DISPATCHES FROM THE K-LINE

WALKING THE LINE #14

COTEBROOK TO INCE, 01-06-24

 

Today’s stretch of the K-Line walk is planned to bring me as close to the southern bank of the Mersey as possible, before the line leaves dry land and crosses the river. I’ll be accompanied by Gary Aster, a man who has put in much research, driving and legwork to investigate the Liverpool end of the line.

 

Once Carolyn’s dropped me off down in Cotebrook, I head up and meet Gary outside the Fox & Barrel. He’s brought along a bag containing 23 conkers, gathered in Sefton Park on 23rd October last year, which he intends to drop off along the length of today’s walk. If all goes to plan, there will be a trail of fully grown horse chestnut trees stretching from Cotebrook to the Mersey in time for The KLF’s 2323 World Tour in a few centuries’ time. Planning for the future is the best that we can do.

 

Our journey begins by walking back down the hill into the village, then right at Utkinton Lane, past St John’s Church and up Stable Lane. ‘All manholes and chambers on this site are confined spaces’ states a warning sign on our right, which sounds obvious to us but we don’t work in an industry where one might need to know this. ‘Please refer to Confined Spaces Register’, the sign continues. I’d love to.

 

A little further on and we turn onto tree-lined Heaths Lane, Gary already finding promising spots to scatter the first of his conkers. To our right, Primrose Wood appears inviting in the morning sunshine. Heaths Lane joins Tirley Lane, from where the views north and west towards distant hills are beginning to open up. “Oh, I know where we are,” exclaims Gary, pointing past a house at a bend on the road, “I think there’s a café down there. Or there used to be.”

 

We turn right onto Waste Lane, where a pair of llamas are lying low in the neighbouring field, their long necks raised above the tall grass. With a pair of transmission masts to our left, the lane reaches the far end of the wood, where warning signs for Forest Operations (‘Please obey all signs and directions’) are printed in Welsh as well as English. We’re not that close to the border really but as we know by now, K-Line explorers can wander far and wide. Sure enough, we spot a sign for a café somewhere down in the woods too.

 

Further along the lane, more memories come back to Gary. “I used to drop my dad off to go fishing round here,” he says, although none of the ponds we spot appear very promising for such sport. When the road bends sharply north, a footpath takes us off to the left, steeply downhill towards Kelsall. “Glorious day!” we call out to a woman tending her back garden beside us. “Well it’s meant to rain later,” she warns us, continuing a conversation held throughout the centuries.

 

As things stand, Kelsall is basking in the new June sunlight. The footpath drops us at the top of Elizabeth Close, so we head down past the houses and across Quarry Lane. Another footpath leads us to Kings Wood Walk, left along Kelsborrow Way, down a path on the right past some allotments and out onto Chester Road.

 

Kelsall is riddled with short cuts and another path takes us beside St Philip’s Church and onto Earle’s Lane to reach Grub Lane. To the left of the Methodist Church, we take a moment to appreciate the war memorial, then follow Grub Lane quite steeply uphill. A Great Western Railway sign attached to a stone wall warns against trespassing ‘upon the Lines of the Railway of the Company’ but we can’t work out if it’s an original notice or a repositioned plaque. A woman watches us with amusement as Gary and I both take photos so we wave a friendly hello back.

 

At the top of Grub Lane we continue onto Broom’s Lane. There’s a footpath on the left which leads across a field and over the busy A54, although we don’t realise at first that this is the route we need to take and overshoot further onto the suburbs of Longley Avenue. Course corrected, we dodge the traffic on the A54 and into a field of sheep.

 

There’s a pair of walkers ahead of us, consulting their own map uncertainly as they head into the left hand corner of the field. As far as Gary and I are concerned, the worn-down path on the grass points to the right, and we find a fallen signpost beneath some trees that may or may not confirm this. Our track turns out to be a desire line made by the sheep themselves, leading only to a gap in a hedge too small for human beings to pass through. Heading back down to the corner of the field where the couple disappeared, we slip through a gate in the trees and emerge halfway up a steep hill dotted with sheep.

 

Ahead of us lie the remaining miles of the north Cheshire countryside, stretching out to the industrial south bank of the River Mersey. “Look,” points Gary, “There’s the Cathedral Of St James!” Sure enough, the cathedral’s great tower is silhouetted far off on the horizon, shimmering out of focus in the distant summer haze. Liverpool is at last in sight.

 

We pause for a while to marvel at the grand view, then stride cheerfully down to the trees at the bottom of the hill. Gary scatters another conker, far enough away from any likelihood of it getting eaten by a sheep. “You never see kids playing conkers nowadays,” he points out and I have to agree. Perhaps a KLF Re-enactment Society Konker Kompetition on the 23rd of October in a park near you could help revive the tradition.

 

A gap in the trees brings us onto Longley Lane and we head north. To the right of us is private woodland, with CCTV to keep trespassers out. We’re considering the necessity of this until, a little further down the lane, we see the woods also contain some pretty perilous outcrops of rock that could easily break the neck of a careless rambler.

 

We miss another trail to our left that should have helped us cut a corner but the lane is so green and shady we don’t mind. Bending to the west it becomes Brine’s Brow Lane, which we follow all the way along until it crosses the Delamere Road and becomes the curiously named Dark Ark Lane. The road takes us under the Chester to Stockport, Mid-Cheshire Line railway bridge, then down over a crossroads onto Manley Road.

 

Manley Village School sits virtually on top of the K-Line and we’re delighted to see it contains a mysterious obelisk in the school ground. Even though it’s a Saturday and nobody’s around, we decide against climbing over the hedge to investigate. Perhaps some Manley alumni could shed some light on its purpose. Beyond the school, a fire is burning in the trees above the road. The whole area feels strangely enchanted.

 

Over to our west, further grand views across to the Wirral and Wales open up as we follow Manley Road all the way to Alvanley. We pause to listen to the crackle of the power lines overhead, say hello to some tall horses in a field opposite, then enter the village. We walk past The White Lion pub and St John’s Church, then head left along Helsby Road to the junction with Primrose Lane.

 

There’s a bench on the green at the junction so we stop for our packed lunches and toss another conker. After comparing diets, it’s back onto Helsby Road until we reach the top of the town. Helsby Hill, already successfully tagged by Lisa Beanland back in April (see Field Report #8) rises above us on the right. We continue ahead, onto Alvanley Road and past Helsby Quarry Nature Reserve, until a footpath at a bend in the road takes us very steeply downhill into town.

 

Coming out the bottom end of The Gulley, we turn east along the main Chester Road. The rocky face of Helsby Hill leers over the pyramid-shaped roof of the modern Methodist Church in a striking K-Line alignment. Turning left down Lower Rake Lane, we cross bridges over the railway station and the M56 to reach the flat marshes of the river plain beyond.

 

We follow the bends of the lane, slowly bringing us up close to the swishing turbines of Frodsham Wind Farm. Standing under the blades as they plunge towards us induces delightful vertigo. We take the cycle path to the west, a sign next to the massive, deserted CF Fertilisers plant warning of TOXIC ALGAE in the surrounding ditches. I’ve already decided that the factory reminds me of the sinister industrial complex in Quatermass 2 and this just underlines the parallels.

 

On our right, the Protos Energy Recovery Facility is still under construction, the vast metal skeletons of its buildings towered over by busy cranes. The K-Line cuts straight through the middle of both the fertiliser plant and the Protos site, exiting the industrial area at its northern edge, inaccessible to the public. From there, the line crosses the mudflats and the waters of the River Mersey before reaching Liverpool on the opposite side. We’ll have to reconnect with its path on the northern bank of the river in a few weeks’ time.

 

Beyond the Protos plant, we pass through Goldfinch Meadows, an area of constructed wetlands aiming to support the local wildlife. The scores of housemartins swooping around are certainly enjoying themselves. We also disturb a pair of young lads on bikes, one of whom swears loudly in our direction before cycling away. Further down the trail, we come across them again and receive a cheerful greeting instead. Bless.

 

Gary manages to dispose of the last few conkers in his sandwich bag as the track leads us into Ince. We pass the red stone remains of medieval Ince Manor, breeze by The Duke Of Wellington pub and pause at the bridge over the Protos access road to photograph the tall towers of Stanlow Oil Refinery beyond. It’s just a few hundred yards further on to Ince & Elton railway station, where Carolyn’s already waiting to collect us. Liverpool, we’ll see you soon.

 

Stuart Huggett


A LETTER FOR THE OTHERMAN, 17-06-24


Hello,


I'm currently writing the conclusion to the Mauvais Travail Mu trilogy.


A number of publications from the DISPATCHES FROM THE K-LINE page will be read, in part or in full, in order to restore to the French-speaking public the accounts of the K-Line's explorers and the research of its observers.


My exchanges with THE CHAOS COORDINATOR have led me into vast fields of exploration. Some of these will be touched on, some will be skimmed over, some will be skirted around. For I am a sparrow. Understanding and popularizing Alan Driscoll's work, as well as that of Marvin Minsky, would take a lot of time. Time is running out for you and for us. I promised the Grand Mauvais to deliver episode 37 before July.


Now that we've established contact with you, THE WALKER, THE PROFESSOR and THE COORDINATOR OF CHAOS, Michel Tuttle and I will continue to follow your activities, and will gladly participate in them. I believe a fourth Mu-Mu Travail is already being written, and will be available for listening some time after the next Toxteth. I hope so.


I've been thinking about my travel plans on the K LINE. I don't know if the sheepfold I spotted at Pointe du Hourdel is still in business. In any case, my idea is to meet the sheep closest to this sheepfold, and take them on a trip.Then on to General Leclerc's "Château de Tailly-l'Arbre-à-Mouches", where he will be able to contemplate two tanks that are harmless because they are sonically disarmed.

Then an excursion from the Ruins of la Rente des Combes, which was once a fortified farm and where we will celebrate the dynasties of sheep that were eaten there, to the megalithic tombs of the Fighting Writers' Forest, where we will try to honour with our pen those who gave it its name.

Then we'll visit the Parc Naturel du Jura, in the peace and quiet, perhaps the day after a rave whose bass will come from a huge underground ring. And we'll ask the sheep to perform its own ritual.

After that we'll head for the snow-capped mountains on the French-Italian border. I'll carry the sheep if it has trouble getting up to the top. Then we'll have to start looking for a contract, which we'll have to sign in a room that's as white as possible. We'll have to choose the co-signatory carefully, and study all the terms of the contract carefully, because it will have to be honoured.

Finally, we'll go to the south of Corsica to Luri, where we'll visit the village sheepfold and eat at the A Pasturella restaurant... But my plans have changed here. How can I, after this trip with the sheep and all those wonderful moments spent with it, have it killed and eaten? I know myself, I get attached to living things. So I've decided to draw a triangle with the sheep and take it back to Brittany with me.

All this will require a certain amount of logistical work, especially getting the sheep to Corsica and back, which is not guaranteed. I'll look into the matter in due course.


Frank Magic, Mauvais Travail Podcast


WALKING THE K-LINE #13

CREWE TO COTEBROOK, 31-05-24

 

The day begins brightly back in Wistaston, in the leafy western suburbs of Crewe, with another visit to the Church Of St Mary The Virgin. I spot a pair of detailed laminated sheets on the church noticeboard inviting people to take up bell-ringing there (“Why not consider a new pastime for 2015…”) and grab a couple of photos for the benefit of recent campanology convert Carolyn, who’s just dropped me off.

 

Making my way up Church Lane, I pass the Memorial Hall then take a broad, easy footpath off to the left, between some widely spaced new housing and down to Wistaston Brook. The path leads me along to Wistaston Green Road, across the traffic and around the suburban bends of Buckley Avenue and Taylor Road, before depositing me back on the Green Road and up to Middlewich Road.

 

Thanks to a wooden sign outside the Rising Sun pub, I’m delighted to discover that Wistaston is ‘The Home of Joey the Swan’. Googling a story on the Nantwich News site later, it turns out that poor Joey was run over and killed by a milkfloat in the 1930s but I don’t suppose he’d be alive today even if he had avoided his fatal encounter with the dairy wagon. It’s perhaps a surprise his memory still lives on but it does give hope to all of us who wish to be remembered after death, I suppose.

 

From here, The K-Line cuts across country towards the Rookery Hall Hotel & Spa but there’s no direct public right of way in that direction. I do wander up a private road to check but end up outside some stables on the far side of the hotel grounds, with some very definite fencing in between. I say Hello to the horses anyway, retrace my steps and take the King’s Shilling Way cycle path and bridleway south-west in the direction of Nantwich instead.

 

Echoes of the First World War have haunted these K-Line walks all along its length and the King’s Shilling Way commemorates ‘the men who walked this way to volunteer for military service at the outbreak of the Great War.’ Other local heroes marked by life-size metal sculptures further down the path include a Roman Soldier, a Roundhead Soldier and a Railway Fireman, although the first two of these wouldn’t really have been heroes to everybody, once upon a time. We’ll take the fireman though.

 

The bridleway eventually meets a roundabout outside The Sacred Orchard pub and rather than join the heavy traffic along the bypass I detour into Nantwich itself. On one side of Middlewich Road, a large retail park is home to Sainsbury’s and B&M, while across the street is the green space of Barony Park. I’ve ended up only a few streets away from our Nantwich Airbnb and consider popping back in for another cup of tea but decide I’ve wasted enough time being sent away from the route of the K-Line already. I turn right up Barony Road until I reach the Nantwich Bypass again, then carry on across the roundabout and up Main Road in the direction of Rookery Hall.

 

It’s a long trudge on and off the verge up a busy country road but I finally end up at the hotel entrance and reconnect with the K-Line just outside Worleston village. A footpath takes me off to the left, through some trees then out across buttercup meadows until I reach Station Road in the marvellously named village of Aston Juxta Mondrum. I follow the road a little to the east, on the route of the Crewe & Nantwich Circular Walk. This walking trail leads me up a narrow street on the left that connects me with Dairy Lane. Across the road, another lane brings me into the countryside once more.

 

The Circular Walk trail takes me on a bridge over the North Wales Main Line, running from nearby Crewe all the way to Holyhead. I miss a gate on my left and find myself stumbling into the garden of a nearby cottage in full view of the lounge windows. Not understanding where I’ve gone wrong, I decide to quickly squeeze through the garden fence to where I can see the footpath running through the next field. The property owner come out the house, a little irritated, and points me back to the turning I’d missed. I apologise, getting the impression he’s had to do this before, and carry on hurriedly away down the trail.

 

A footbridge rises over the Shropshire Union Canal, beyond which the footpaths diverge in the middle of the next field. I take the left-hand route across farmland and, although initially clearly marked by wooden fencepost gaps in a succession of electric fences, I eventually lose the path, ending up stuck in a large field with seemingly only one entrance and no exit.

 

After a bit of wandering up and down, I give up on the route marked on my Ordnance Survey map, duck under the electric fence, hurry to the end of the next field, hop over a five-bar gate and end up on Winsford Road. As I take the road north into Cholmondeston, there ought to be a footpath on my left, cutting a corner across another field, but my OS map marks its starting point as running through the centre of a farmhouse. I decide not to commit any more acts of trespass today if I can help it and stick to the road.

 

There’s a fascinating looking old telephone exchange building just set back from the road in Cholmondeston, not much bigger than a garage, and I’m glad I’ve spotted it. Turning left down Calveley Green Lane, a footpath appears in the hedge on my right, following the course of Crowton Brook and the K-Line across further fields. An excited flock of long-tailed tits flit in and out of the hedgerow while pairs of pheasants take fright from the long grass.

