them. So look out for those and photos from the rest of my Overground walks (and upcoming DLR walks) here soon.

You can read more about my Tube Challenge here.

Done! I’m Now The First Canadian To Have Walked The Entire London Underground

Done

At 2:19 pm today (August 24th, 2013) I completed my final walk of the London Underground, walking from North Acton to Bank with my wife and my father. As far as I know I am now the first Canadian to have walked the entire Tube above ground and will claim that title unless someone can prove otherwise.

I've also manged to raise £1,145.07 for Bowel Cancer UK, which while a great start is still far below my initial goal of £16,013. As I continue to post more detailed updates of my walks I'll continue to ask for donations to support this very worthy cause.

This completes a journey that started just over a year ago (August 19th, 2012) with a short half hour long walk along the Waterloo & City Line.

Since then I've walked beyond the borders of London and the M25 to the mythical Zone 9. I've walked east, west, north but only rarely south. I've walked through some rain, but have on the whole had incredible luck with the weather. I've mostly walked it alone, but finished on a high-note completing the last two legs with my father and the last with my wife as well.

It's been a journey that's taken up a huge portion of my life to the extent that it still feels a little surreal that it's all over. During the same time period I also manged to visit all 270 tube stations separately, just because the Tube is really cool and it would have been a shame not to visit the stations I was walking past.

Over the next 6 months I'll post detailed accounts of all my walks (and station visits), but in the meantime I thought I'd post just a few quick stats about what I've done.

Total distance walked: 394.3 miles (634.56 km) - almost the distance from London to Edinburgh
Time spent walking: 151 hours 16 minutes - almost 1 full week
Number of lines walked: 12 (11 current lines + former East London Line)

Total number of walks: 23
Shortest walk: Waterloo & City line: Waterloo to Bank - 1.6 miles (2.6 km)
Longest walk: Central line walk #3: Epping to Leytonstone to Woodford via Hainault - 27.97 miles (45.01 km)

Average walking speed: 2.61 miles/hr
Average walk length: 17.14 miles (27.58 km)
Average walk time: 6 hours 34 minutes

Unique stations visited: 270
Total stations visited: 381 (multiple vists to stations where more than 1 line goes through them)

Favourite walk (besides last ones): Metropolitan Line day 3 (Watford to Moor Park to Amersham and Chesham) - great weather & scenery.
Least favourite walk: Jubilee line day 2 (Waterloo to Stanmore) - constant rain for several hours while walking through suburban London.

Thanks to everyone who has supported me during this journey. I hope you stick around to read the full account. If you'd like to know any other stats just ask in the comments section below:

Hammersmith & City Line Underground Stations – Facts, Trivia And Impressions

This post is part of my Randomly London v. The Tube Challenge. Get the latest about challenge updates here. Donate to Bowel Cancer UK here.

068 - Platforms at Baker Street Station
The best set of platforms on the entire network? I think so.

While the Hammersmith & City (H&C) line operates along the entire original section of the London Underground, it has only been shown as a separate line on the tube map since 1990. This means that it's technically London's newest tube line, although no new track or stations were built when the route was transferred from the Metropolitan line.

With the extension of the Circle line all the way to Hammersmith in 2009, the Hammersmith & City line no longer has any unique stations. Nevertheless, here are some photos, facts and my impressions of each of the 29 stations that currently make up the line:

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Bakerloo Line Walk – From Harrow & Wealdstone to Elephant & Castle

This post is part of my Randomly London v. The Tube Challenge. Get the latest about challenge updates here. Donate to Bowel Cancer UK here.

Red Telephone Box at Queen's Park
Red Telephone Box Seen at Queen's Park

My overall impression of the Bakerloo line was not altogether favourable when I visited the stations, and initially, walking it does little to improve this. However, this is due as much to mistakes on my part as anything else.

I'm walking the Bakerloo line from Harrow & Wealdstone in far north-west London to Elephant & Castle in the south-east. It's a cool, overcast day in October when I begin – the perfect weather for walking. Nevertheless, things begin to go wrong almost immediately.

A Shaky Beginning

First of all, I'm sleepy because I stayed out late at a work party the night before, which means I am slightly hungover as well. Far worse is the realisation that the internet on my phone is no longer working. For most experienced and/or prepared walkers this wouldn't be a problem, but for me it is.

While I don't have the best phone, it's perfectly sufficient to run Google Maps. Within a very short period of time, I've become wholly dependent on it to navigate London's streets. Why use an A to Z when you have a map with GPS right in your pocket?

