Just noticed that the protective fencing has just come down on the newest City building, on the Thames waterfront beside Cannon Street Station. The building is called Watermark Place, although a prominent wooden beam at the building’s main entrance has the inscription “One Angel Place” on it. Although the building is mainly glass and steel, it has some nice wooden and metal slatting on the riverside, to protect it from the sun. The massive wood beams are rather attractive. Some small wooden planks, possibly some offcuts of the wooden beams, have been turned into some benches. The combination of the rich wood colour, the trees and some well placed spotlights, make the front of the building look very attractive from the neighbouring London Bridge.
Monthly Archives: August 2009
[Updated] I somehow missed this last week (although it received very little publicity) – a new bridge across the Regent’s Canal has just been lifted into place. It’s a foot/cycle bridge, linking the middle of Mile End Park, by the climbing wall and the Palm Tree pub, to the new access road for the Suttons Wharf housing development in Meath Gardens. Once the landscaping works are finished and the bridge opens at the end of next month, this means there’s now an attractive and direct non-road route between Bethnal Green and Bow.
[Update - I'm not so sure now that it links to the access road (i.e. Meath Crescent) to the west, as this road is accessed by electronic gates. The path may swing northwards to go into Meath Gardens themselves, which makes it a less useful route. The ramp on the east side also swings north, again making it less useful for going east-west - oh well!]
Tower Hamlets Council have a webcam looking over the bridge, facing west to Suttons Wharf and the London-Stratford railway line. It seems to update about every minute until around 4pm. I’ve shamelessly pinched one of the photos from it below.
The new bridge is particularly exciting for me for a couple of reasons – firstly I’m hosting a street orienteering event in Bow in early September, and this bridge is slap-bang in the middle of the map. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like it will be ready for the event, which is a shame as the bridge will enhance route choice in the area. Secondly, it will also allow an extension of my Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and Mile End Park orienteering map – a test event was run on this map in 2008, and we are likely to have another race on this map next summer or in 2011. In an ideal world, the link path from the new bridge, under the railway bridge to the north end of the university campus would also be opened up – however I suspect this will remain closed for security reasons.
I’ve marked on my QMUL orienteering map the rough location of the bridge, in purple, and the access road to it.
A new cartography application for Mac OS X, Ortelius, by Mapdiva, has just appeared. I’ve not heard of it before, but from the screenshots on the site, it looks nice. I like especially how it handles the cartography of junctions properly where one road is a sequence of dashes, by moving the dash-sequence appropriately, but I would be interested to know if it can handle this at either end, by lengthening one of the dashes.
I’m particularly interested to know whether it would be possible to create ISSOM/ISOM orienteering maps with it. It might be possible. Currently there isn’t a compelling solution for the Mac – I’ve created the City of London and Queen Mary College orienteering maps with Adobe Illustrator and a plugin supplying the standard orienteering symbols, strokes and swatches, but it’s not a very “intelligent” solution and requires a lot of manual tweaking. This is one area where the PC solution, OCAD, (which has a near-monopoly) is considerably cleverer – but the application is a lot less attractive to work with. Ortelius is a lot cheaper than OCAD too.
I’m not sure what formats Ortelius imports and exports – hopefully it doesn’t just create the maps in Yet Another Proprietary Format. The technical documentation on the site is at the moment very scant.
Maybe I’ll be able to persuade my club to buy me a copy, so I can give it a full review.
Street-O runners who read this blog may be interested in the most recent posting on my research blog.
Photo by RachelH_ on Flickr.
Exciting news for the second City of London orienteering race that is happening on Saturday 12 September – I’ve just heard that we have been granted access to parts of the Temple complex for the race, with kind permission of the Inner and Middle Temples.
The Temple is a fascinating and beautiful part of the city of London – it’s full of cloisters, quadrangles and gardens. It is the legal heart of the city, with numerous barristers’ chambers in the old and attractive buildings, making up the Inner Temple and the Middle Temple, two of the four Inns of Court. Also situated in the complex is Temple Church, of Knights of the Templar (and Da Vinci Code) fame. Curiously, the area not legally part of either the City or Westminster, instead it acts as its own local authority.
I’m not the planner for this year’s race, although I am updating and extending the map. News of access to the Temple is a mixed blessing for me – it will undoubtedly be a superb area to run in and will enhance the race, but it also means I have my work cut out to have it properly mapped in time.
Anyway, if, due to permissions issues in Oxford and weather delays in Cambridge, you are longing for the kind of tight, intricate orienteering you get around Oxbridge colleges, then the City of London race this year could be the next best thing. (Note however that not all courses will be using the Temple area.)
Entries are filling up nicely now so get yours in well before the closing date!
Photo by SWH on Flickr.
I made it to London from John O’ Groats – “Joglon” – a couple of weeks ago, but there was a missing link in the journey. I took an unplanned recovery day on the Edinburgh-Morpeth leg.
Having been back up in Scotland for the last week for the Scottish 6 Days orienteering races, I had a chance yesterday to complete the link. After a largely dry week for the orienteering, the rain was back, but this was nothing new – it had rained on 10 of the 11 Joglon days.