 

The footpath leads me eventually onto Long Lane and it’s easiest to stick to the country lanes from now on. Heading westwards, I find myself trailing a couple of hi-vis clad young children on a pony ride, being led slowly and carefully down the road at walking pace by a young man who I take to be their father. They and I turn right onto Eaton Road and I let a couple of cautious cars crawl past before I allow myself to overtake them.

 

The road bends past the dead-end Towns Green turning, then north to a Y-shaped junction. I continue along the left-hand fork, down Hickhurst Lane, the sounds of cars roaring around the motor circuit at nearby Oulton Park carrying across the fields towards me, disturbing the biggest murder of crows I’ve ever seen.

 

Turning right onto Kings Lane, I soon come up against the brick perimeter wall of the racing circuit, following it into Rushton. I curve through the little village along Dogmore Lane, then turn left again down Brownhills Road. Crossing Beech Lane, Oulton Mill Lane offers an attractive view over the large Mill Pond and picnic area, before depositing me on Tarporley Road in the middle of Cotebrook.

 

I head up the hill to my right and have a quick half of bitter in the garden of the Fox & Barrel while I wait for Carolyn to catch up in the car. Her reward for her patience is a visit to the Gladstone Pottery Museum back down in Stoke-on-Trent (she knows it from The Great Pottery Showdown, I know it from Colin Baker-era Doctor Who) before returning to our Nantwich Airbnb, in readiness for the next day’s walk to the River Mersey. The end is near.

 

Stuart Huggett

FIELD REPORT FROM THE OTHER SIDE: BIRKENHEAD


Dear Otherman


A diversion today with a road trip in the direction of the K Line. A tangent indeed, as I wasn't expecting to return thee childe home for another few days, but home he went, in the direction of his emergency dental appointment

I grabbed my 'Tag Bag' and started up the car. 'Witchita Lineman' strikes up on the radio as we pull away from number 23, magnifying the magnetic pull of the K-Line as we head for the M62. 

Aproaching Wirral we discuss the fine points of synchronicity, meaningful coincidence and the 23 enigma his toothache begins to dull. 

(Well. What are the chances?) 

The sun is shining, traffic is flowing nicely and soon we are crossing the Cheshire stretch of the K-Line where surveyors Huggett and Aster had explored and tagged only a day before. 

The K-Line overlay on my Google map has glitched out and although it isn't physically visible on my phone, the freshly tagged line feels supercharged and tangible enough to know we are in it's gravity. 

I know the literal line is powering up around me and I can almost hear it crackling and makes the hairs stand up on my arms. My K-Line senses are tingling enough for me to let instincts be my guide and I set off on my own personal pilgrimage in a lateral direction. 


I drop the boy off and notice a newsagent sign 'JAAMS' close but no cigar, I go grab a much needed coffee. I'm buzzing with ideas of where to go as I return to the car and there parked next to it is the sign I needed to spur me on JAM reg plate. 

Back in the driving seat, I skidoo off towards Birkenhead and memory lane


I was born in Birkenhead and only left 2 years ago so there are lots of personal reasons to explore here but Wirral is also the birthplace of Jimmy Cauty and hopefully someone will pick up the gauntlet, seek it out and tag that soon. 

I drive in past the homes of the late Ron Gittins in Oxton. 


RON'S PLACE

53.384054,-3.051473

Ron's Place – #savingronsplace


The well known exentric and secretive outsider artist. His home so fantastically decorated his fantasy world of Egyptian interiors and enormous handbuilt cement lion and minotaur fireplaces caught the attention of the world when his life's work revealed itself after his death during lockdown. The building has been saved from the threat of magnolia paint and redevelopment and was recently given the honor of becoming the countrys first grade II example of outsider art. His home will be open to the public soon. 


I trundle past family homes belonging to Charlie and Andy Hardman, my brother and dad, both now in-mortar-lised in the ever growing Peoples Pyramid. 

I slow down as I pass dad's house, like a funeral courtege. I can see enough of the tiny quirky cottage to know it's still there, renovated behind the fence but the most notable change is the old satalitte dish that Andy painted a smiley face on so many years ago and became a bit of a local landmark, had been removed by the new owners now which was a shame. 


Onward to Birkenhead Town centre I park in the car park of 


THE PYRAMIDS SHOPPING CENTRE

53. 389152-3.027073

Birkenhead is well connected by Merseyrail follow the Wirral line from Liverpool or Chester to Birkenhead Central or Conway Park. In the centre of town too. 


It's a typical cut and paste mall with a food court and all the usual blah blah shops. I can hear a lone piper in the distance and make my way in the direction throwing some spare change into the hat of the piper who's now decided it's home time. 

I'm at the top of Grange Road . The ubiquitous McDonald's to my right, I resist the Big Mac and Fries as there is still a Wimpy bar in town and I will pass it later. 

My old workplace, the funeral directors, I haunted for 20 years is to my left. Behind which there still exists a local mecca for record collectors. 


SKELETON RECORDS

53.388446, -3031084 

https://www.britishrecordshoparchive.org/shops/skeleton-records

'Skelly's' has been an institution since it was opened in 1972  An old haunt of our Andy's and pretty much everyone in the area wanting to buy, sell or just hang about and whenever an obscure piece of music was requested from a bereaved family member for a funeral I would pop in and ask John if he had a copy I could borrow. He always did and always happily obliged. Bless you Mr Weaver. 

It's Sunday so it's closed so I drop my tag on the door and head back through town. 


Doubling back through the precinct again in the direction of the bus station I'm at the Wimpy. One of only 64 left in the country, a 'Bendy' (without the bun, obviously!) and chips would of been amazing right now but alas, it's Sunday, so it's closed. 


Beyond the bus station and at the mouth of the Mersey Tunnel sits the mighty 


FUTURE YARD

53.391383 -3. 018755

https://futureyard.org

Merseyrail Wirral line from Liverpool or Chester. Birkenhead Central / Conway Park / Hamilton Square stations are all a stones throw away. Bus station is over the road or by Mersey Ferry. Woodside ferry terminal is a 10-15 min walk away. 


The mighty Future Yard CIC opened its doors about 2 years ago and has firmly established itself as probably the the very best grassroots live music venues in the country but also became the stage for 2023's Peoples Day of the Dead mumufication service.  An unforgettable, life affirming and death positive day of love, art, music, connection and spirituality (your way) there is no doubt that something truly magical happens each 23rd of November thanks to Bill and Jimmy's incredible vision and the legions of Mu that support it. 


The bar is open and I'm greated by a friendly member of staff (I'm ashamed to say I didn't catch his name) and ask if it's OK to go and see the Ice Kream truck that Jimmy and Bill left in their beer garden and explain the mission I am on. He is more than happy to oblige and when I take the Gnome and his shopping trolley out of my bag he is waxing lyrical about how fantastic last year's event was and that he is looking forward to the next. I nip outside and I'm giddy with excitement seeing the place again and the iconic Ice kream van majestic in it's yellow and black livery is a joy to behold. 

There is a traffic cone, already positioned perfectly, dutifully waiting, for its notice of K-Line activity. I reposition it slightly and dress it with it's sign. 

I give the Ice Kream van a hug and the guy from Future Yard offers to go and find the keys so I can go inside. It's all a bit more than I was expecting, I don't feel worthy of the honour and I thank him but all I need is a safe place for the Gnome and he pledges to put him inside the van for safe keeping and I know he is in safe hands. 

I feel drunk on K-Line energy as I wobble off to my final destination. 


THE SWINGING ARM PUB

53.392285,-3.011099

This part of the journey was my own personal odyssey. The Swinging Arm was my first bar job in my late 20s, and I'm heading back to see a couple of my mates and there's a Sunday matinee of local punk bands, It's just the tonic this homesick traveller needed before my drive home. 

It is next to the landing stage of the Mersey Ferry and has the perfect position overlooking the familiar Liverpool skyline. It's a residential area and one of the neighbours in the red brick terrace over the road has a group of Halloween skeletons sitting on chairs in front of the house. Reminiscent of Gunther Von Hagen's plastinated poker playing cadavers in the Bond film 'Casino Royal' There have been themes and costume changes over the years but at the moment they are dressed as the Fab Four. 

I photograph the lads before returning to my car and find the latest reg plate message on the car parked next to me is P55 0FF, calling an end to my lateral spur of the K-Line circuit, for now. 

Next time I return will be at the manhole cover on 22nd June with the K-Line walkers and engineers. 

Join us and help to keep the power flowing and maintainance of the 'Grid' for the next 300 years.


Lisa Beanland


WALKING THE LINE #12

BALDWIN'S GATE TO CREWE, 27-05-24

 

Despite the warmth of our newly built Airbnb in Stafford over this Bank Holiday weekend, my walking boots have stubbornly failed to dry out overnight, so it’s a squelchy, slightly stinky start to the day when I part ways with Carolyn back in Baldwin’s Gate. The sun’s out, though, and the ground is dry.

 

I start off taking the A53 a short distance east in the direction of Whitmore, then turn left onto Snape Hall Road, following a line of luxurious country houses along the edge of Whitmore Heath. Even the woods here have Balfour Beatty signs warning travellers away, another leftover legacy of the abandoned northern stretch of the HS2 rail project, I assume.

 

A herd of brown cows are blocking the lane in the distance but just before I reach them, a footpath breaks away to the left. Part of the herd are still in the field I’m entering and despite keeping my distance and walking slowly past, they suddenly take fright. I’m very fortunate that they decide to run uphill away from me, or this leg of the K-Line adventure could have come to a nasty, premature end less than a mile in. One poor dairy cow does run in the opposite direction to her friends but steers clear of me and when I look back I’m reassured little Daisy has found her way back to the herd.

 

A few fields further on, the path arrives at a junction where a hidden and presumably abandoned stretch of railway line crosses the West Coast Mainline into Crewe. I walk under a bridge carrying the old line then turn right, up the edge of a field beside Hey Sprink woods. At the top, the path turns left, onto a lane that leads between some farm buildings and beyond towards a low hill dotted with dozens of black and white cattle.

 

A man is approaching from further down the lane, I don’t know if he’s the farmer or just a local hiker. I’m assuming my route should take me off the lane and over the fields and I signal my intentions by pointing away from the track. He catches me up, checks where I want to go (Madeley) and points out that the footpath simply follows the lane all the way to the village.

 

The road opens up to become Netherset Hey Lane, sure enough taking me to the edge of Madeley. A couple of turns down Castle Lane and The Holborn brings me onto the Poolside road, named after the large and well-tended pond running through in the centre of the village, fed by the River Lea. I take a few minutes to walk part of the way around the pond edge, inadvertently annoying a nesting Canada goose, who hisses at me quite forcefully. Beside the road, a large black metal sculpture of a heron stands guard opposite The Offley Arms.

 

Beyond the pond, I take a left up Furnace Lane and a little way along it a footpath branches off on the right into a grassy field. Part of the way across, the path forks, identified by a pair of arrows on a wooden stile now detached from any hedge or fence. I bear left and upon reaching the top of the field an enormous vista across the open countryside appears beyond, stretching all the way to the distant hills of the Welsh borders to the west and the Cheshire Sandstone Hills to the north.

 

I descend through a beautiful, buttercup-filled field and enter soon Cheshire itself at another stile well-hidden in a dip of trees at the bottom. Across another field, I climb over onto the A531 Main Road into Wrinehill. Turning left at the Crown Inn, Den Lane takes me off north west in parallel to the K-Line.

 

I cross a bridge over another bit of Balfour Beatty-claimed stretch of the railway line, then follow Den Lane even further, past farmers herding their cows from shed to pasture, as groups of cyclists pedal past on their morning routine.

 

After a good few miles, the South Cheshire Way walking trail crosses the lane and I take it to my right, northwards. There are plenty of footpaths over the recently mown fields here but I locate the right route, across the acres of grass, over Cobbs Lane and on towards Hough.

 

To the southwest, the isolated tower of the demolished St Chad’s Church in nearby Wybunbury stands like a sentinel across the fields. On my right, on top of the K-Line, a broken sign nailed to a tree on the edge of the Hough Hall estate warns:

 

__WARE OF _NAKES

 

I don’t think you need to be a crossword expert to heed its warning. I carry on through the field with a rather more cautious step, just in case.

 

At a conjunction of five footpaths, I continue straight on, then right at another junction of paths, past a paddock of horses and onto Newcastle Road at the entrance to Shavington-cum-Gresty. It’s a simple matter of following the closest streets to the K-Line from here, first right onto Crewe Road, then left down Main Road.

 

In quick succession I pass little St Mark’s Church, the village hall, a Methodist chapel and an abandoned Victoria school building most recently used as Shavington Youth Centre but now closed down, its windows broken. I walk past Bargain Booze then right onto Rope Lane beside the boarded up old Co-op, now superseded by a bigger Co-op further down the road beside The Vine Inn.

 

A bridge takes Rope Lane over the Shavington Bypass. Warning signs on both sides of the bridge state that the road is closed to traffic but the cones have all been shoved aside and cars are driving back and forth regardless. Just before the road crosses the Crewe to Shrewsbury railway line, someone has had a bad day and smashed the bus shelter windows on both sides of the street.

 

I continue on, into the leafy parish of Rope itself, then enter Wistaston, on the edge of Crewe. Reaching a road junction, I turn left onto Crewe Road, past a long line of cars backed up by roadworks traffic lights. I cut up Princess Drive then take a secretive footpath between the back gardens on my left, down onto Windsor Road until it reaches Church Lane.

 

Across the street is the Church Of St Mary The Virgin, sitting pretty on the K-Line and a suitable spot to end today’s walk. I take a short trip around the churchyard, then cut back to take the two-mile stretch of the A534 into the Crewe town centre.

 

This final stretch of today’s expedition is significant because, having come up from London, through the Home Counties and the West Midlands, Crewe is the first place I’ve visited on this walk that is namechecked in The Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu’s ‘It’s Grim Up North’. I can satisfy myself that I’ve finally Hit The North.

 

As I’ve only ever occasionally been through Crewe on long train journeys before, it feels right to meet Carolyn outside the railway station. We pay our respects to Crewe Alexandra’s Mornflake Stadium, get into the car and depart.

 

Stuart Huggett




WALKING THE LINE #11

MILFORD TO BALDWIN'S GATE, 26-05-24

 

It’s grey and it’s raining when Carolyn gives me a lift back to the Milford Barley Mow on Sunday morning. The weather forecast for the day ahead is mixed, so I’m hoping today won’t be a complete washout. I head away from the pub and its neighbour, the UK’s smallest Wimpy, east along The Green, then take a left up Holdiford Road, over the River Sow and down onto the Staffordshire And Worcestershire Canal at Tixall Bridge.

 

Following the canal path around the back of Milford, I cross an aqueduct over the river then stay close to the Trent Valley railway line into Stafford. Geese are teaching their goslings to swim, moorhens are clucking about on the water and narrowboats are chugging past.

 

I step back up onto the road at Baswick Lane, which takes me over the Sow again and up the eastern edge of Stafford. Beyond a crossroads, the road becomes Blackheath Lane, passing the cemetery on the left, then Staffordshire University’s Centre For Health Innovation on the path of the K-Line on the right. At a roundabout I turn left down Weston Road, before the next roundabout takes me right onto the A513 Beaconside.

 

Accompanied by dozens of passing joggers, Beaconside curves around the town border, past more university and Ministry of Defence buildings and barracks. I turn right when I reach Sandon Road, then take the footpath on the left up a lane, past the Army Recruitment headquarters and into the countryside.

 

When the lane turns sharp left, I carry on straight up a footpath, across the damp fields until I reach the Stone Circles Challenge walking trail. I’m slightly disappointed that this trail doesn’t actually contain any stone circles but is more of a misleadingly named circular walk centred on the town of Stone.

