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The East End Canals

The Eastern fringes of London offer nature, water, and amazing sandwiches if you know where to look.

London isn’t unknown for it’s water. The Thames cuts the city in two like a slithering silver knife. But the urban sprawl that hugs its banks does not make for pleasant strolling. For that you head East; past Shoreditch, Liverpool Street, and even the bustling micro-metropolis of Hackney and you begin to hit the fringes of the Clapton waterways.

These meandering canals stretch from Camden to Canning Town and the paths alongside are firm and well maintained. Clapton is a great place to start a canal walk as its dead centre between the two. From here you can wonder up to London Zoo and the longboat port of ‘Little Venice’, or wander down to Broadway Market and London Fields.

The water has attracted more than just nature. Old walls have attracted graffiti artists, the waterways have attracted narrowboaters with colourful and amazing floating houses and the wide open spaces have attracted markets and fairgrounds. Every few steps you can follow a new path and end up in a nature reserve, a ferral pond or a modest hamlet offering ice creams and cold beers. For the rambling Lomographer, the canals offer the chance to snap wildlife and fauna, brightly coloured boats, the nuances of life on the water and the beautiful decay of lochs and buildings.

The photos below capture the highlights of an hour cycle down to London Fields Market. A journey that took us past the 2012 Olympic development, old ship-building installations, fish merchants and bass guitar salesmen.

Long live the waterways. Thank you for your time.

written by mattlongstaff

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