Hampstead Viaduct – yes there is such a thing !

Monday March 24 2014 – Hampstead Heath, London.

As you would have seen from the side bar of this blog I randomly and inconsistently upload photos to other websites like Instagram and Flickr. I am not particularly consistent with either and just like I am with WordPress blogs I am not that good when it comes to following and liking other peoples work. However, I am not totally unsociable and I do follow a couple of people on those sites and one of them recently posted a lovely monochrome image of Hampstead Viaduct on Instagram. I had never heard of there being a viaduct in Hampstead Heath, but after a bit of research I found that sure enough there was one.

The viaduct was completed in 1847 by the Lord Mayor of Hampstead with the intention of providing an access way to allow the building houses on the heath. His plans were, thankfully, rejected soundly and we are now blessed with a lovely viaduct and a lovely heath.

The day started as a blinder, so I was really looking forward to getting out and about.

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Fellow photographer, Steve had a day off work so we decided to a photo walk starting in Camden to look at some new street art and then hike up the hill to Hampstead Heath to look for the viaduct. I have posted about the street art here.

After checking out the art in Camden we walked up through Hampstead, almost to the top of the heath, I was surprised about hilly it was in Hampstead, having been here once before. I knew about Parliament Hill as El and I walked up it, but I was surprised that the rest of the park was also quite hilly. I was equally surprised to find that the top of the park was forested, my experience so far had been grassed fields with trees, but this part was almost forest like. I am now thinking about coming here for a trail run some time soon.

Using Google Maps we found the entrance into the park we were looking for, and soon in we found this little hut and an overgrown wall, which I was rather fascinated with. I know we were in the middle of London, but I do like to find man-made objects that are slowly being overtaken by nature.

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There are trails everywhere, so I did the highly unusual and asked an old couple we met on the way the direction of the viaduct, and I am glad I did as we never would have found it heading the way we were.

I was disappointed to find that we could not get close the base of the viaduct, as it is all fenced off, I was tempted to jump the fence at one point as I could see a decent shot going begging, but decided against it once we found the main viewing spot around the front. I only had the wide angle lens so things are a bit far away. The sun was out while we were here, so some nice reflections were had. I must say it is a very cool bit of London.

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After the viaduct we wandered into Hampstead for a bit of lunch and then continued up the hill to the top and Whitestone Pond with some wild grasses which I was quite taken by.

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We crossed the road and wandered around Golders Hill and the pergolas in Hill Gardens. I loved this sign at the entrance to the pergolas.

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The view from the top over the west heath, really did make me think I was not in London anymore.

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The small and unassuming Inverforth House from the pergolas.

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Steve and I had pretty much had enough of walking around by then so walked back down into Hampstead and found a convenient pub to sit down for a refreshing pint before we went our separate ways and I went home.

It was another good day out, I saw more bits of London I have not seen before and I really liked the viaduct. I was not overly excited with my photography today, I discarded a higher percentage than the ones I kept. I definitely seem to take better photos when I am out on my own.

I think I have found the place I want to visit when London is covered in snow !

No Future – a visit to Highgate Cemetery.

Saturday 10 August 2013 – Ham and High.

The gorgeous weather from earlier in the week continued into the weekend, with mixed cloudy and clear skies and a nice early autumn cool temperature providing the perfect excuse to go outside and do stuff. We have had Highgate Cemetery on the list of things to do for ages and today was the day we finally went and did it.

We took the train to Gospel Oak station and walked up from there, the further north west we ventured from Gospel Oak the posher the surrounding houses became and we were soon walking through the small village near the cemetery entrance and I was eyeing up places to visit for lunch later on… It was all jolly nice as the English would say.

The entrance to the cemetery is up a surprisingly long hill, and I only mean this by London standards, definitely not Auckland standards ! London is just so damn flat any hill is exciting. I may have found a new place to go and run as I really do miss hills, especially a long slow climb. Yes, it is weird…

Highgate Cemetery has two sides, east and west wing, the west wing is only accessible via a 12 pound guided tour so we decided to skip that and just view the east wing which was 4 pound and had the Karl Marx grave – which was its key attraction I guess. I will do a visit to the west wing another day, maybe when it is covered in snow.

The cemetery was initially started in 1839 and expanded over to the east side in 1860. Unlike the majority of cemeteries that are religious based this was purely a commercial entity – and open to all. It was closed in the 1970s when it was no longer profitable and lay in decay for many for years. It is now run by a trust, hence the fee. It is still open for people to be buried there, but there is not much space so I imagine it is not easy. Though there are some well known people here there are also a lot of ‘new’ gravestones of names I do not recognise at all. Some of the more interesting new residents are;

The wonderful author Douglas Adam, who passed away so young in 2001.

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And Malcolm McLaren.

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The artist Patrick Caufield had the best modern gravestone I have seen.

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As I mentioned earlier one of the big ‘attractions’ of Highgate is the grave site of Karl Marx, who has a large memorial on one of the big paths near the entrance.

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This is actually a new plot for Karl as further into the cemetery there is an old grave stone and I do wonder why he was moved ? Perhaps to allow for some of his family to be interred with him ? I really hope it wasn’t because the first site was not a big enough memorial.

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In the main the cemetery is very overgrown, some areas have been tidied and others are just buried in a tangled mass of weed, ivy and trees. This is one of the key reasons people come here and I would love to revisit in the snow for another look.

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We walked back down the hill, past some of the old houses here and then stopped for lunch in the village. The food was not cheap, but it was very very nice !

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We decided to walk go home via Hampstead Heath station so popped into the park near Parliament Hill, I definitely will try for a run here sometime soon, a very nice little hill and I can run on the grass as well ! It has a great view of the city of London and there were a lot of people on the top of the hill taking photos and picnicking, we stopped and I took a couple of photos as well.

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We carried on down through a small section of the heath, past the ponds and their background of large homes.

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Eventually we were out in Hampstead itself, we walked past St Johns Church, finally heading home after a wine in one of the local pubs.

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It was another really good day out 🙂