 

I start following the trail clockwise, over wet fields earmarked for further HS2 development. Dodging the intermittent rain showers as best I can, the path bends right to meet Marston Lane. A short way towards Marston village, the trail cuts a corner through a lane so high with overgrown, damp grasses that by the time I emerge a few dozen yards later my boots and socks are already soaked right through.

 

Crossing Yarlet Lane, the trail goes behind the tiny Church Of St Leonards, where the graveyard is currently being gently mown, and out into some boggy pastureland. Herds of cows watch me quizzically as I schlep through the mud, dairy slurry starting to pool with the rainwater around my feet. It really begins to pour down heavily now and I lose my sense of direction as I’m battling to read my Ordnance Survey map in the storm.

 

I follow a long narrow field uphill on one side and downhill on the other, failing to find either a way out or where the signs for the Stone Circles Trail have got to. The rain clears and I try following various field borders and hedgerows with no success, always coming up against impenetrable thickets of bushes or hidden ditches. I do spot a lone lapwing crying in the grey sky above me, however, the first one I’ve seen in many years.

 

Eventually I think I’ve got onto the right lane, only to find that the farm it leads me up to is definitely a private one, with tall, solid locked metal gates and no way out. I can hear traffic on the other side of the farm’s high border fence of trees so I decide to dive through before I’m spotted, emerging on the verge of the A34 Stone Road a fair distance south of where I thought I was heading.

 

I walk up busy Stone Road, then take Whitgreave Lane to the west. The Stone Circles trail rejoins the lane here, and a weasel scampers across the grass verge on my left as I head down through Whitgreave village, before the lane crosses the M6. A short distance up the motorway to my north are the southbound Stafford Services, tagged by both A Young Man On Facebook (as part of his Line Of Shite, see Field Report #6) and K-Line scholar Gary Aster (as mentioned in his A Letter For The Otherman #1).

 

The Stone Circles Challenge path, however, takes me further west, past an old fashioned gypsy caravan, across pretty fields of gentle streams and flocks of jumpy sheep. I reach Worston Lane in Shallowford, beside the 17th century cottage turned museum of Izaak Walton, author of ‘The Compleat Angler’. There’s little time for me to pause and reflect on Walton’s fondness for fishing in the rivers of life, so I continue up the lane, over the West Coast Main Line railway, out of Shallowford and up Station Road into Norton Bridge.

 

Studying my OS map, I realise I could totally cheat at this point and catch a train from Norton Bridge into Crewe. As it happens, Norton Bridge railway station has closed down since my map was published and the nearby Railway Inn is now the Izaak Walton Brewhouse. Not that I would really have given up on the K-Line walk this close to its conclusion, of course.

 

Further up Station Road, I cut a corner by turning right onto Smithys Lane, back over the railway line and onto the main road again. Adding to the out of date qualities of my paper map, a short stretch of the B5026 has been built parallel to my route since it last went to print. It only means one extra roundabout to navigate before I follow the road’s long north-westerly curve, until the Stone Circles Challenge once again crosses my path, taking me off to the right, over a fallen tree, across a field and a long-gone railway line and into the suburban edge of Yarnfield.

 

Ash Lane takes me through the houses and onto Yarnfield Lane through the centre of the village. After passing the village hall I turn left and follow the curves of High Lows Lane along the Stone Circles route, out past the houses and up a long, leafy lane until I emerge onto fields of new crops and meadows full of buttercups.

 

Despite distant thunder and the occasional light shower, it’s an easy if at times wet walk, well-signposted across the fields until it reaches the woods surrounding Hall Lane. A dog-walking couple ask me where the path I’ve just come up from leads to and I’m able to reassure them that it’s a direct but marshy walk to their intended Yarnfield destination. Their little dog will definitely get his short legs wet, I’m sure.

 

Hall Lane takes me into Swynnerton, emerging on the village’s Main Street beside the grand 18th century Swynnerton Hall and the adjacent churches of Our Lady Of The Assumption and St Mary’s. I turn onto Early Lane next to the Fitzherbert Arms pub, pass groups of dog walkers starting and finishing their exercises, and continue down a narrow footpath until it opens out to long-distance views across the countryside.

 

Far away to the south west I can clearly make out the large hump of The Wrekin. Thunderclouds are gathering over Shropshire, sending brilliant bolts of lightning down to earth around the mighty hill. I hope they’re not heading my way. They are.

 

More showers appear as I follow the straight footpath down across the fields towards the A519. Across the road, I take another path along the hedge line, joining the top of a lane beside some noisy dog kennels and following it down onto Biddles Lane. On my right, where the lane joins the A51, sits the impressive Hatton Pumping Station. An excellent piece of late 19th century architecture, these days it contains private housing, its inhabitants presumable unaware that they’re living on the K-Line too. I’m not sure if this adds to or detracts from the value of the property.

 

Just as I’m pondering the majesty of Victorian industrial buildings, the rainstorm really hits. There’s nowhere to take shelter so I just catch a few bedraggled snapshots and move on, up the main road in parallel to the railway line once more. As the rain eases, road, rail and K-Line all cross paths at Stableford Bridge, beyond which a footpath off Bent Lane takes me further north, up and over the railway tracks, curving slowly north-west towards Baldwin’s Gate, my intended destination for the day.

 

As it happens, I mistakenly veer off course to the left a short distance from Baldwin’s Gate and end up entering the village via the back roads of Chorlton Moss and Moss Lane. It only adds a few minutes to the walk and I soon find the Blockhouse At The Sheet Anchor steakhouse on the main road. Grabbing a pint of Titanic, I sit as far away from the good people of Baldwin’s Gate as possible, lest my muddy, rain-soaked jeans and slurry-filled boots put them off their burgers.

 

It’s not all glamorous, this exploring lark.

 

Stuart Huggett


LA LIGNE - K

News of THE K-LINE has krossed The Channel and Frank Magic has got involved. He has been put in touch with THE SKAREKROWS and the results can be heard on a forthcoming podcast. The podcast will be part of a series exploring all things Mu. The first two parts can be found below.

The intial results of Frank's back-and-forth with one of THE SKAREKROWS has been submitted for inclusion, and who are we to refuse...


Hello,


I have konstructive exchanges with THE SKAREKROWS. Particularly with THE CHAOS COORDINATOR. I look forward to hearing from THE PROFESSOR about Linea Insidiator. I've read some of THE WALKER's travelogues, I've found some answers in them, I've seen in them the outline of a bright future.


My discussions with THE CHAOS COORDINATOR led me to the EKUATOR. I explored the French part of THE K-LINE's trajectory. It's a long way from where I live, in Brittany. I'd like to travel to the places I've identified, but I won't be able to before 2025. For the time being, I can only do my own research on the Internet and pass on the information I find. That's why I'm sharing with you here (and not on the K-LINE FIELD REPORTS form) the few points of interest I've identified. Depending on your feedback, I'll be able to provide you with precise information for each location: LO-KATION, GPS, DISTANCE FROM K-LINE... I don't know what ‘K-LINE FIELD REPORT’ means, but I assume it involves investigating on site.


A tiny sheepfold located close to THE K-LINE entry point in the north of France.

The ‘Château de Tailly-l'Arbre-à-Mouches’, which belongs to the family of General Leclerc, a professional of tanks. 

The ruins of a fortified farmhouse, a landmark for an excursion in search of megalithic tombs in the Fighting Writers' Forest. 

The Jura department, with its natural park. And CERN, not far away. 

Snow-capped mountains near the point where the French K-LINE crosses the Italian border. The end of a journey in search of a room? 

The last exit point for THE K-LINE in the south of France, in Corsica. The meat at the A Pasturella restaurant comes from the village sheepfold. 

With a view to a trip along THE K-LINE in French territory, I'm thinking of taking a live sheep on board at the northern entry point, near the Pointe du Hourdel, and eating it at the last exit point to the south, at Luri.

This trip would symbolically allow me to make up for the mess that was the dead sheep's gift to the guests of the Brit Awards in 1992, because despite the injunction addressed to them by ‘I died for you - Bon appétit’, its meat was not consumed. It would also be an unexpected journey for the sheep.


I'm Staying On The Line.


Frank MAGIC

WALKING THE LINE #10

DRAYTON BASSETT TO MILFORD, 25-05-24


After a night’s sleep in one of Staffordshire’s Holiday Inns, sited on the K-Line at the junction of the A5 and the Birmingham Road into Lichfield, Carolyn drops me off early outside St Peter’s Church in Drayton Bassett. Before leaving the village in pursuit of the K-Line, I stop off to sneak a look at Julian Cope’s old house in Rectory Close, site of many mid-80s misadventures recounted in his autobiography ‘Repossessed’.

 

One quick mooch around the playing fields later, I get back onto Drayton Lane and follow it westwards away from the village. The first swallows of summer are up on the telegraph wires and greenfinches and goldfinches are twittering and fluttering back and forth in the hedges and gardens.

 

At the far end of the lane, construction work appears to be well underway on the HS2 rail link, although there’s no vehicles or workers on the ground today. The fields are dug up and there are dozens of red and white marker posts, traffic cones and Balfour Beatty warning notices on both sides of the road.

 

I turn left down Sutton Lane then quickly right onto Bagley Lane, following the K-Line downhill, past some very grand farm properties. As the lane turns right, I turn left, through another farm, over fields swaying with green crops and onto Brockhurst Lane. A few hundred yards up the hill, another footpath beside another farm takes me across a rolling, fallow field next to a lush, tempting wood.

 

Entering the line of trees at the far side of the field, a footpath takes me north, with the wood to my right and warning signs for a dangerous deep quarry off to my left. I saw enough Public Information Films as a kid to decide against exploring it, sticking to the flowery lane through the trees until I reach the edge of Weeford village.

 

Taking the excellently named Hungry Lane west, I follow some morning cyclists onto a tarmac path that leads to a bridge over the A38 and onto Little Hay Lane. The road goes beneath the M6 Toll before a footpath takes me across the Black Brook stream and up past more picturesque farm houses in the direction of the A5.

 

The route marked on my Ordnance Survey map (last revised 2012) seems to have vanished but an overgrown footpath now skirts the border of the M6 Toll junction clockwise. I pick my way carefully along, flushing out a white-tailed deer. John Higgs’ book ‘Watling Street’ recounts a curious story from The Guardian about the ghosts of a Roman legion marching across the M6 here. I’m on the lookout but I see nothing as a bridge takes me over the motorway and onto Watling Street itself, exactly where The K-Line crosses the ancient road.

 

I dodge the busy morning traffic and manage to spot a small footpath sign a little way along, almost buried by a tall hedge. The entrance to the path is totally overgrown and I have to force may way through into the field beyond. The presence of the footpaths on my map vanish once again as I head across the farmland in the direction of what should be Swinfen Lane.

 

Unsure of my course, I spot a couple of fellow walkers coming towards me along the line of a hedgerow to the east. Assuming they’re on the right track, I head towards them. “I wouldn’t carry on the way we’ve just come,” the older gentleman says. “It’s completely overgrown down there,” adds his companion, “And I’m really regretting wearing these shorts.”

 

They introduce themselves as father and son, on a day’s wandering around the outskirts of Lichfield in preparation for the Dutch long-distance walking challenge, the Vierdaagse. They’re in search of a footpath heading west, I’m trying to go north. Just as we part we spot and wave to another couple of walkers, trudging over the field in a vaguely southerly direction. It’s slightly reassuring that none of us know where we’re going.

 

I strike out on my own towards the field edge in the distance but instead of crossing Swinfen Lane (which, as far as I can make out, no longer exists) I blunder through the vegetation onto a stretch of the (pre-A38) Old London Road. It’s only a country lane itself now and I follow it down to a junction, finding a footpath on the left fork that brings me up against the A5148.

 

Just as I’m trying to find the way over the dual carriageway, the father and son I met earlier reappear, laughing at my continuing inability to find my way. They take me up the correct path, over a footbridge and into the overgrown fields beyond. Despite their local knowledge and apps and my OS map (“I’ve not seen anyone using a paper map in years!” the dad exclaims) the three of us lose all sense of the route as soon as we enter the waist-high expanse of grasses, shrubs and nettles.

 

Giving up on any marked course, we elect to struggle and fight our way through the vegetation, cursing the cuts and stings and grappling with bootlaces that undo themselves at first contact with any sticky creeper or thorny twig. Eventually we spot a sign on a post in the distance, head towards it and burst onto the Birmingham Road just north of the Holiday Inn. I bid them farewell and good luck in the Netherlands and sit down for an apple while they continue on their way.

 

Directly opposite, a short stretch of old Watling Street, isolated from the section subsumed by the A5, heads into the former Roman town of Letocetum, adjacent to the present day village of Wall. I don’t go that far along, instead turning down a lane on the right. A couple of young lads are playing with a tractor and they say a cheerful good morning as I pass by, and under the Cross-City, Lichfield to Bromsgrove railway line beyond.

 

The track turns into Wall Lane, crossing over another single track railway line along the course of an abandoned stretch of the Wyrley And Essington Canal. The road turns into Fosseway Lane, then I cross onto a short cycle path as it reaches the Walsall Road at Pipehill. The next footpath over the fields beyond Lichfield Road is clearly marked with a line of yellow crops standing out vividly from the deep green of their surroundings. In the distance, I just spot my two walking companions taking a different route to the right, back in the direction of Lichfield.

 

The yellow line of plants takes me onto a footpath behind some houses at the top of Woodhouses Lane. I carry on down the road, turning right when it reaches St Matthews Road. I find Pipe Hall Farm, another Woodland Trust attraction which the K-Line cuts right through, but I’m keen to make up on some of the time I lost blundering around the fields beside Watling Street earlier, so I press on, planning to stick to the country roads for a while.

 

I take a left along Hobstone Hill Lane, striding confidently along in the sunshine, then turn right at the far end, up Shute Hill into the pretty village of Chorley. I pass The Malt Shovel pub on the village green and carry on out down Lodge Lane, sticking to the right as it becomes Tithe Barn Lane.

 

Passing through Goosemoor Green, I head left onto Brierty Hill Lane, cresting the high ground and descending a beautiful winding route down past white-painted cottages into a valley and steeply up the other side to Gentleshaw. Continuing along Chapel Lane into the village proper, I turn right at the junction between Christ Church and the primary school. Just across the street, on the corner of Buds Road, I reach Cannock Chase, a vast forested Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty and home of numerous sightings of big cats, UFOs and other uncanny phenomena over time.

 

The Heart Of England Way walking trail that Stephen and I were following on our previous expedition (see Walking The Line #9) finally aligns itself with my route again here and I follow it up towards the edge of the woods, then left past the octagonal towers of the South Staffordshire Waterworks, along Holly Hill Road and into the trees opposite the Park Gate Inn.

 

Much of Cannock Chase was explored and tagged on behalf of The KLFRS by Sheffield Arts Lab back in March, highlighting the unsolved mystery of the Shugborough Inscription along the way. I’m not planning on disappearing down such a Holy Grail wormhole today, I’m only hoping to navigate my way across the forest without getting lost.

 

I pass beneath the Castle Ring hill fort, sat up here on high since the Iron Age, then descend the Heart Of England way into the breath-taking beauty of Cannock Chase’s forested valleys. The rocky track leads me downhill, past dog walkers and hikers, across a valley floor crossed by fords and streams, then up the other side.