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Come To The Maple Leaf On Jan 20, 2013 To Try Montreal Smoked Meat

A Montreal style Smoked Meat Sandwich

A Montreal style Smoked Meat Sandwich

Regular readers will likely know that I'm both walking the Tube to raise money for Bowel Cancer UK and that I'm Canadian. What you likely don't know anything about is Montreal style smoked meat. Montreal Pastrami by Jacob Harrison and myself are looking to change that.

To find out what smoked meat is all about (if the picture above hasn't enticed you already) come to the Maple Leaf Pub in Covent Garden anytime after 1pm on Sunday Jan 20, 2013. Plus, he's generously offered to donate 50p from each sandwich sold to the cause.

What: Try smoked meat. To learn more about what smoked meat is and isn't read their Manifesto.
Where: Maple Leaf Pub in Covent Garden (41 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, London WC2E 7LJ) -see map below
When After 1pmTickets go on sale at 12:30pm, meat will start being served at 12:30. Sunday Jan 20, 2013
Who: Myself, Montreal Pastrami and hopefully you!
Why: To try an amazing Canadian food that hasn't previously been available in London, while also supporting fundraising for Bowel Cancer UK.


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Bakerloo Line Underground Stations – Facts, Trivia And Impressions

This post is part of my Randomly London v. The Tube Challenge. Get the latest about challenge updates here. Donate to Bowel Cancer UK here.

Closed Assistance and tickets booth at South Kenton
Closed Assistance and ticket office at South Kenton. Miles away from Oxford Circus.

The Bakerloo line is the third London Underground line I'm tackling as part of my Randomly London V. The Tube Challenge. Heading from south of the Thames at Elephant & Castle to the suburban edges of north-west London up at Harrow & Wealdstone, the line - like almost all Underground lines - connects some very diverse parts of London together.

However, the line feels like the forgotten middle child of the London Underground. It doesn't go the furthest north or south and it isn't the newest or oldest, longest or shortest. In fact, it's the third least used line it terms of total passenger volume, although if you look at passengers per mile of track, it's actually the fourth most used.

The line even went into massive retreat between 1979 and 1982 when it lost the Stanmore branch to the Jubilee line and had services withdrawn so Stonebridge Park became the line's northern terminus. Nevertheless, the forgotten middle child of lines has come back a bit since then and has some interesting stations.

Here's a brief summary of my impressions of each of the 25 stations that currently make up the Bakerloo Line.

Elephant & Castle

Elephant & Castle Bakerloo Exit a classic Leslie Green station
Elephant & Castle Bakerloo line exit - classic Leslie Green.

Impressions: Elephant & Castle is one of those parts of London that will never look good, no matter what scheme the council, developers or mayor's office devise. The roundabout is designed only for cars and pedestrians are left as an afterthought.

Once you accept these facts, then the area isn't so bad. Murals in the subways brighten up what would otherwise be very drab concrete walls. The Strata building is interesting and impressive.

And, the Bakerloo platforms are best accessed through a classic Leslie Green red brick entrance. Thus, if you're a glass half-full kind of person there are some good points to the area that go at least partly mitigate the glaring negatives.

Random Fact: In 1924, the first recorded birth on the London Underground occurred at Elephant & Castle. There has been only 1 other since then. Tweet This

Tube Nerd Fact: The furthest south of Leslie Green's Tube stations. Tweet This

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Victoria Line Walk – From Walthamstow Central to Brixton

This post is part of my Randomly London v. The Tube Challenge. Get the latest about challenge updates here. Donate to Bowel Cancer UK here.

Buckingham Palace With FlowersBuckingham Palace, just one of the sights you can see along the Victoria line.

Amazingly enough the day of my Victoria line walk happens to be another sunny Saturday in September. I've decided walk the line in the reverse order from the station visitsWalthamstow Central to Brixton this time. Walking north to south is a deliberate decision; psychologically, it feels like you're going downhill.

I set off out of the station at full speed along Selborne Road, passing an Asda and a passed out drunk, then walk parallel to Walthamstow High Street, where you can find Walthamstow Market – Europe's longest daily outdoor market.

Walthastow Central Station
Walthamstow Central Station, the start of my walk

I decide against my normal better judgement to cut over to the High Street. Normally I avoid crowds whenever I can. I love living in big cities, except for having to deal with all the other people.

