Canal walks and the Counter Cafe

To make the most of our current phase of early bird waking up, Phil and I decided that Today Was A Day To Get Out and About and to walk some of the East End’s Canals.

Taking the number 8 bus from St Paul’s we headed east. Half an hour later, we alighted at Parnell Road/Old Ford Road, crossed the footbridge over the Blackwall Tunnel Approach road and on through the industrial estates of Fish Island – home to Percy Dalton’s Famous Peanut Company’s former factory and evangelical church hallls. Our destination, Roach Road and the lovely Counter Cafe.

Ensconced upstairs in splendid isolation we had a view out over the Lee Navigation, with narrowboats moored and joggers jogging on the far bank. Just the other side of the high wire fence that still surrounds the Olympic Park, diggers and construction vans whizzed hither and thither – although quite what they were doing was a mystery.

Turkish eggs, a full English and two cups of coffee later we headed back out, crossing the Hertford Union Canal where it meets the Lee just north of Old Ford Lock. Turning left, we walked the length of the towpath. Hackney’s Victoria Park is on your right for a chunk of the route, while on the other side of the canal, there are houses, factory-warehouses and, increasingly, des res apartment blocks.

Reaching the junction with Regent’s Canal, we decided against turning left (which would have taken us to Limehouse – we’re saving that route for a day when we can walk back along the northside of the Thames), and instead continued westerly until the towpath ran out at Islington Tunnel. So, after a mooch around Angel, we headed back home; the next stretch of the Regent’s Canal to be done another day.