 

I cross Rugeley Road then take the path alongside the Wandon camping site. Cyclists, alone, in pairs and in groups, zoom past in all directions, chatting about health and work and nodding hello as they whistle by. I can’t find the path I’m looking for off Marquis Drive because as soon as I step off the main track all I can see are masses of off-grid cycle cuts and desire lines, so I stick with the well-signposted Heart Of England way again, across Hednesford Road and up the curving bridge above the railway line that runs through the Chase from Rugeley down to Birmingham.

 

I keep on the busy Marquis Drive path westwards where dozens of families are out at play, all the way along past picnic areas and car parks to Brindley Road. I head across and take the footpath on the right, a grid of straight cycle paths forming regular squares through the trees on one side and a large campsite on the other. At the far end, I reach Rifle Range Corner, heading up to where the shooting begins but veering away towards the Marquis Drive route again rather than risk entering what my OS map has marked out as a DANGER AREA.

 

Next I come to an OS Trig Point on a high piece of open land. A lone cyclist stops for a breather, then disappears into the trees beyond, but she’s the last rider I see for ages as I continue on into a more wild and deserted part of the Chase. I pass another, older rifle range, the remains of one dating from the First World War, then descend Marquis Drive into Heywood Slade.

 

This long, rocky path down through the valley is overlaid onto the K-Line and the silver birch trees to my right stand out burnt and blackened from fire-ravaged shrub land. It’s quite eerie and silent. I glance at my map and, just as I notice the curious mention of Dick Slee’s Cave, I step on a rock that spins instantly out from under my feet, sending me tumbling headlong downhill.

 

The weight of my backpack flings me forward and I throw out an arm to stop my head hitting the ground first, bouncing and rolling as I fall. “I’M OK!” I yell, although there’s nobody there to hear me. “I’m ok. I’m ok.” My right hand and arm start to bruise and I can feel that some of the rocks have really impacted into my thigh. I don’t know if my fall is caused by the energy of the K-Line, the ghost of the hermit Dick Slee, some other uncanny phenomena of Cannock Chase or simply my own clumsiness and distraction but it bloody hurts.

 

I pick myself up and carry on more warily downhill. Fortunately, at the bottom of the valley I find the welcome sight of a bunch of families balancing their way across the stepping stones laid across Sher Brook. I wait my turn while the various kids trot back and forth across the stones. I’m in no hurry, I’ve only just recovered from failing to walk along dry ground, let alone wet rocks.

 

Once across the brook, I take the broad Staffordshire Way trail as it winds through the trees, until I reach an intersection of footpaths. The narrow one straight in front of me, on the true K-Line course, ascends a very steep hill but this is the one I decide to take, scrambling up until I reach the heathland at the top. From here it’s just a simple walk downhill, past ferns and ponds until I reach a car park on Brocton Road at the northern edge of the Chase. I walk into Milford, past the ice cream van on the common, send a text to Carolyn and grab a pint in the Barley Mow. The long day’s walk is done and I’ve only sustained minor injuries along the way.


Stuart Huggett


WALKING THE LINE #9

CORLEY ASH TO DRAYTON BASSETT, 18-05-24

 

We’re over halfway through our walk along the K-Line now, counting down the distance to Liverpool with every step as London recedes further behind. I’ve met up with Stephen in Coventry again for today’s stretch, which starts with us catching an Uber out to the former Murco garage at Corley Ash. The petrol pumps are still in place but there’s no other signs of life this morning.

 

We head north up the Tamworth Road, the K-Line just to our right, as the rows of spacious houses blend into neighbouring Fillongley. It’s an overcast morning but the village has its charms, a red telephone box outside The Manor House pub on one side of the street, the squat red church of St Mary And All Saints on the other.

 

According to some calculations, this is the furthest inhabited settlement from the sea in Great Britain, 75 miles from the coast. Stepping through a kissing gate opposite Fillongley garage, we quickly find we don’t need the sea to get our feet wet as the grass is high and damp with the morning mist, the dew soaking quickly into our boots. The soil underfoot is a rich red clay, churned up by cows’ hooves, squelching underfoot and spraying mud up our legs as we pick our way across the fields.

 

Stephen spots a decapitated crow on the grass, its head just a few inches from its torso. If this is an omen, we’re not to be dissuaded from today’s mission. We cross Didgley Lane and make our way around Fillongley Cricket Club, the greylag geese lazing around on the pitch alive and well and undisturbed by any match at this hour.

 

Heading along Shawbury Lane, we spot a number of attractive country properties with For Sale noticeboards outside. Stephen snaps a few, on the off chance he suddenly finds he’s got thousands of pounds of spare cash knocking around to invest in a rural retreat. One can dream.

 

Turning onto narrow Newtown Lane, the view of the Bourne valley below us begins to open up as the grey clouds disperse and blue sky starts to appear. There’s a big, bright orange fire raging on the top of the hill opposite but it’s far away enough not to concern us. A more immediate issue is the amount of blooming vegetation triggering our hay fever, the sneezing battling with a hacking cough I’ve brought along from Brighton with me. “It’s not COVID is it?” worries Stephen. I tested in the week, it’s definitely not, but it is a nasty bit of a cold.

 

The winding lane takes us along the high ground, past farms and cottages, until we decide to take a right hand turn, following a track down through the middle of a newly planted field towards a distant white painted farm house. Before we reach it, we hang left, cross over Daw Mill Lane and muddle our way through another overgrown field of grasses, nettles and cow parsley next to the River Bourne.

 

We clamber alongside the river as it passes beneath a great bend in the Birmingham to Peterborough railway line, emerging onto the ruins of Daw Mill Colliery. Once a great survivor of the coal industry, even in the 21st century Daw Mill was producing more coal per annum than any other mine in British history, but a major underground fire in 2013 helped seal its fate.

 

Even as it slowly reverts back to a natural green field state, Daw Mill is a mightily impressive sight. Stephen and I clamber up a central mound to take the panorama in. An owl hoots from the trees in the distance. Down below us, surviving concrete walls have turned into graffiti galleries. We descend the slope and come across a couple of spray can artists busy decorating one of the corners of the site. Eyeballs, pyramids, the whole mystical shebang. Vibrating beneath us through the old, burnt out mine passages, the K-Line energy is strong.

 

At the colliery’s north-western edge, a footpath takes us on through low trees, mud and open spaces of proliferating, waist-high nettles. The twin church spires of Over Whitacre and Church End poke above the treetops on either side of us as we approach Furnace End. Stepping onto Coleshill Road, the smell of leather and oil greets us as a gang of veteran bikers saddle up and roar out of the village.

 

It’s 11 A.M. but The Bull’s Head is open and serving, so we settle into its pool room for an early pint and a late full English breakfast: a vegan option for Stephen and a sausage, bacon and fried egg plate for me. The food is excellent and sets us up nicely for the miles ahead.

 

Rested and well fed, we head back out down Coleshill Road, then step into the field on our right. We’re able to track two well-signposted walking routes from hereon in, Centenary Way and the Heart Of England Way, alternating stretches of each as they criss-cross one another across North Warwickshire.

 

We pick the latter trail at first, sandwiched between the railway line and Shustoke Reservoir. There are several crossing points over the tracks to the right of us, and the one we opt for takes us up through a field with a line of old wooden Railfreight trucks slowly decaying at its edge. At the top of the hill we reach Hoggrills End Lane and follow it west, joining the Centenary Way path just past Dingle Lane.

 

The trail takes us along a low raised bank across the centre of a ploughed field, then north along a tree-lined path beside the long-distance Cross Country Route railway line between Bristol and York. When we reach Whitacre Heath we step back onto the road at Middle Lane, stop for breath outside The Swan pub on Station Road, then carry on west along Birmingham Road.

 

The sky is clear and the sun is beating down strongly upon us now. Conversation dries up as we try to conserve our energy in the heat. The road crosses the railway and the River Tame at the edge of Lea Marston but instead of entering the village we take the Centenary Way route on our right.

 

The shady path eventually brings us onto Cotton Road. We follow it west, across the Kingsbury Road roundabout and down a lane into the southern reaches of Kingsbury Water Park. I’ve decided we should attempt to locate the K2 Plant Hire-themed G.N.O.M.E. secreted here a few months earlier by K-Line researcher Lisa (see Field Report #4). I’ve already sent Stephen the YouTube videos Lisa’s made showing where she hid her little ceramic friend and he’s keen to help out.

 

First, though, we make our way between the waters, past families on cycles and scooters, to The Old Barn Coffee Shop for lunch. Stephen’s made us mango chutney falafels in pitta bread and we sit and eat them with soft drinks, ice creams and pastries from the café. I spread my Ordnance Survey map out on the picnic table and we study the K-Line options beyond the park.

 

One plan would be to keep left of the line, past Aston Villa’s Bodymoor Heath training ground and out towards Middleton. This would eventually pull us off course to the west, closer to Birmingham. We decide to head to the right of the line instead, aiming to walk straight up the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal in the direction of Tamworth.

 

First off, we have a G.N.O.M.E. to find. We make our way from the café past the Echills Wood miniature railway and along a footpath until my phone tells us we’re right by where the little fellow might be hiding. Following Lisa’s instructions, we step into the undergrowth, hop over one fallen tree and find the second one where she left her tiny friend.

 

He’s not there. We search around, blundering through the brambles and looking under logs before reluctantly deciding someone else has come along before us and relocated the G.N.O.M.E. to a hopefully happy home. “Well, that was disappointing,” laughs Stephen. At least we’re freed from the obligation of carrying a third passenger further up the line with us.

 

The path takes us back onto the Heart Of England way, under the M42 and up through more wetlands, passing a picnic area mainly inhabited by lurking groups of Canada geese. Out on the water to our right are mute swans, mallards and tufted ducks. We meet the canal at Curdworth Bottom Lock, then it’s a long, dead straight walk due north along the towpath.

 

There’s the odd lone fisherman, a few cyclists now and again, but we’ve largely got the canal to ourselves. At Fisher’s Mill Bridge, we sit down for a rest and a few snacks. A family of dog walkers pass by opposite, all white summer dresses and cream-coloured sun hats. I feel like we’ve entered a Cadbury’s Flake advert.

 

Back on our feet again, we pass a nesting swan, then a vast field full of paired-up Canada geese. “How on earth do they tell each other apart?” Stephen wonders. When we reach the next bridge, we climb up and follow a lane across the canal and the short distance to the A4091. Across the road, Salts Lane leads into Drayton Bassett, a sign at its entrance requesting NO HS2 TRAFFIC. To be fair, we’ve seen no HS2 traffic all day anyway.

 

At the end of Salts Lane we turn right onto Drayton Lane and walk into the village, finding ourselves a metal bench on the green to sit and wait for Stephen’s girlfriend Sarah to pick him up. “How far did you walk?” she asks when she appears. “Ten miles?” I venture. “Maybe fifteen,” Stephen offers. “Let’s say twenty!” Sarah suggests cheerfully. Yeah, why not?

 

I leave the pair of them as they’re getting into the car, declining their offer of a lift to Birmingham in favour of a leisurely walk back to the canal and up into Tamworth, before catching the train home via Rugby. As soon as I’m sitting in the air conditioned carriage, my cough returns with a vengeance. So much for healthy exercise.

 

Stuart Huggett


MARVIN AND ME

Far away, on the other side of the world, Alan has been digging... and digging deep.

OK, so 63014 is the model number of the starter motor for a Kubota Earth Mover. 11372 also refers to various parts and attachments for the Kubota Excavator. 

I continue to dig with the enthusiasm of someone who never got closure on the Publius Enigma...

As much as it's difficult to get my head around the concept of an Artificial Intelligence Laboratory existing a year before I was born - in fact, I'm not even going to pause to contemplate the existential implications of that - this theory seems to align poetically with the K-Line's latest incarnation.

Though perhaps not that much of a Koincidence... 

*The full paper can be enjoyed here.

1980-[Minsky]-K_Lines_A_Theory_of_Memory.pdf

However, while I'm happy to capitalise on opportunities for self-promotion, the official Klues keep kross-wiring with personal ones and the rabbit-hole warren becomes more universe-sized.

Eg, alt-tabbing away from attempts to identify a theoretical K Triangle on Google Earth, I see this photo of (presumably) Jimmy on Instagram.

Now Toxteth I can understand, but why is there a clock displaying the 'Time In Oxford'? 

Leaving the numerological clues in that image aside for now, the lyrics of 'Time In Oxford' reference another geographical triangle: "Like a triangle whose sides are ten thousand miles..."

'Time In Oxford' is a remix of our single 'Time In Houston'. The three points on the triangle are Oxford, Houston and Melbourne.

Long back story short, in 1996, before I'd so much as kissed a girl, I fell in love with a Texan girl via Compuserve chatrooms, punishingly expensive long-distance phonecalls and air-mailed perfumed letters and photographs. The various adults in our lives were cynically dismissive of the intentions of two penniless sixteen year-olds to defy geography and be together, and were sadly proved right in the short term.

HOWEVER.

We stayed in touch, and fifteen years later, circumstances conspired that she was passing through England right before I was due to emigrate to Australia. And so we met, finally had the teenage dates we'd dreamed off, and fell in love for real, savouring every second of each other's company throughout one final beautiful night in Oxford before she had to fly back to Houston and I had to fly away to Melbourne, forming the J Triangle.

We may have three divorces between us since then (and not even from each other), but nothing can take away that victory of teenage romantic idealism.

Meanwhile, clicking through on the Instagram comments leads to this photo from Gantob Stu's page, taken a stone's throw from where The Womb once recorded a trilogy of albums.

We even named a single after it. 

So I guess the point is that I could follow these Konnections infinitely, and either arrive at transcendent cosmic poetry, or lose myself in the serial numbers of spare parts for agricultural machinery (though the ones at https://k-line.net.au/ are pretty nice.)

Anyway, I look forward to the 'Time' chapter of these four-dimensional sculptures. In that spirit, here's me in a Delorean on the cover of 'Time In Houston'. You're welcome.


Alan

WALKING THE LINE #8

 

COVENTRY TO CORLEY ASH, 27/04/24

 

Today starts with breakfast at McDonald’s on Willenhall Lane, not BIG MAC WITH FRIES but Bacon & Egg McMuffin, a hash brown and coffee. The KLF Re-enactment Society have advertised today’s adventure as ‘A Walk Across Koventry’ and at the 10 A.M. meeting time I’m joined by my friend Nick, returning from the Hertfordshire leg with his daughter in tow, plus Cov-based KLF fans and musicians Stephen Dorphin (of Vieon) and Joe Wilson (of Concrete Fun House).

 

I’m wearing my grey K2 Plant Hire t-shirt again and Stephen’s got a black KLF 2323 World Tour one on, so it’s not hard to find each other. We all get to know each other while I’m finishing my breakfast. Our new friends, neither of them meat eaters, decline to partake of the menu. Agreeing that it’s unlikely there’s any more stragglers planning to join us, we set off.

 

First we head around the corner into Binley Industrial Estate, along to the end of Herald Way and the entrance to Claybrookes Marsh. Sandwiched between industrial units and the Eastern Bypass, this small nature reserve is listed as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is home to dozens of species of scarce insects. We disturb plenty of woodpigeons as we explore but otherwise have the place to ourselves.

 

After posing for a group photo at the southern gate, where the K-Line enters the reserve on its way into Coventry, we track back to the massive third gate at the bottom of Grange Road. Stephen mentions he’s contributed to Bill Drummond’s audio novel ‘The Life Model’ and it turns out his chapter ‘Charity Shop Thursday’ was one of my favourites. I missed Drummond’s call-out for submissions the other year and Stephen now can’t remember how he got involved, which is satisfyingly mysterious.