Global Markets & Reservoirs

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Victoria Line Underground Stations – Facts, Trivia And Impressions

This post is part of my Randomly London v. The Tube Challenge. Get the latest about challenge updates here. Donate to Bowel Cancer UK here.

Retro Map at Pimlico Station

Retro Victoria Line Tube Map Found At Pimlico, the only station still using this type of map.

Given that London has few sunny and warm weekends, especially in September, most Londoners make the most of them when they do happen. I, on the other hand, chose to ride the tube from Brixton to Walthamstow Central along the Victoria line.

The Victoria line is an interesting one for a few reasons: it was the first deep level underground line to be built across central London since 1907, it is the longest line entirely underground (at least for the travelling public), and almost every station has tiled artwork relating to the station itself, or the surrounding area.

I visited each of the 16 stations on the line over the course of approximately 3 hours on the very sunny 8th of September. Here are my impressions and a random fact about each station:

Brixton

Entrance to Brixton Station Brixton Station Art
Huge London Underground roundel at Brixton station and tiled artwork at platform level playing on the "brick" part of the name.

Impressions: Brixton is among the more interesting areas of London. It has reputation for being somewhat dodgy and dangerous, but in my opinion this view is increasingly outdated. While Brixton remains at present a mixed area, all signs point to rapid gentrification. The most noticeable feature about Brixton station, to my mind, is the huge London Underground roundel over the entrance. It was also extremely busy on the day I visited.

Random Fact: Brixton station opened in 1971, 3 years after the first section of the Victoria line. Tweet This

Stockwell

Stockwell Station Exterior Stockwell Station tiled Art
The entrance to Stockwell Station and the bizarre dazzle inspired tiled artwork at platform level.

Impressions: If Brixton is one of the most interesting areas of London, Stockwell feels like one of the most bland. Stockwell station is one of the ugliest stations on the whole network. The view is not much improved once you leave, as you're immediately thrust onto busy Clapham Road. The one interesting thing I did notice about the station is that there is no up escalator from the northbound Victoria line platform. I guess not many people go from Brixton to Stockwell by tube. It was also far less busy than Brixton.

Random Fact: Stockwell is the southernmost London underground station that serves more than one line. Tweet This
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Waterloo & City Line – Walk And Tube Station Visits

This post is part of my Randomly London v. The Tube Challenge. Get the latest about challenge updates here. Donate to Bowel Cancer UK here.

Waterloo Station

The Waterloo & City line is the amuse bouche of my 11 course tube challenge. The line itself is both the youngest* and shortest on the network. At only 1.5 miles (2.5 km) long and consisting of just two stations (Waterloo and Bank), I was able to walk the whole thing in about a half hour. A nice easy start.

However, everything did not quite go according to plan. The original idea was to both ride and walk the line on the same day. I set off on a beautiful sunny Sunday (Aug. 19th, 2012) walking to Waterloo from South Ken. Normally the Waterloo & City Line is closed on Sundays. However, Transport for London (TFL) moved to a 7 day a week schedule for the line during Olympics.

I naively assumed that this applied to the whole period from the opening ceremonies of the Olympics to the closing ceremonies of the Paralympics. Even TFL's website seemed to indicate the line was going to be open. So I was somewhat surprised to find the whole thing shut down. Really not a big deal, but it meant I had to make a separate trip a few days later to ride the train.

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Randomly London v. The Tube – My Personal London Underground Challenge

Bank Station

That's right, I'm taking on the Tube! Specifically, my goal over the next 12 months is to visit every London Underground station and to walk all the Tube lines above ground. Given that there are 11 underground lines, my aim is to complete about one a month.

This also leaves me with a bit of extra time in case I need it. I've walked several of the Tube lines before, but since turning 30 last month, I've decided to walk them all systemically. Walking the Tube is a great way to see London and to discover how each community fits together. Coincidentally, the timing of this challenge will overlap with the 150th anniversary of the Tube on 10 January, 2013.

The idea was conceived of as a personal challenge, but I thought it would be a wasted opportunity not to raise money for charity. So, I've set a goal of raising £16,013 for Bowel Cancer UK. The number represents £1 for each person who died from bowel cancers in the UK in 2010.

I chose this charity because of a family history with the disease; my Scottish paternal grandmother died of colorectal cancer in her 40s, long before I ever had a chance to meet her. Walking and exercise in general are good ways to prevent bowel and other types of cancers. You can learn more about bowel cancer – including who is at risk, symptoms, where to get screenings, and more – from the Bowel Cancer UK website here.

My plan for the challenge is as follows:
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