On Easter Monday, a few people gathered near Moorgate Station at 10am and wondered if they were the victim of a cruel April Fool's prank. Over 100 people had RSVPed on Facebook for the Every Tube Map Line for Just One Stop Walk but only a handful showed up at the appointed time, and Team Londonist were nowhere to be seen.
But that's because it was a bank holiday and they were stuck on a slow bus, natch. The walk set off just ten minutes late, with a threat of snow in the air and amazement that yet again, our brilliant readers are game for any kind of random London amble we care to come up with.
The aim was to walk the route of the solution to the puzzle posed on Londonist a few weeks before. What soon became apparent was how when you apply an arbitrary route to the capital and stick to it, you're going to get a walk of wonderful contrasts. Here's how it shaped up:
First stop, Moorgate (Metropolitan) and through to Liverpool Street (change to Hammersmith) we tromped from the sleeping City out to Aldgate East (District), past colourful market stalls and over to one of the most unassuming stations on the network, Whitechapel (change to the Overground). Crossing over, down the side of the bright blue Royal London Hospital we traversed Watney Hopping Market and hit Shadwell (for DLR). Cable Street (did anyone take a picture of the mural?) took us back to the heart of the Square Mile and Bank (for the surprisingly open Waterloo and City line). We took Southwark Bridge across the Thames to Bankside and the jolly old Southbank and lunch after Waterloo (Bakerloo) at the Royal Festival Hall's Real Food Market.
Setting off again from Nelson Mandela's head we took the Jubilee bridge to Embankment (Circle), through Whitehall Gardens into the heart of political power, Westminster (Jubilee). From tourist central we took a turn into St James's Park, and an ideal pelican photo opportunity, with added heron. The sun was coming out, and by the time we were walking past the daffs in Green Park (change for Victoria line), the group felt really happy and posed for a group shot (thanks, McTumshie!). From bucolic splendour we dipped into posh Mayfair and up to the shopping madness at Oxford Circus (Central line). A Soho shortcut avoided the crowds and zipped us up to Tottenham Court Road (change to Northern) past the massive Crossrail construction site. Nodding to Centrepoint we cut through St Giles, skirting the lovely Phoenix Garden and out onto busy Charing Cross Road and Leicester Square (Piccadilly). From whence, it was a short trot past that bloke in high vis offering all and sundry directions, to the end of our line, Covent Garden, and the pub.
As promised (threatened?) Ben Norum turned up with a drinks cabinet on his back and attempted to mix appropriate "cocktails" at each stop. His close attention to the colours of the tube lines and masterly effort to mix lines at the tube stations where you could change to them resulted in some truly original concoctions. Advocaat, tomato soup, mouthwash, a Cypriot liqueur all played their part backed up by good old gin and vodka. Tottenham Court Road's bloody Mary (Central) mixed with Marmite (Northern) was surprisingly nice. Bank's mixture of all the lines should be a surefire recipe for being sick on the tube.
Many thanks to everyone who joined us on the walk *deep breath*: Nicolas, Sylvia, Roger, Ania, Valentina, Keiran, Andrew, Philip, Piero, Titia, Ann, Christa, Sarah Jane, Suelan, Erin, Matt, Alex, Kate, Eddie, Nic, Lin and especially Ben and John for making sure this daft walk happened. Apologies if I've missed anyone off the list or got names wrong - please leave me a comment or email me - it's really hard to remember 20+ people over a nine miler!
Photos by McTumshie, Zefrog, La Vale and Ann Gav. The shots in the gallery focus on the walkers - to see more of what we saw along the route, check out the walk Flickrpool.