 

We troop up Binley Avenue, then negotiate the maze of open ended suburban cul-de-sacs on the other side of Willenhall Lane, dodging over grass and between the garages of Wakefield Close, Bromwich Close and Ashby Close, spotting a sweet Coventry City FC chalk mural on the way. We go down the hill at Oxendon Way, then turn left past the K-Line bisected parade of shops into Bruntingthorpe Way.

 

“Dad! You trod on a WORM!” Nick’s daughter scolds him. She doesn’t appear too traumatised so we debate whether or not the two halves of the unfortunate worm are going to survive living separate lives from now on. Joe seems to remember worms have two brains. Hopefully that’s one at each end.

 

A tree-lined footpath takes us along a stretch of the River Sowe alongside Copsewood Grange Golf Course, which is having a busy Saturday morning despite the threat of rain. The path then bends away, past Stoke Old Boys Rugby Football Club, then around the horseshoe loop of Brookvale Avenue and onto the A428 Binley Road.

 

Along to our east is the virally famous Binley Mega Chippy, one of 2022’s unusual TikTok sensations, but we cross over the road and head west. As we reach Momus Boulevard, Nick has his second step of misfortune, right in some dog poo. “Ugh Dad, you STINK!” his daughter cries, “I can SMELL it!” At least he can walk it off.

 

We do a little corner cut, tracking the K-Line around Anthony Way and Wyver Crescent, past the old Stoke Bowling Club sign on Burns Road, across the bottom of Tennyson Road (I had a family holiday there with my uncle and aunt in 1982) and up to Walsgrave Road. On one side of the street there’s a hair salon called Cliptomania and The Rose And Crown pub. Opposite is a junction box carrying the warning sign DO NOT CLIMB ON BOX which, if it hadn’t have been there, would never have occurred to me to do.

 

We turn up Shakespeare Road into Upper Stoke, passing a smart little black and white Nissan car advertising the nearby 2 Tone Village. Fellow K-Line explorer Lisa Beanland tagged the Village back in February, see her Field Report #4 for more details. Nick and I try to convince his daughter that she’d really like ska music (“If you were at school in the 80s it was the best music!”) but she doesn’t appear convinced, or indeed bothered. A packet of Sour Patch Kids from the Paper Chase & Off Licence on the corner of Dane Road soon perks her up. I ask Joe and Stephen if there’s been any local indication that The Specials might carry on without dear Terry Hall but they’ve not heard anything.

 

The terraced roads of Upper Stoke are some kind of garage land, with numerous mechanics and dealerships and ordinary folk fixing up their cars on the street. We criss-cross Stratford Street, Milton Street and Coventry Street, walk through the narrow Barras Heath Park, then rise over the Coventry Canal at Swancroft Road. Turning down Red Lane, we pop into an Emmaus charity shop but come out empty handed. Over the road is a huge factory shed, once part of the Coventry Ordnance Works. A large but broken fragment of sign on the shed wall simply spells out ‘TO’. To where?

 

Up Cromwell Street, past The Bricklayers Arms, down Bright Street and up Stanton Road we go. A footpath beside the impressive blue Tetris block of Falkener House gives us a short cut past the police station. A frustrated householder on Holmsdale Road has painted their own NO PARKING 24 HOURS sign optimistically above their garage, perhaps to deter shoppers heading for the busy thoroughfare of Foleshill Road.

 

Joe points out the a striking terracotta building on the corner of Foleshill and Station Street West, formerly the General Wolfe pub, a key Coventry music venue for many years. Songkick reveals that Brilliant played there in November 1983 and it’s right by the K-Line.

 

We head down Queen Mary’s Road, where Palestinian flags have been riskily tied to the tops of several telegraph poles along the street. A footbridge at the end takes us across the Coventry to Nuneaton railway line and through Kingswood Close onto Holbrook Lane.

 

One of a pair of rival carpet shops occupies the old Brookville Picture House: Karpet Kingdom tweaks our desire for anything ‘K’ related. Through the archway of St Paul’s Cemetery we spot a lone traffic cone, perfectly positioned. We enter Holbrook Park as our clocks reach 1 P.M., the agreed time for Nick and his kid to make their way back into the city centre for promised sightseeing and shopping, so they wave goodbye.

 

The remaining three of us continue around the long oval of Everdon Road, stopping off at another parade of shops cut through by the K-Line. Joe pops into Harry & Sons’ convenience store, emerging with food and drink and news that today’s Daily Star has a pyramid-themed front page story (‘Curse of King Tut’s Tomb? Cracked it, Mate’). Unless that’s a regionally specific front page variation especially for newsagents on the Line.

 

We’re nearing the exact halfway point of the K-Line now. A wiggle around the houses through Langlodge Road, Deerhurst Road and Rotherham Road takes us onto Beake Avenue, up a short way and left onto Penny Park Lane where the Holy Family Church has a striking white pyramid-adorned frontage. Tucked beside a telegraph pole in front of it is a neglected Coventry City Boundary Stone - I’d passed a similar one on Brandon Road on my way into the city the day before and this one marks the opposite edge of town.

 

Still admiring the church pyramid and windows, I take us into Keresley a slightly longer way round than planned, up Nunts Lane and down a very muddy footpath along the top of the President Kennedy School rather than straight up Watery Lane on the direct K-Line route. Stephen’s new walking boots are perhaps the only casualties of this detour and we’re soon approaching the Hare & Hounds pub, right at the centre of the K-Line. 90s miles to the south-east is Trancentral, 90 miles to the north-west the Mathew Street manhole cover.

 

“Hang on, I think I played a gig here once,” Joe realises, as the pub emerges from behind trees of pink blossom. We head inside and get celebratory pints, sitting ourselves down equidistant from London and Liverpool. “Does this make us members of The KLF Re-enactment Society now?” Stephen ponders. “I’m not sure how strict the entry requirements are,” I reply, “But you may have been recruited.”

 

The two of them have obligations back in town, so I leave them outside to call an Uber while I make one last loop of a walk to take me firmly beyond the K-Line meridian. Behind the pub, a pair of green shipping containers lie on the forecourt of Millwood Marketing. I cross the street and walk a short way up Fivefield Road, then take the footpath up Hounds Hill, alongside Bunsons Wood, then down a tree-lined hollow into Corley.

 

Tamworth Road runs through the village and I follow it past the Parish Church and downhill, beneath the M6 and into Corley Ash. I need to turn around to start the journey back into town now so I head east along Highfield Lane, crossing back over the M6 above Corley Services, a location previously tagged by K-Line researcher A Young Man On Facebook as the southern end of one of his Lines Of SHITE (see Field Report #6). Bennetts Road North takes me into Keresley Village and the bus stop.

 

As the number 16 takes me past the Old Shepherd pub, I check to see if it’s raining apples on Kelmscote Road this afternoon, as it once did in 2011. Were the mysterious powers of the K-Line responsible or was it a stealth attack by the Blue Meanies? Scientists remain baffled.

 

Stuart Huggett


A LETTER FOR WHOEVER

Dear Tillerman/Otherman/Beggarman/Thief


OK. Enough’s enough. I’ve stayed out of this konversation too long . 


Mr Aster’s suggestion that there is a link between my Vanadium Line (FOREVE2, still available from Amazaba) and this so-called K-LINE has coerced me into further investigation and your kind provision of a Google Map has wet my apophenian whistle. Time to dive in and get my mind blown all over again. 


Walking my fingers across THE MAP, I was struck by the North-West section from Tamworth to Crewe, 46(!) miles of virtually nothing. Tamworth, I knew as the long-time home of Julian Cope before he moved to be amongst his beloved stones. Tamworth and the neighbouring Polesworth and Alvecote were the areas frequented by Cope’s titular Reynard The Fox - based on an ancient trickster archetype. An inspection of Cope’s lyrics highlights a very specific part of the landscape:


Reynard left and went to Warwickshire, to a mound near a railway line,

With canals and a freezing swamp. He climbs high up above the countryside

And breathes freely. To the south he could see Polesworth, and to the

North he could just make out the ruins of the priory where Joss and I

Played cricket as children.


Scanning the area around THE K-LINE, it seems that the ‘mound near a railway line, with canals and a freezing swamp’ has been chosen as the sight for a curious monument, with the cryptic name of ‘Gold Leaf:Buried Sunlight’. A Gold Leaf electroscope is commonly used to detect electrical charge. What hidden energy source does ‘buried sunlight’ refer to and is it just a coincidence that the closest section of THE K-LINE to the monument is in the equally cryptic Kings Bury? Does the K in K-LINE stand for King? 


The Kingsland Road in North London was originally named King’s Line Road and a quick check of Wikipedia reveals its reference image as the very same railway bridge that The JAMs/KLFRS have chosen as their notice board since 2017. Foxes and the Kingsland/King’s Line Road feature heavily in the book 2023: A Trilogy by The Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu as they did in the accompanying Triptych. 


Whilst The Triptych remains buried since 2017, elements of it are included in its still findable trailer, including scenes where an urban fox walks through a derelict London dwarfed by a burning Shard. I had a look at the clip again and picked out the name of a shop: E.Price and Sons. Now where had I seen that before? Here, that’s where. 

The greengrocers had been open in Kensington for 78 years before the tragic deaths of three of Mr Price’s children in quick succession lead to its closure, only for it to make a surprise return in 2017 of all years. 


So where was the mysterious E.Price & Sons and why had The JAMs chosen to include its facade in The Triptych? The short answers are:

On THE K-LINE and who the FUUK knows, but further investigation is definitely advised. For example, look at what day their Twitter account started…

https://twitter.com/e_priceandsons?s=21&t=gY2s5DNY5bAS0u4DoV-37A


After that distracting diversion, I returned to the other end of that seemingly uninteresting 46 mile section of THE K-LINE, Crewe. Crewe, as we know it, contrary to the usual way of things, came into being AFTER it got a train station. Crewe station is one of this busiest in the UK, with its 23 lines linking Scotland, Wales, and every corner of the UK. Trains from Crewe to London terminate at Euston and now it’s time to return to the capital. 


At the end of the summer last, long before I started looking at THE MAP, I made a flying visit down to London to hear THE ICE KREAM VAN’S reinterpretation of 1987: WTFIGO. With plenty of time left on my parking I took a stroll along Euston Road to follow a lead I had in tracking down the site of the photograph on the cover of ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE by The JAMs. 

An interview with James Brown - no, not that one - in Turn Up The Strobe had the following clue. 


“There was a huge forty eight sheet billboard opposite Capital FM, a huge photo of James Anderton the cop. It was for Today newspaper and the advert said, ‘People With ideas Above Their Station’. It was when he was pretending to be in touch with God. So they were quite striking looking, newsy sort of ads. They were statement ads. Anyway on this one had been pasted – which is quite common now, people paste up their graffiti – it was bubble writing that said, ‘Shag Shag Shag.’ I just noticed it and wondered what it was.”

Ten minutes later, I was across the road from Green Light Pharmacy, 66 Hampstead Road. The windows and chimneys matched up. I’d found it. I crossed the road to check the other road it shared a corner with and was surprised, but not shocked, to find it was Drummond Street, the heart of the Euston Curry District. It has shrunken in length since 1987 after half of it was demolished to make space for the new Euston Station terminal of the HS2. Wait. The same HS2 that goes South of Tamworth and straight through Crewe Station. The same HS2 that had its Northern leg mysteriously cancelled on October 4th 2023.  

They couldn’t, could they. 

I checked social media for the activities of the newly social-arm of The KLFRS around that date. It seemed to coincide with a couple of mysterious video submissions. One from Tokyo, one from a sunlit woodland. Further investigation suggests that this was The Tuning Fork Tree, Aldbury, “tagged by The Otherman 23/08/23”.

Deep breath. Grant me some poetic license here, but having compared the maps of THE K-LINE and the Northern Leg of The HS2, the only conclusions that I can rationally come to are:

Beyond this, I don’t know what the fuuk is going on, but zooming out of THE MAP one last time, I noticed something else. A line drawn from Stonehenge to Cromer, location of West Runton Pavillion goes through THE K-LINE, yes, you guessed it, at the Tuning Fork Tree. Why these two locations? Well they just happen to be first and latest venues of the 2323 World Tour before it all ends at The People’s Pyramid. And they are 180 miles apart. 

Yep. Mind blown. 

Going for a lie down. 


Andy


*Power stations seem to be important to all this. I’ll have a look at them next, I think. 

WALKING THE LINE #7

BADBY TO COVENTRY, 26-04-24


 

The morning sun is shining brightly as I walk down the A361 from Daventry into Badby. A battered green Footpath sign opposite the bus shelters at the bottom of the hill points the way. Climbing over a stile, I head through a field of sheep until I reach the course of the River Nene, a simple gurgling brook here in its upper reaches.

 

I follow the water upstream through a long field until the path turns away, rising up through a shallow valley of lush grass and evergreen trees. Public Footpath aside, this extremely beautiful stretch of land is clearly private land. Signs warn me to:

 

PLEASE. KEEP TO THE LEGAL LINE OF THE RIGHT OF WAY.

 

No deviation, no hesitation, no problem. The K-Line is my guide.

 

At the top of the valley the track enters the shade of the trees, reaching the A425 beside Staverton soon after. It’s still early and the village is all quiet. I amble up along Daventry Road and Church Street, pause at The Green in respect of any pilgrim ghosts drifting along the Jurassic Way, then follow the signpost on Manor Road down to locate the footpath to Flecknoe.

 

Immaculately maintained as the paths here are, several of them aren’t included on my Ordnance Survey map, sending my internal compass spinning. Running into some farm buildings that really aren’t where I expect them to be, I have to reorient myself at the sewage works. Realising I’m ninety degrees awry I retreat, finding the right path – the only one actually on my map – back uphill, a gorgeous track past some horses and the bottom of a copse and back into the fields. It’s only now occurring to me that perhaps a compass would have been a sensible item to pack for these walks.

 

A grey heron flaps along some distance beyond, alerting me to the waterside route I’m looking for. I decapitated motorcycle helmet has been staked disconcertingly on the bridge over the stream. I shudder and walk past, over fields of freshly sown crops and fallow grass, then wade chest high through vivid yellow oil seed flowers, emerging dusted with pollen from top to toe. Crossing the fading presence of the vanished Nottingham to Marylebone railway line, one last long field brings me into Flecknoe.

 

There’s not a lot to see in the village although the view onwards over the broad flat valley to the north is impressive. I pass an old red phone box outside tiny St Mark’s Church as I follow the road downhill, out of the village, past the red brick shell of an abandoned army building and turn sharp left onto Flecknoe Station Road.

 

Among the villages signposted ahead is Willoughby but I’ve seen The Twilight Zone (“Next stop Willoughby!”) and have no desire to go there. Curiously, I can see an impressive, American-style white painted country residence across the fields to the right of me but I can’t pin it down on any of my maps. Never mind.

 

Sticking to the long straight road, I cross over the Birmingham arm of the Grand Union Canal. It’s been several weeks and many miles since Seb, Vincent, Nick and I tracked the K-Line along the canal through Hertfordshire (see Walking The Line #3). Braunston was the name on the mileposts along the towpath that day and that key canalside village is not far to the north-east of me right now. Somewhere to the west, meanwhile, the canal will pass under Spaghetti Junction where Bill Drummond could well be painting, then painting over, another piece of artwork right now. Time will reveal all.

 

Further on, I take a fork to the right onto Sawbridge Road and across a bridge over another vanished railway line that once ran between Weedon and Leamington Spa. All I see below me now is farmland. Flecknoe Station Road then takes the left fork, crossing the K-Line. An S-Bend beyond introduces me to a trio of sheep with pronounced, demonic horns. I say Hello, just in case.

