King’s Cross to Birmingham via the Grand Union canal. Stage 5: Moor Park to Tring

This is the fifth stage of the King’s Cross to Birmingham expedition via the Grand Union Canal.

The map below shows the route of the expedition so far, Birmingham remains far off (well, a 100 miles or so) to the north.  The red line shows the hike completed prior to this stage, the purple line shows this stage.

Route map - Grand Union Canal hike, Moor Park to Tring
Route map – Grand Union Canal hike, Moor Park to Tring

It was cold, overcast and somewhat windy when I set-off again on the trail to Birmingham.

Grand Union Canal walk marker
Grand Union Canal walk marker

I reached the towpath at midday, after a mile and a half walk from Moor Park tube station.

Arriving this late in the day gave me just five hours to cover 17 miles. I would have to move swiftly if I wanted to reach Tring before darkness set in.

Narrowboats entering a lock
Narrowboats entering a lock

Thanks to the fast pace I’d set myself I didn’t have time to watch narrowboats move slowly through locks, something I enjoy doing usually.  I’ll have plenty of time for that later on in the year when hiking days stretch lazily out into the evening.

Water flowers
Water flowers

I saw a bunch of flowers scattered across the surface of the canal and wondered about the story behind their sad fate.

Narrowboat and bridge

The towpath was very muddy in places and nicely churned up by bicycles.  I had to step, and sometimes leap, over large puddles along the way.


Locks gates act as handy benches for lunchtime feasts.  I devoured a delicious Cornish pastie (made by my local butcher) and wolfed down a tub of bombay mix and nuts.  The tea I had made at home some four hours previously was still hot and very refreshing.

Canal dinosaur
Canal dinosaur

A nearby dinosaur kept a watch on me.

Moored narrowboats

The scenery wasn’t always lovely and this wasn’t helped by the grey day and the sound of cars speeding up and down the A41.  But at times the views were beautiful, breathtakingly so in places.

Towpath swans

Port of Berkhamsted
Port of Berkhamsted

I reached Berkhamsted at around 4pm, leaving me an hour to trudge the final 3 miles to Tring.  It was a bit of a forced march in the end, I really didn’t want to end up on a very muddy towpath after dark, especially as I hadn’t thought to bring a torch (daft!).

From what I could see in the dusk, the countryside looked a delight but I was not able to give it any proper attention.  I’ll have to save that for the next stage, when I’ll arrive much earlier in the day and enjoy a slower hike.

I arrived in Tring just after five and was sitting on a train heading to London 15 minutes later, by that time night had fallen.  From Euston I headed up to north London for a couple of pints of bitter and and an excellent Thai curry.  The perfect way to end a good day’s hiking.

8 thoughts on “King’s Cross to Birmingham via the Grand Union canal. Stage 5: Moor Park to Tring

  1. Enjoying your journey and accompanying photos. Pity you didn’t have enough time to enjoy your surroundings as much as you would like. Look forward to the next instalment.

  2. Beautiful path. I’ll add that the dinosaur looks very happy as well. Well looks more like a storytale’s dragon, guarding the princess.

  3. I came to canal walking on my LEJOG and was really surprised at just how enjoyable it was. Life seems to slow down, navigation is easy and the walking always good.
    I’m enjoying this series.

    1. You’re right about canals, easy to navigate, some fine countryside and all that great history. Glad you’re enjoying the series.

  4. Hi!
    In two weeks time I will be forty and with a friend of mine we’ve decided to run 4o miles for the day. The run will take us all along the canal from Tring to London, so the reverse of what you have done two years ago, round about the same time!
    We will be leaving at 4am, with nothing with us, except for some money and the phone.
    Do you have any suggestion for this adventure?
    Any advice from your experience will be appreciated! Thanks!

    1. Hi Claudia, I love the idea of your run!

      My main piece of advice is about the towpath. Large parts of it between Tring and Uxbridge are quite muddy from late autumn to early spring. After some rain, the earth can get churned up by cyclists leaving large puddles of water and mud that you’ll need to either run around or through. On one of my hikes I took a pair of wellies as I guessed that the going might be tough and was glad I did. So, I’d suggest you prepare yourself to get a bit wet and muddy, perhaps keep a pair of dry socks with you for some relief at the end of the run.

      Hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions.

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