I set off at 0830 with unmoveable target – a 1730 train from Morpeth back to Edinburgh. The back roads to Temple and along down to Galashiels were pleasant enough, a very green landscape through the pouring rain. At one point a deer leapt across the road just in front – if it had hit me or the bike it would have been game over.
At Galashiels it finally stopped raining. I passed through Melrose, around the Eildon Hills, through Newtown St Boswells and on to the dreaded A68, before stopping for lunch at the half-way point at Jedburgh. It was pleasantly warm but I got some funny looks from the locals in my cycling attire.
Back onto the A68, which was pretty quiet and not that bad really, up and up to Carter Bar, the Scottish-English border, at 420m altitude. Interestingly the Scottish Saltire flies on one side and the Northumberland Flag, rather than the St George’s Cross, on the other.
It started to rain again, so I quickly headed off down to Otterburn and Elsdon, before gradually descending on a very straight and quiet road to Morpeth. On the way I passed a rather bizarre hangman’s gallows, complete with wooden head, on a moor beside the road. This is known as “Winter’s Gibbit”.
Cycling time was just under 7 hours, with just an hour on breaks, for 155km.
I had an hour between trains at Alnmouth on the way back, so wandered around the tiny but extremely pretty village and bay.
Well, that was good.
My sixth Scottish 6 Days international orienteering competition in Perthshire/Tayside has just finished – around 3000 competitors and seven days of competition (including the supposed “rest” day). Six sunny days and just one day of persistent rain, unfortunately it was the most rugged day. Still, it meant the other days were appreciated even more.
Here’s some map extracts, showing my most outrageous mistakes and some nice bits of the areas:
Day 1 was a tough, physical day, this actually turned out to be my best result of the week. I was frustrated at not being able to run at any speed on the steep, slippery hillside. My only mistake of any significant size was stopping too early on the approach to No. 8 and searching in the wrong place, resulting in an unnecessary 25m climb.
My main mistake on Day 2 was running beside the wrong hill at the start, and getting confused in the jumble of MTB-tracks, none of which I thought were marked on the map. They, of course, were, and I was in the wrong place. Note the interestingly steep approach to the start flag.
Day 3 was the only rainy day, a shame as it was probably the grandest area. I was OK until I hit the open moorland, where I made the biggest mistake of my week, running over the big hill and coming off it too far to the north. The mistake was compounded by a parallel error once I had descended.
Tentsmuir (Day 4) was a joy to run in after the climbs of the previous days, and I felt I had a very strong time – of course, everyone else did well, too. It was a nice and sunny day – shame about all the ticks.
A pretty horrible mistake from No. 3 to 4 in a fantastically complex bit at the beginning of Day 5. I completely failed to see the second vertical blue line to the right, which was an obvious ditch and would have been useful to run blind to. Instead I personally inspected each small mound in the broken area to the south.
Much of the rest of Day 5 was on – or running between – big sand dunes. This was the most impressive complex, I got lucky here, and didn’t have major problems – the way to No. 14 was fixed quickly as I knew what I had done. Large numbers of other people were stopped and looking very lost – quite a few on my course lost ~10-12 minutes here.
Finally, a very physical and technical, but satisfying, end to the week. Only the marshes could be run along at good speed (e.g. 6-7), the heather on the open areas was pretty tough. I came out of No. 3 in the wrong direction but fixed it on the way. No. 6 was lower down than expected, it wasn’t just me that made this mistake though.
Best bits of the week were:
- Finishing generally much higher up the results than I had anticipated. Admittedly I was running Short Open, and had just finished an 800 mile bike ride. Generally my results got worse throughout the week, normally they get better, so I had started with a good base-line fitness this year.
- The variety of areas used – from proper Highland hillside to huge sand dunes.
- The weather – six sunny days out of seven!
- The spectacularly steep start on Day 2, with lines of starters towering above the pre-start area.
- Tentsmuir (Day 4) which was a lot better than I had been expecting, based on previous runs there.
- Cycling across the Tay Bridge.
- The SLOW tea-party at their mansion, with manic dog and large trampoline.
- The train journey from Edinburgh to Perth, along the Fife Coastline, was extremely beautiful.
- The view from the start on Day 6 – wow.
Worst bits of the week were:
- My travelling. Staying at home in Edinburgh, and travelling up each day, was a bit ambitious. I ended up staying at the much more convenient SLOW accommodation for the last couple of days.
- The several big (>5 minute) mistakes that I made, because it was never really intensely technical – i.e. the mistakes were all dumb ones.
- The Day 2 area – but only because I had been really looking forward to it. It felt a bit too “southern England”.
- Getting mobbed by ticks after Day 4′s run, both big black deer ticks and little brown sheep ticks. I found 36 of the pests crawling on my legs, including 6 biters.
- Going over on my ankles repeatedly on the steep and nasty descent down the gully at the end of Day 6, so hobbling to the finish and getting beaten almost at the finishing line by Peter M.
- There was no loch on the Loch Ordie map. A loch-side finish somewhere would have been lovely.
- My performance at table-tennis. Oh dear.
All in all probably the best Scottish 6 Days event I’ve been to.