 

An elderly farmer is up on his tractor, ploughing a dry field on my right. I stop to watch as he draws up alongside me, concentrating on raising the twin attachments of his plough. Powdered mud falls from the blades and the wind blows it straight at me, covering the remaining yellow oil seed pollen on my t-shirt with crusty brown earth. I really am blending in with nature now.

 

I trek on and am delighted to spot my first housemartins of the summer as I leave the road at a footpath opposite the Broadwell junction. A short walk past a field of sheep takes me onto the A426 into Kites Hardwick and Britain’s most understated off-licence. Well, someone’s painted ‘OFF LICENCE. WINES. SPIRITS’ on the wall of a house, so this is either a small business in the making, a joke or a trap. Either way it doesn’t look very open.

 

The A426 is a busy road today, leading me down to Draycote Water, a vast reservoir and accompanying tourist attraction run by the Severn Trent water company. The K-Line passes right through it and I skirt the waters’ edge clockwise. There are as many millions of midges here as beside any Scottish loch and my t-shirt adds a coating of splatted insects to its surface as I battle my way through them.

 

The birdlife makes the visit worthwhile, however, with numerous Pied Wagtails, Mute Swans, Mallards, Coots and Canada Geese. Best of all is that king of the waterfowl, the Great Crested Grebe, present in abundance and worth braving the pestilent midge clouds for.

 

At the north-west edge of Draycote Water, a footpath takes me onto Popehill Lane and down into beautiful Draycote village proper. The lane bends in a U-shape at the village green as a well-heeled young dog walker greets me Good Afternoon. Yet another abandoned and dismantled railway line crosses my path, this time the former Rugby to Leamington Spa route. The last train left much more than an hour ago in this neck of the woods.

 

I follow Popehill Lane uphill into neighbouring Bourton On Dunsmore, stopping for my packed lunch on a bench in the calm grounds of St Peter’s Church. Spiritually refreshed, I nod to the war memorial and head up Main Street until I reach the B4453. A footpath leads me around the fenced border of Mitchells potato farm and up the lane until I reach another footpath to the west.

 

Acre after acre of vibrant oil seed flowers welcome my way, the sort of iridescent spring glory that would make Van Gogh weep. This is the life. Alongside the blooms I stride, glorying in its splendour. Finally, an unprepossessing corner of the farthest field yields entry to a narrow, muddy bridle path. Aware that I’ve not spoken to another human for a while, I pull up a Mandrake by its roots. “Argh, fuck off!” it shrieks. Charming.

 

After much trudging, the path opens up onto Rugby Lane, a routine road into Stretton-Dunsmore. I’m on the more modern, suburban side of the village and have no need to tarry, taking the right hand turn up the B4455 to the 29th Division War Memorial at the brow of the hill. The memorial pays tribute to the division (“The Incomparable 29th”) and their involvement in the Great War’s Gallipoli campaign. The memorial now sits in the centre of a roundabout, with wreaths of poppies at its base.

 

The roundabout sits at the crossroad between the A45 London Road running east-west and the B4455 north-south. The latter is actually part of the renowned Roman road the Fosse Way, built between Lincoln and Exeter, and through the centre of the roundabout runs the K-Line itself. Whatever your historical or psycho-geographical predilections, this is a significant site.

 

The Fosse Way takes me north, the frequent advisory roadsigns (HIGH RISK CRASH ROUTE) a reminder of how the straight line advantages of the Romans’ road building programme are now a speed-limit busting temptation to today’s drivers. Having avoided getting mown down I turn left down Dyer’s Lane, at last achieving a view towards the spires and high rises of Coventry in the distance.

 

I stop for a break at the recreation ground, chatting to a gentlemen who’s having some difficulty getting his amiable young puppy to follow him back home. Well I’d want to play too at her age. The lane leads into the agreeable large village of Wolston. I pass The Half Moon and The Rose And Crown pubs and the current village hall, formerly the 1890 Oddfellows Hall. Taking the Main Street out of town, I cross over the River Avon and under a grand stone railway bridge into Brandon.

 

Turning immediately left by The Royal Oak pub, Brandon Lane takes me westwards, parallel to the first active railway line I’ve come across all day, colourful West Midlands Trains thundering by on their way into Coventry. A fair distance along, the road takes me up over the tracks, where it’s intercepted by the K-Line just before the entrance to Brandon Reach Nature Reserve.

 

I wander along the well-tended paths of the reserve in the direction of the K-Line, abandoned shopping trolleys indicating I’m now nearing the suburbs. An old black canoe sits incongruously on a patch of wasteland beside Coventry’s Eastern Bypass, below a pylon and close to a service station. Working my way through the trees around the garage, I find a gate ajar, giving me pedestrian access to the services. I take a break in Starbucks there, the K-Line passing between where I’m sitting and the Greggs a few metres away. I trust that my flat white and chocolate chunk cookie are fully charged with its powers.

 

Refreshed but unable to cross the bypass on foot, I need to make one more journey back into the nature reserve, through Piles Coppice and Brandon Wood until I reach the satellite village of Binley Woods. From there I zig-zag the short distance past the playing field, up and along Craven Avenue, Birchwood Road, Monks Road and Oakdale Road and onto the A428 Rugby Road, under the bypass and into Coventry itself.

 

It’s been a pleasing feature of the K-Line so far that, since leaving the Grand Union Canal back in Hertfordshire, I’ve travelled through miles of countryside and a wondrous chain of villages and hamlets but not come across one town or city. Until today. I nod to the Cocked Hat pub on the border, clock the Coventry: UK City Of Culture 2021 sign and head through the Binley Industrial Estate and into town.

 

Stuart Huggett

FIELD REPORT #8

HELSBY HILL, CHESHIRE

GPS: 53.273319,-2.763174   

COSTS: Free

DISTANCE FROM THE K-LINE: 779 metres

TRANSPORT LINKS: Helsby train station approx 20 min walk to the hill. By car there is a free car park in Alvanley Road before a somewhat clear, if steep, 10 min walk to the sumit. 

FIELD REPORT: Funny how in the process of exploring the K-Line we find our eyes opened to more and more points of interest and find new triggers in what was once mundane. Road signs, 'Keep 2 Chevrons apart' along the M56 on the way into Wirral a few weeks ago. The graphic suddenly looked like 2 little pyramid's with a car perched on top and I remembered the K-Line was close. Popping on Google maps and the preloaded K-Line overlay came into view, I was about to cross the intersection when I spotted a shipping Kontainer I had never noticed before on the lefthand side of the motorway with something sprayed on the side. A dusky silhouette frames it against the last pale rays of the day like some mountain born out of 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind'. To my right, was Stanlow Oil refinery. At night ablaze with tiny lights and flames like a scene from Blade Runner. 

In my minds eye, I imagined the Ford Galaxy hammering down the motorway past these looming landmarks and felt it was definately worth returning to tag. 


Sunday 28th April 

I take the M53 out of Wirral towards Cheshire and the iron age hillfort of Helsby Hill. Passing lines of traffik kones along the way, and the odd solitary kone. I almost salute them like magpies in acknowledgement as I pass, wondering if I should stop and liberate one to take on the journey. I wind my way up to the car park at Alvanley Road and walk the steep ascent to the top. It's thirsty work and I am grateful that I didn't bring one of those heavy cones with me. 


Helsby Hill is 104m AOD. A sandstone outcrop which spectacularly overlooks the Cheshire plains, with views across the Mersey Estuary. You can see the outline of Liverpool skyline and almost trace the crows eye view of the path of the K-Line from this stunning vantage point. The furthest N.W. point on the horizon being the mighty structures of Speke on the opposite bank of the Mersey, and the beginning (or the end, depending on how you look at it) of the K-Line, it's path runs along to my left, framed by the distant Welsh Clwydian mountains, and across the Cheshire plain to the south are the mounds of Peckforton and Beeston castles. Long Mynd in Shropshire can be seen on a clear day and towards Frodsham, Foxhill Arboretum Folly peeps out through the trees. It's truly stunning. 

The Trig marker 3499 on the top of the crag has already been marked with a yellow line coiling around it's body and the beautiful words; 


Imagine peace, 

permanently flowing, 

quietly forever, 

through the prime

golden spiral core

of your being


Its a beautiful thing and my thoughts return to the traffick kone and how perfect it would of looked on top of it. 

(Maybe that's a job for another KLFer that makes the worthwhile trek to this perfect viewpoint.)


Its quite exposed up there and though it's a clear spring morning it's pretty bracing so I quickly take photos, tag and consider a hiding spot for the gnome I brought with me. Did I mention I'd made another? 

To be honest, I've grown rather fond of them and find it really hard to leave this one behind. There are few hiding spots in this space. 

A well meaning womble has just picked up my water bottle I left on a rock while I turned for just a few moments to take some photos and before I have time to speak, he's emptied the water out and wandered off mumbling about litterbugs as he goes. So I pop gnome back in my bag for the time being for fear he might end up in a bin liner. 

Maybe I just pass him in to the care of the Dispensary or another, braver K-Line konstruction worker to position further down the line. I don't know, but I hope this isn't the end of the line his adventures. 


SHIPPING KONTAINER

Approx 53.282871, - 2.761848


I never get as far as the Shipping Kontainer. It is further away than I thought. Google maps does have a photo of it on street view. It bares the red graffiti legend 'Don't frack our future. ' on one side and 'The Firm' on another. 

The access point I try, close to the nearest footbridge, is totally overgrown so I abandon this half of the quest. Perhaps another day or another K-Line explorer will find a way to tag this. 

Til then.... 

..... Onward!!!

Lisa Beanland

WALKING THE LINE #6

SILVERSTONE TO BADBY, 13-04-24


The distant roar of cars zooming around Silverstone race track greets Seb, Vincent and I as we step off the number 88 bus outside The White Horse on Saturday morning. Seb had a cold earlier this week while his lad Vincent has been doing a lot of gaming online so they’re both feeling in need of some rejuvenating exercise along the K-Line today.

 

The Line is powering its way across the fields a little distance to the east of us, tracking a parallel course to the A5 stretch of Watling Street through Towcester just beyond that. On the other side of Towcester lies Northampton and Seb and I are well aware we’re going to spend the day walking through Alan Moore territory, hopefully without coming a cropper like the wandering characters in his incredible time-hopping novel ‘Voice Of The Fire’.

 

I’m reminded that I saw Moore with Iain Sinclair, John Higgs and Oddfellow’s Casino at a Brighton Fringe event back in 2017 (and reviewed it briefly here https://brightonsource.co.uk/reviews/week-four-brighton-festival-fringe-2017/ ) and resolve to re-read Higgs’ ‘Watling Street’ again before we reach the point at which the K-Line and the old pre-Roman Road cross paths some miles further north. What hidden K-Line traces might Higgs’ book contain, I wonder.

 

Back to the present and once we’ve got our bearings, the three of us head down the footpath on the right of St Martin’s Church and into the fields beyond. Despite the sunshine there’s still plenty of water in the grass and our walk is repeatedly beset by sudden patches of marshy ground, splashes of wet getting into our boots and soaking our socks. Never mind, there’s no rain at least.

 

Helpfully placed wooden posts guide our way across the farmland, trying our best not to disturb the sheep and their thirsty lambs. We cross a stream and a few more fields, over the Blakesley road and down another footpath along the edge of Bucknell Wood. Swarms of big black mayflies are whirling around us and we try to keep our heads down as they bump into us, giddy in their sexual intoxication.

 

Once we’re free of the insect cloud, we head up and across a pretty paddock of horses, then downhill through a large grassy field to Abthorpe. A lone leg of a sheep, freshly detached from its owner, gives us pause for thought. We can’t see any three-legged livestock around but they’re probably having a lie down.

 

Abthorpe is pleasant, with an attractive 19th century church, but we pass through it in a matter of minutes. Another marshy field and an avenue of young trees takes us to its immediate neighbour Slapton, another tiny village sleeping in the Saturday sunlight. We head a fair distance into the wrong field beyond Slapton Manor, eventually finding ourselves at a dead end, and once we’ve backtracked and found the footpath again we’ve lost a bit of time.

 

Vincent needs a bite to eat so we sit in the fields for a spot of packed lunch, cereal bars and dried fruit and nuts for them, a bagel filled with coleslaw for me. These walks might actually be making us healthier. Ordnance Survey maps consulted (paper for me, digital app for Seb) we get on our way, across an unusual, undulating field and past three moody-looking, black and white bulls, to join a concrete farm track beyond.

 

We say hello to the farmer as he passes us on his tractor. The track is dotted with obsolete and abandoned agricultural machinery and, on our left, the tumbled down walls of an old farm building. Seb thinks he recognises the stacks of roof tiles lying beside the walls as potentially being of the Elizabethan era. If we could have carried them away we might have been able to flog them for a decent amount of cash, possibly setting Vincent further on the way to achieving his current dream of buying a decommissioned Russian MiG-29 fighter plane he saw advertised on the internet recently. Donations gratefully accepted.

 

Heading back through the wet fields we spot a tyre swing hanging from a nearby tree but don’t have time to stop and play. We dodge through a small copse of trees and get back on the road to Blakesley. Rather than negotiate any more farmland for a while, we follow the road as it mimics the path of the K-Line northwards. “What town are we heading for again?” Vincent asks, wearily consulting the map on his phone. Staverton had been my plan but I’m not sure my companions are going to make it quite that far today.

 

The road eventually turns left as we approach Blakesley while we take a footpath on the right, past some sewage works and over a ploughed field to the village recreation ground. There’s a small boy learning how to use the skate ramp at the far end and we sit down on a trestle table near his mother, spreading open my OS map and discussing where we’re going to call time on the walk later. We agree that Badby is a decent compromise, have some more snacks then press on.

 

For the next few miles we stick to the road, with the K-Line sometimes a few metres to our right, sometimes to our left and sometimes right beneath our feet. Another merry group of walkers cross our path briefly, then a peloton of cyclists, but mostly we have the road to ourselves, with only the occasional passing car sending us to the verge.

 

At Maidford we stop for another breather on a bench at a crossroads. Seb and I have exhausted our conversations about Shillingbury Tales (filmed back down the line in Aldbury) and Jack Hargreaves’ Out Of Town, television programmes that really put the generation gap between ourselves and Vincent. One thing we can all participate in however is the adoption of terrible Mummerset accents, which we try to remember to drop whenever there may be locals around. Admittedly, Seb and I both have proper Sussex accents and our usual voices probably sound daft anyway but we’re keeping ourselves amused.

 

Beyond Maidford, the road goes on and on. We startle the only deer we see on today’s walk, which jumps out of the hedgerow and crosses the road in front of us. Seb reckons it’s a non-native species, maybe a Muntjac. It gallops off in the direction of a line of birch trees marking the course of the K-Line to our left.

 

The next village, Little Preston, is another chocolate box beauty of the blink and you miss it variety. The terrain is beginning to get hilly now, with spectacular views to the east. I walk up to a five-bar gate to take a photo. PRIVATE LAND – NO PUBLIC ACCESS. YOUR DOG COULD BE SHOT IF FOUND AMONGST LIVESTOCK, it says. Fair enough. I don’t fancy getting shot either so head back to the road.

 

Preston Capes is even prettier than its neighbour, with a gorgeous descending High Street, trees of pink blossom hiding the medieval church of St Peter And St Paul. At the bottom of the hill, we step off the road at last and onto Knightley Way, a walking trail that will take us through the final stretch to Badby. As we climb uphill, the view back towards the village and church gets better and better.

 

Over the summit, the view is even greater, down into the valley towards Fawsley Hall Hotel & Spa. Signs remind us to stick to the footpath so we don’t enter the 15th century Hall ourselves but Elizabeth I did, resting her royal head on the K-Line, and Charles I did too. While he still had a head, that is. These fields are surrounded by English Civil War and Wars Of The Roses history. Get Lucy Worsley on the K-Line case.

