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The Renegade Photowalk {Blogtacular 2016}


On Saturday I went to a writing workshop – and yet now I have no words.  Blogtacular was completely, overwhelmingly amazing and I’m still thinking my way through everything and trying to take it in.  I promise I’ll be back before too long with all the things that made it special (because it’s too good not to share), but for now I wanted to share a little snapshot in the form of what I fondly started to refer to as the renegade photowalk.

Having been on the photowalks on both previous Blogtaculars (a) I know just how much fun they are, (b) I really couldn’t complain about not making it onto any of this year’s official walks and (c) I was just a little bit gutted anyway.  So I did a crazy thing with a strong element of compulsive volunteer in it and that’s how I found myself briskly walking around Primrose Hill at 1.30 on Friday afternoon, just checking that the route I’d sussed out from 100 miles away actually worked.

It could have been an absolute disaster.  Right up until we got started my biggest fear was loosing people, and my second biggest fear was there being no one to loose.  I’d never actually been to Primrose Hill. Or even knew where it was until Kat sent me an Instagram link to pictures of Chalcot Square and with one sigh of “ooo pretty!” our fate was decided.

But the sun shone, the skies were mostly blue and mostly clear, and our little band of intrepid explorers met at Chalk Farm tube station ready and willing to become the Blogtacular Photowalk North.  There were fifteen of us in number, which turned out to be the perfect size both to be slightly silly without feeling too silly about it, and to really get the chance to chat to everyone else and get to know each other before the big day itself.  Most, if not all of the group were new to Blogtacular and the official sort of photowalks, and I think that it takes a certain type of confidence to decide to go unofficially photowalking around North London with someone who isn’t a big name blogger or photographer and is basically just a friendly looking stranger on the internet.  But it’s why I suspect everyone was really keen to throw themselves into it, and why we had such a blast.

If you’re after a nice gentle photowalk route, from Chalk Farm tube we headed over the railway bridge (snapping the very cool grafitti and persuading a very kind passerby to capture the first of our group shots), then wandered down Gloucester Avenue (past blue houses and purple alliums), around the corner onto Fitzroy Road, then right again onto Chalcot Road and up into Chalcot Square; home of a blue plaque for Sylvia Plath (currently covered by a building site), and a pink house with sunshine yellow front door and pom poms in the windows that we all fell in love with.

It was the perfect place to break out all of our umbrellas, as props and sunshades rather than because we actually needed them, and the Mary Poppins impersonations got even sillier in the best possible way.  There were houses in colours to match any outfit, a rainbow of front doors, and if we learnt nothing else, we all now know what colour we want to paint our own houses. Some day.

From Chalcot Square we headed down Chalcot Crescent (more pretty ice cream coloured houses with gorgeous window boxes) to Primrose Hill itself, and one steep climb later we were up on top of London, looking down to the zoo and out over to the city’s skyline.  It’s a beautiful spot, made even more dramatic by the slatey clouds building in the distance, and caught our breath and spent a bit of time drinking it all in before heading back to the station (with quick detour for swing off the lampposts (more umbrellas and Singing in the Rain style posing) and a group photo made possible by timer app, mobile tripod, and a small suitcase).

And only as we crossed back over the railway line did the first drops fall.

(All of these pictures are from the walk – and there are even more over on Instagram under #blogtacularphotowalknorth if you want to see pictures of me impersonating a graffiti yoga pose among others!)