The day began at quarter to ten at St. Anne’s church in the leafy suburb of Highgate. A rather light ring of eight at 12cwt they proved an interesting start to the day, most notably because of their poor sound quality. According to Dove’s guide, all the bells had been cast in 1853 which would explain why they sounded more like rusty tin buckets. Apart from the sound they were an enjoyable ring and a source of much humour. Half ten came around and it was time for us to leave St. Anne’s and venture across the wilds of Hampstead heath! There was much to see across the heath, the most notable among them was the spectacular view over London from Parliament Hill.
Our trek brought us to Christ Church in Hampstead, to our horror the door to the tower was locked upon our arrival. Luckily Mariko had foreseen this eventuality and before a full scale riot broke out she whipped out some home made cookies and peace was restored. When we eventually found ourselves in the church we where led into a children’s play area with finger paintings on brightly coloured paper all over the walls. Before the UL could get messy with the paint, a ladder descended from above to which one by one we acceded to find ourselves not in heaven but the next best thing after a pub: a ringing chamber!
Another ring of eight Christ Church was noticeably heavier than the previous tower weighing in at 24cwt. The ringing here was enjoyable with the exception of one dodgy bell to which everyone tried their best to avoid – someone had to end up with it! Once we had finished ringing at we jumped upon the next overground train and made our way to Highbury & Islington. A bit of infamous UL faffing about took place upon arrive as to where to eat, but after much deliberation it was decide to eat at the nearest place to the station: ‘The famous cock tavern’. Food and drink was enjoyed by all before the third tower of the day beckoned us down the road.
In the face of one or two navigational issues on route we made it to St. Mary Magdalene’s for our scheduled time of half two. The tower was a pleasant ring of eight bells at 17cwt and having been well fed and watered some good ringing was struck (apparently)! Soon it was time for us to move onto our next tower but not before a brief detour. Passing a pub on route to St. Mary Magdalene’s Lizzy read ten shots for £7 in the window, excited by this prospect she proposed that we should stop in on our way to the fourth tower. Upon arrival, it was discovered that it was actually seven shots for £10 but this did not deter the UL. Shots where had and then we proceeded to St. James’ in Islington. On the way it was discovered that there is a letting agency named Hotblack Desiato! If you don’t get it you probably haven’t lived!
We arrived at St. James’ which was our final tower of the day at four. A very light ring of 6 weighing only 6cwt they provided a pleasing and trouble-free ring for the UL. The tower was a somewhat claustrophobic experience only allowing those ringing in the chamber while everyone else waited outside.
Finishing at quarter to five we proceeded to the King’s Head pub for well-deserved drinks before walking down towards Angel for dinner at 8. An all you can eat gourmet Chinese buffet was laid out before us that evening to which far too much was eaten by all! In keeping with true UL fashion the day ended in a pub not far from the Chinese which proved to be the perfect end to this year’s Freshers’ Tour.
By Harry Baulcombe