 

We cross the waterfalls that drain into the un-fussily named Big Water lake and approach the 13th century Church Of St Mary The Virgin, isolated on a little headland and surrounded by sheep. A small dry moat and a low wire fence keep the sheep away from the church but Seb, Vincent and I are free to walk right up to it. Its heavy black door appears firmly closed but the K-Line passes right under it and we can feel its vibrations through the thick wood.

 

Re-energised, we carry on along the Knightley Way, pausing halfway uphill on a sawn-off tree stump for our final rations of food. “Do you think there’s much to see in the next town?” asks Vincent, hopefully. “Town might be overstating it,” I suggest. “If we find a pub we can have a rest,” Seb promises.

 

The top of the hill is busy with hikers, dog walkers and huge trees, many of which have fallen or appear to be about to, creaking away ominously in the breeze. Is it the strong winds up here? Dutch Elm Disease? Basic woodland management? It’s a stunningly beautiful place to visit, even so.

 

We descend through the bluebell woods of Hazley Knob and into Badby, past its church and thatched cottages until we comes across The Maltsters Country Inn. Seb and I have halves of ale, Vincent a coke, while we Google the time of the next bus into Daventry. It’s not long. We find the bus stop and wait.

 

Stuart Huggett


A LETTER FOR THE OTHERMAN #1

Before The K-LINE was unearthed, many seekers started to put two and three together over on the Letters For Tillerman page.

Mr Aster was one such seeker and it seems that The K-LINE is a bone that he will not let go of. He was kind enough to update The Society and he insisted upon a 04-04-24 publication date, and who are we to argue with a man with a line on his mind...


Hi Otherman.

 

I said I would write again and explain how it is that I was in a position to reveal the many secrets of the K-Line last November when it was still, at best, only a partly-solved riddle, with some significant details still unclear to your other correspondents. 

It’s a long story. The truth is, I’ve been aware of it for quite a while now. But I remember the details of my discovery quite clearly.

 

In December of 1998 I bought my first computer with 56K modem and internet access. Of course, as a KLF fan, naturally I entered those 3 letters into Netscape, Yahoo and other search engines to see what online presence there was and soon discovered the old KLF Web Ring. 

In the week leading up to Christmas that year, I woke late at night with a start from a familiar recurring dream I must have had dozens of times feeling restless. Earlier, I’d felt my eyes drooping as I explored the outer-reaches of the KLF Web Ring and so I logged off, but now I was wide awake. Eager to shake the dream and its line of tall birch trees from my mind, I continued my online explorations.

 

And it was there that I first encountered the phrase “the Lost K-Line of Mu”. I was intrigued by it, but had to be patient since I was reading faster than the page was loading. Eventually, on a site that was little more than a rather primitive blog, I read that the JAMs were establishing a sort of ley line with Trancentral at one end and the Matthew Street Manhole cover (whatever that was) at the other end. It was claimed that some of the JAMs’ early graffiti locations had been chosen because they were in alignment with this “Lost K-Line of Mu.”

I’d never heard of the Matthew Street manhole cover before. My curiosity was tweaked, but I was drifting off again so I made a note of it and went back to sleep. I had to finish my Christmas shopping in the morning and, with only a few days to go, I needed to be well-rested. 

Liverpool city centre was everything you’d imagine it to be just a couple of days before Christmas. Thinking it’d offer a brief respite from the crowds, I chose the less-trod route down School Lane and chanced upon a surprising and synchronicitous discovery.

 

At that time, much of the perimeter of the Bluecoat Arts Centre on School Lane was surrounded by a fence, the entirety of which was usually covered in bill posters advertising upcoming gigs and so forth. But on that day, it’s entire length was covered by the unique, freshly-pasted pages of a book blown up to A0 size and stuck there like illegal bill posters. 

 

I read a few sentences nearby and recognised the written style almost immediately. Then I retraced my steps back to page one and began to read. The text was “From The Shores of Lake Placid” by Bill Drummond. It contains Drummond’s clearest and most detailed account of the origins of the Matthew Street manhole cover. 

The seemingly improbable coincidence of this chance discovery was not lost on me. The very thing I’d read a brief, previously-unseen reference to and noted down the night before was right here pasted-up, presumably by Drummond himself. The text referred to the Matthew Street manhole cover as the site where the “interstellar ley lines powered down these cobbled stones”, and I took this to be a possible reference to the Lost K-Line of Mu.

 

Having recently ventured online for the first time, I had only just learned about a few things that chimed with the idea of a KLF ley line, like the pyramid blaster crop circle and the People’s Pyramid as it was originally conceived. The Matthew Street manhole cover and the K-Line seemed to be of-a-piece with these other ideas.

 

Since I first heard of the Matthew Street manhole cover and the K-Line simultaneously, the two have always been connected in my head ever since. It came as quite a surprise to me some years later when I gradually began to realise that, although most other KLF heads were familiar with the Matthew Street manhole cover, no one else had ever heard of the K-Line.

 

With so much else to investigate in KLF lore - truly a planet-sized warren of rabbit holes if ever there was one - I had neglected to search for any mention of the Lost K-Line of Mu for quite some time myself. When I next came to do so I found nothing - not a single mention of it anywhere online.

Years, then decades passed. Although my memories of it all seemed clear, detailed and vivid, I began to wonder if I hadn’t just dreamt or mis-remembered and somehow imagined into existence all this stuff about the Lost K-Line of Mu. After all, I had read about it (or thought I’d read about it) upon waking from a recurring dream involving a different sort of line; one of tall birch trees. Perhaps I had literally just dreamt it up and my memory was playing tricks on me.

 

But then I found another disguised yet still unmistakable reference to it in a book I was reading back in 2019, and it all came flooding back. So I hadn’t just dreamt it up. Here at last was someone else referring to the Lost K-Line of Mu, if by another name, in print - there in Calibri font, on page 54 and following. It IS real; as real as the manhole cover!

 

What book was this? Well, that would be telling. No spoilers! But I confess I’m surprised that its author hasn’t made contact here. I suppose it could be someone whose hands are full, or otherwise occupied…

 

Certainly it’s someone who knows more than they’re letting on, because several other significant details, including as yet unrecorded sites on the line, are discussed in those pages.


This discovery was both encouraging and challenging. I had confirmation of the line’s existence but nothing else to go on. A few more years slipped by, and without any further clues emerging I reasoned that perhaps the K-Line was just another bit of JAMs’ unfinished business, or an abandoned project.

 

But during May half term last year (typically, it was the 23rd) my family and I paused our journey for a short comfort break at Stafford southbound services on the M6. As we were drawing near to the car park my daughter suddenly yelled “look daddy, KLF!” 

 

Emily explained that she’d caught a glimpse of “KLF adverts” on the tall blue permanent sign outside the inn as we drove past. I doubted this but was curious and so wandered over to have a look. To my surprise, she was right, sort of. Feeling a mixture of confusion and delight, I grabbed a few pictures…

Two familiar JAMs images with the phrases “180 miles” and “300 years” crudely scrawled on them. Remember, this was a few months before the KLFRS relaunched “under new management”, a further month until news of the KLF 2323 World Tour broke, and yet another month later until word of the K-Line first appeared on the KLFRS site. So I had, as yet, no clue as to what 180 miles or 300 years referred, but I was determined to find out.

 

Upon returning home to study these strange photos (which yielded no further clues), an inspired thought occurred to me. Perhaps this was in some way connected to the Lost K-Line of Mu. The location, a service station on the M6 was somewhat incongruous with no previous JAMs association I could find.

 

I opened up a map of Great Britain on my laptop and could see on the imaginary line I was drawing on it between Liverpool and London that Stafford appeared to align with it. And how far would that be? I mean, if I had to guess, I’d probably say it’s about 180 miles.

 

It was a bit of a eureka moment really. I knew I needed to check this properly on a map with a much more detailed, appropriate scale, but my instincts were telling me there and then that this was the answer. 

I set to work. I’m no great shakes when it comes to computer software but Google maps was intuitive enough that, after about half an hour, I had an accurate map showing the path the K-Line takes diagonally across England. Zooming in on Stafford services in satellite view, I could see that it cuts right through the tall permanent sign where Emily spotted those JAMs images and slogans. If that wasn’t confirmation enough, Google was also telling me that the line measures exactly 180 miles end to end.

Zooming in on the Liverpool end of the line I could see that it passed through the site where Drummond pasted up “From the Shores of Lake Placid”, then straight through the Blackie, on towards the Anglican Cathedral, literally passing right through St James’ Tower, then on into Toxteth. I counted 4 JAMs-related sites just in that the first mile alone. 

I was clearly on to something that merited further investigation and determined to press on further. An obvious line of enquiry now was simply to explore the route I knew that the K-Line took nearby to see what I could find. 

Not too far away there’s a rugged footpath I was already familiar with from my occasional wanderings, taking in views of the Mersey and Speke airport. I could see from my new Google map that part of this footpath was intersected by the K-Line. It seemed as good a place as any to begin my K-Line explorations.

 

A few days later, drawing close to the end of my afternoon stroll, and to the point where the K-Line cut across my path, I switched on my phone, opened up the map and waited for the blue dot marking my position to appear. 

 

Once I was satisfied I was standing on the exact spot where the K-Line passes through I had a good look around and was not disappointed. “180 miles” again, amongst an otherwise unremarkable line of tall birch trees.

And that was not the end of my discoveries, but it is the point where I choose to end this account for now.

 

Until next time - see you on the K-Line.

 

Gary Aster


BREAKING - THE K-LINE MAY GO FURTHER THAN FIRST THOUGHT

K-LINE researcher Alan Driscoll has proposed the existence of an extended K-LINE or THE EKUATOR as he has termed it.

Quizzed about his findings, he provides both insight and shameless self-promotion, both of which are thoroughly endorsed by THE OTHERMAN.

1. Who do you think put the K-Line there?

2. What is the K-Line for?

The K-Line is being Kollectively Konstructed as we speak, with free reign for poetic license and retroactive attribution of meaning. Poetry and meaning being, of course, the purpose of the K-Line. We're connecting dots - some of which we're stumbling upon, left by others, and some of which we're placing ourselves. Two dots form a connection, and also a combination. Something new is Kreated, and more markers are added to the map.


3. Where does the K-Line end?

Time may be a flat circle, but the K-Line incorporates Space (KLF Communications, 1990), and encircles the Earth without end.

4. Why does the K-Line fascinate all in its path?

Because the Earth People need to Dance.

Last year, The KLFRS posted the following cryptic numbers.

12-258 is the catalogue number of the classic house track 'Dance' by Earth People, released in 1990, so that is evidently a Konnection rather than a Koincidence.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jb6g7K9vGEE

While 4911-1 is the catalogue number of a lego set, specifically a blue lorry.

Which I might ordinarily have dismissed as irrelevant, were it not for the recent shenanigans involving Ice Kream Vans and Justified Lego Lands of Mu.

Also.

Around the turn of the century, (this being the era of my weed-smoking university days is probably not a Koincidence), I found myself experimenting with the idea that it was possible to communicate with people within dreams.

I pestered one particular friend after a dream encounter, but he rudely insisted he could remember nothing of it, and frustratingly, I could recall little myself beyond that I had dreamt about him. Evidently I needed to be more concise with my messaging.

Soon after, I had another dream encounter with a close female friend, with whom I'd always shared a borderline-psychic Konnection. Aware that there was little time between achieving awareness of my dream state and subsequently waking up, I urgently told her that I was going to give her a message to remember, which I would then ask her to relay back to me in real life upon waking.

We were in a field, next to a road. A blue lorry drove past.

"Just remember 'Blue Lorry'," I told her.

I woke up and immediately texted her: Name a random colour and a random vehicle.

She promptly texted back: 'Blue Lorry'.

Now, how impressive exactly is that Koincidence?

It feels significant, but to what extent did I load the question? How many Kombinations of colours and vehicles would it have been possible for her to have chosen? A fair few, I guess, but a lot fewer than if I'd asked her to just name two random words.

So was this significant? Is any of this significant?

Well, significance is in the soul of the beholder. And I behold that it is.

5. How should The KLFRS proceed in light of this new information?

Next chapter of 'Samplecity Thru Transcentral', please. The Earth People need Dance fuel.

Alan

PS. I just remembered something else. The last track on 'Where The Lemon Meets The Teign' is called 'Kitty Jay's Grave Revisited'. 'Revisited' because it's a re-enactment of a song from a previous album, 'Rumours of a Reunion'. And Kitty Jay's Grave as in the real location on Dartmoor, the memorial of spontaneously appearing flowers for a Victorian-era murder victim, which I should probably now add to my Google Map.

Anyway, the opening lyrics are "I've got techno on my headphones, Dartmoor in my soul..."

And I always kinda knew I was subconsciously ripping off the rhythm of that phrase, but I couldn't place from where, as I wasn't able to mentally "hear" anyone's voice singing that specific combination of syllables.

Until I later happened to glance at the tracklisting of 'Chill Out', see the title 'Elvis On The Radio, Steel Guitar In My Soul', and immediately know that's where I'd gotten it from.


PPS; While the 'Ashes to Ashes' music video being filmed right on the Ekuator is definitely impressive, even more so is the forward planning involved in the Ekuator aligning perfectly with a section of the International Dateline, not to mention the antipode of Transcentral being the exact point where the Dateline deviates from the Ekuator.


Now, while Kiribati is technically the first country to experience a new day (or millennium), that has only been the case since 1994, post-KLF, and clearly involved some administrative cheating that, for our purposes of cosmic alignment, it is probably fair to dismiss.

The antipode of Transcentral would therefore seem to mark the spot of a new dawn. Or the best place to take a jump to the left followed by a step to the right, if time warps are your thing.

I'm in Melbourne, so while New Zealand's got an hour on me, it still means I'm in a good position to check streaming services at 00:00 on Fridays and be surprised by new record releases, news of which has yet to reach the rest of the world.

This can involve the joy of realising that, holy shit, Pink Floyd really have just reformed to release a pro-Ukranian anti-war protest song, even if nobody will believe me for another few hours. Or yet another crushing disappointment with another Friday 23rd having passed with no further instalments of 'Samplecity Thru Trancentral' to be seen. And I'll admit, a decreasing faith in the continuation of the project. But, as is becoming clear, you guys are clearly working to a larger timescale than any of us has realised.


WALKING THE LINE #5

MURSLEY TO SILVERSTONE, 23-03-24

  

I’ve managed to catch a lift up to Buckinghamshire this morning thanks to Carolyn Bristow: sea-swimmer, church bell-ringer, budding scriptwriter and, helpfully, my wife. She drops me in Newton Longville then drives off to spend the day in Rushden Lakes with a friend of ours from Corby. With my ailing walking boots patched up with fresh shoelaces, I locate a direct and easy route through the Hounslow Hall country estate and across a few fields towards Mursley to link up again with the course of the K-Line at the top of Cooks Lane.

 

As flock of sheep appear as I cross the Line, being driven towards the village by a farm vehicle with a very excited sheepdog in the back. Could they be offspring of the sheep on the ‘Chill Out’ sleeve, I wonder. Have I perhaps even passed through the ‘Chill Out’ field already without realising it? The Buckinghamshire farmland definitely looks like the right territory.

 

I wave goodbye to the sheep, head into the village and turn right along Main Street. I pass the church of St Mary The Virgin and then a pub called The Green Man. I remember the lines from poet  Pelé Cox on the side of Grenadier Gardens in Chelsea that I saw earlier on in this expedition:

 

CAST OUT THE BIRDS / SING LET ME LEAF / I AM THE GREEN MAN

 

The appearance of this Green Man as we head into spring suggests the poet’s spell is taking effect. The further into the middle of England I walk, the more careful I need to be not to get lost, not to become too much at one with nature, not to fall back through time.

 

Right now, however, the sun is out and the pavement is under my feet. Just before I bend left into Station Road, I get a good view of Mursley’s spindly concrete water tower ahead, a local landmark for miles around that sits proudly on top of the K-Line. The tower is also on the crest of Mursley United FC (‘Green Army’) and I pass plenty of Saturday morning football practice on their pitch as I take the footpath on my right, down a muddy track and back into the countryside.

 

Down through a couple of fields, I cross a lane and then reach a green metal footbridge over a new railway line, part of a rebuilt transport connection between Bicester to the west and Bletchley to the east. The number of train stations near the K-Line hereabouts are few and far between, and indeed my Ordnance Survey map still marks this old route as ‘Railway (disused)’ so it’s heartening to see some public transport returning.

 

The path across the fields takes me beneath pylons and skylarks towards the striking low hump of Norbury Coppice. A brief shower blows over as I’m obliged to skirt the left hand side of the woods. The K-Line cuts straight through them. Passing through the pleasant gardens of a pair of houses in Little Horwood, I then hook a right, then a left, uphill across a large field and into the grounds of Little Horwood Manor.

 

As I crouch down on the manicured lawn to get my bearings, a sudden strong wind rip my OS map from its orange cover, sending it flapping away towards the open field behind me. I give chase, diving on it and pinning it down before I lose possession completely. It’s a classic supernatural trick, the sort of devilish stunt that appears in Jacques Torneur’s ‘Night Of The Demon’ (whose railway line climax was filmed near the K-Line at Bricket Wood station back in Hertfordshire). My guard is up. If I lose the map out here I’ll be in real trouble.

 

Leaving the Manor I turn left down Warren Road, then right, up towards the A421. The cut of a cycle path directs me across the traffic, and I head north onto Little Horwood Road as the K-Line dissects the shipping containers of the Savvy Storage site next to me. Passing a quartet of ageing traffic cones, I follow the dead straight road up towards Nash. I’ve not got time to explore the enticing Woodland Trust idyll of College Wood on my right unfortunately.

 

It’s a good name for a village, Nash. It could remind one of Buckinghamshire’s own surrealist painter Paul Nash, or perhaps the Regency architect John Nash, but today it’s just reminding me of Frankie Goes To Hollywood. I take an uneventful stroll up the High Street, cut left down a footpath and then up Stratford Road, leading to another wonderful view where the countryside to the north opens in front of me for miles and miles. The main thing I can see in the distance, though, is storm clouds.

 

I’d planned to track the footpaths to Thornton College from here but the scattered spats of rain have turned to sleet so I decide to make it easy on myself and take the country roads down to the village. I pass a quartet of cheerful horse riders being followed at a safe distance by a cyclist and we exchange pleasantries.

 

The sun comes back out as I follow Thornton Road with such heat that I’m down to my t-shirt again. I take the right at a T-junction, past the tree lined avenue leading to Thornton Hall a Grade II listed building cut through by the K-Line. I carry on down into Thornton village and take the right turning, up past Thornton College, a boarding and day school for girls, screened from the road by trees. As it’s the Easter holidays, it’s hosting some Ultimate Activity Camps for the general public, so there’s lots of activity and family cars coming and going.

 

The road and the K-Line now both cross the River Great Ouse (‘The Launching Of Canoes And Boats Is EXPRESSLY FORBIDDEN Along This Stretch Of River’) and lead me up to a very busy A422. A sign on the eastbound carriageway welcomes me to Northamptonshire. According to my OS map there’s a bridleway close to the K-Line here on the county border but I can’t find where it starts so I tack a little to the west, aiming to reach Leckhampstead.

 

As soon as I step into the first field, another sudden rainstorm begins. It’s heavy but brief and when it eases I find I’m walking the wrong side of an electric fence as I descend towards the next farm. I jump back over the wire, say hello to a pair of friendly horses, cross a wooden bridge and continue towards the village. After passing some old ruined walls I cut right across a pretty grass field but somehow end up on the wrong side of the path at the far end. I climb the barbed wire topped gate and jump down onto Wicken Road.

 

The lane takes me past an attractive rural road junction decorated with carved wooden roadsigns and a tempting bench for a quick rest, a cereal bar and a couple of mini pork pies, before continuing to Leckhampstead. The village would certainly appear more attractive had the rain not begun again and the view across the River Leck to the Norman church has been temporarily weakened by some recent heavy pruning of the trees on the green. In the little wooden village hall, a party is taking place. There’s a chap hanging out on the porch among bunches of bright balloons but he looks somewhat bored and doesn’t seem up for a chat.

 

The sun breaks through the clouds again as I leave the village, taking a footpath across more fields, under the pylons, around a farm, alongside a winding stream and over another narrow wooden bridge. The K-Line is running parallel to my route a little to my east but I’ll catch up with it when I reach the next village.

 

I stomp across a field heavy with weeds to reach Chapel Lane, following it north before a footpath cuts the left hand corner into Lillingstone Lovell, one of the most beautiful small villages I’ve come across so far. I feel strangely drawn to stay, to enter the 13th century church and settle, but the pull of the K-Line is under my feet again and I stride on.

 

I take the lane out from the village until it meets the A413. The sun beats down on a red car, parked up on a grassy island in the middle of the junction, a woman waiting in the drivers’ seat for someone or something to happen. She’s wearing a crown of ivy. I hurry on by.

 

From here, it would be more direct to follow the K-Line straight up the A413 to Whittlebury but I’m keen to visit the motor racing circuit ahead at Silverstone, so I cross through a gate by the road into a neighbouring field. It appears to be freshly sown, so I edge left around the young plantings to the stile on its far side. Once through a bright patch of grassland I enter an absolutely vast brown field, the old stalks of last year’s crops crunching underfoot as I follow the footpath across it.

 

Beyond are two woods, Shrine’s Wood to the east and Hatch-hill wood a little further to the west. In Shrine’s Wood, I stumble over some collapsing farm shacks and old bits of agricultural equipment, seemingly abandoned. When I reach Hatch-hill Wood the rain starts thundering down again, so I step into the trees for cover.

 

It’s silent and slightly sinister being alone in the trees and, as the ground beneath me turns from woodland path to fallen logs and tangled shrubs, I remember how easy it is to lose your bearings. I decide to get back out into the open but when I step into the fields again I find I’ve lost the footpath. I end up ducking down to squeeze through a hole in a hedgerow, emerging from the twigs and leaves like the Green Man himself, but I can now see Silverstone race track in the distance.

 

The rain is getting heavier and the wind stronger so I get my head down and stride straight across the field, intersecting with a raised footpath on my left as I reach the race course near Becketts Corner. There’s no motor racing today but I can hear plenty of practice driving, roaring round the track out of sight, and there’s a pair of yellow Porsches zooming around on the wet tarmac on the other side of the fence to me.

 

I follow the bridleway anti-clockwise around the course, wondering what sort of hardy horses would brave a trot next to the noise of the Formula 1 Grand Prix. Even on a quiet, non-event day like today, the circuit is noisy. The rain turns to hail as I reach a zone where there’s a lot of what look like modernist chalets being built for Silverstone race goers. Battling the winds, I try to stick a K-Line notice on the perimeter fence but just then a security car drives up so I pretend I’m just re-packing my rucksack, hoping the guards haven’t spotted my scissors, parcel tape and KLF pictures.

 

The storm clears as the bridle path veers through some trees, then across a field of sheep and lambs happily chewing the grass in the shadow of the Silverstone grandstands. I join Winterhills, a lane that takes me on a bridge over the A43 Silverstone Bypass and down to Towcester Road.

 

I text Carolyn to let her know I’ve reached my intended destination for today and kill a bit of time waiting for her to arrive by wandering into Silverstone village itself, down the High Street towards St Michael’s Church and The White Horse pub. The sun’s back out and there’s plenty of people about, all of whom are happy to say Good Afternoon as I pass.

 

I’ve just got time to go up Whittlebury Road as far as Windmill Farm to make my farewells to the K-Line, before trotting back down the hill to the Towcester Road junction. I sit on a bench, change my storm-soaked socks and read today’s chapters of Bill Drummond’s ‘The Life Model’ on my phone.

 

A massive murder of crows circle overhead as Carolyn draws up in her Skoda Yeti. I climb in.

 

“How was it?” she asks. “Are you ok?”

 

“All good!” I say. “Got a bit wet. Not too lost though. I didn’t die! I might sort out registering for MuMufication though, just in case it finishes me off.”

 

“At least you’ll make it to Liverpool,” she replies. “As a brick.”

 

STUART HUGGETT


FIELD REPORT #7

Nr KING'S LANGLEY

GPS: 51.7021174, -0.4451458  

COSTS: Free

DISTANCE FROM THE K-LINE: 223 metres

TRANSPORT LINKS: The M25

FIELD REPORT: Heading out of London, the K-Line crosses the M25 and then, slightly further north crosses, the A41 at a bridge.  The bridge is shown on Google Maps as Langley Lodge Lane. 


On 20 March 2024, a Young Man and his other younger travelling companion were returning home round the M25 at the end of a long day out. Realising there was a possibility to create a Field Report, the Young Man exited the M25 at Junction 20 and attempted to turn on to Langley Lodge Lane. However, it was dark and so he missed the turn.


Half a mile later, he was able to turn round and head back towards the unlit junction, turning right this time into Langley Lodge Lane and headed for the bridge. 


About 50 yards later, his observant travelling companion pointed out an unlit sign*.  In this case, the sign said "Private Road".


Here ended the Young Man's latest visit to the K-Line. 


You're welcome.


*the Young Man has history with signs. 

WALKING THE LINE #4

ALDBURY TO MURSELY, 09-03-24

  

The day is bright and spring-fresh when I head back up onto the Ashridge Estate and easily locate the Tuning Fork Tree, noble and mysterious in the morning sunshine. I hadn’t been able to spot it in the gathering dusk last time we were here but it turns out to be just a few metres into the woods from a Public Footpath sign (Tom’s Hill ½ / Bridgewater Monument 1) I’d stood next to and photographed on our previous visit.

 

The KLF Re-enactment Society had advertised the 9 A.M. start of today’s excursion on the usual platforms for the benefit of any interested fellow walkers. I hung around by the roadside for 23 minutes until it became clear that there were definitely no interested fellow walkers. As today’s adventure ultimately turned out to be the longest and most challenging journey along the K-Line attempted thus far, this was probably just as well. I ended up with one destroyed boot and a bad back for a week but that’s just collateral damage I suppose.

 

At 9.23 I head into the woods in the general direction of the Bridgewater Monument. Built in 1832, the base of the 108 foot Doric column states that it was erected in honour of canal-building pioneer Francis, Third Duke Of Bridgewater, “Father Of Inland Navigation”. The views from the publicly accessible summit are apparently impressive, stretching all the way to Canary Wharf on a clear day, but I’m quarter of an hour too early for the National Trust to have opened up access and am anxious to press on.

 

Descending from the high plateaux of the estate onto Stocks Road, I head along its verge northwards, past where the rooks are rebuilding their nests and across the Hertfordshire / Buckinghamshire border. The mound of Pitstone Hill lies further down the lane but I follow the K-Line more directly by taking the public footpath on my left, across a dry field full of skylarks until I reach the Ridgeway.

 

In use for some 5000 years, the Ridgeway is a contender for the oldest road in Britain, beginning at nearby Ivinghoe Beacon and ending further south and west at Overton Hill near Avebury in Wiltshire. As I turn right towards Pitstone Hill, I feel honoured to be tracing even just a few hundred yards in the footsteps of my ancestors. The view from Pitstone Hill, stretching north over much of the middle English countryside that I am duty-bound to cross, is truly wonderful.

 

I step back onto Stocks Road for a stretch, then head back onto the land to visit another National Trust acquisition, the 400 year-old Pitstone Windmill. It’s too early in the year for public access, so I give it a quick circuit before heading further across the fields towards the houses of Pitstone itself.

 

Arriving on Vicarage Road, I turn right, heading into the village where I chance across the first Ice Kream Van of this expedition. It’s parked outside Pitstone Green Museum, waiting patiently to serve the boys currently engaged in football matches on the park opposite, and their parents, currently engaged in shouting encouragement and abuse at their offspring.

 

Continuing along Cheddington Road, I pass under one of the bridges supporting the West Coast Main Line. The Great Train Robbery of 1963 took place at Bridego Railway Bridge, a short distance up the line on the other side of Cheddington. A rare bit of violence in the countryside. Ronnie Biggs was doing time, until he done a bunk. I don’t know if you heard.

 

Turning right onto Wellington Place, the road to Cheddington lifts over a narrow humpback bridge beside Pitstone Wharf Marina, full of idling canal boats. Cheddington appears to be a perfectly pleasant English village on a quiet morning such as this. I pass The Old Swan pub, a field of sheep and a sign on the village green proudly proclaiming ‘Cheddington: 2000 AD’. I assume this is a millennium celebration of the fact that the village was old enough to be mentioned in the Domesday Book. It’s funny how fast the future dates.

 

I take a right up Church Lane, which peters out into a track. The footpath on my left takes me alongside the beautiful and carefully tended St Giles Church and onto Station Road. There should be a footpath here along the direct path of the K-Line to Mentmore but I can’t spot it so I hang left a little, plodding along a boggy track until I reach Mentmore Road. The wide, grassy footpath along the left hand side of the road is pretty marshy today but I do spot my first deer of the expedition, darting for cover among the trees.

 

Mentmore Towers, a 19th century country house, is looking pretty majestic to my left as I enter the village, passing the impressive Stag public house on my right. A friendly old gentleman is working with his rotorvator across the road from St Mary’s Church and hails me with a welcome Good Afternoon. He’s the only person who speaks to me all day.

 

As family 4x4s zoom past, I descend the road out of the village and down past the cricket club, before the road takes a sharp left and the K-Line continues along the route of a flat footpath across the fields on the right, marked by a hefty, sawn off lump of tree trunk.

 

Across the flat fields I go, the path of the K-Line clearly well-trodden. Deer are becoming numerous now, skipping across the fields as I near. I cross Leighton Road. To the west, the road passes through Wingrave, then links up with the A418 through Rowsham and Bierton into Aylesbury. To the east, I’m not far from Leighton Buzzard. I sit down, pause, and take out my Ordnance Survey maps.

 

The decision. Head along the road to Leighton Buzzard and the train back into London now? Or press on and aim for the railway station at Bletchley? Perhaps foolishly, I opt for the latter, not realising how muddy the terrain was going to become.

 

My footpath catches up with the A418 a bit further on, entering the village of Wing. I pass The Cottesloe School, turn left down Church Street, passing picturesque All Saints Church, bend to the right, then left along the High Street.

 

I walk past The Cock Inn and, as I’m sure it’s bar staff never tire of hearing, it truly does possess a most magnificent cock. Then it’s right again at Stewkley Road, and left up Littleworth until I reach the hamlet of Burcott.

 

Diverting down the hardly used Burcott High Street, a footpath at a bend in the road takes me down through a planting of small trees, across a narrow wooden bridge and over the fields towards Aylesbury Golf Club. I remember, before the internet, going to our college library to try and find out where the PO Box postcode printed on The K Foundation’s newspaper adverts (HP22 4RS) was, being very pleased when we worked out it was in Aylesbury, and then not realising there was much we could do with this information apart from write them a letter. Which we did. Goodness knows what it said but we never received a reply.

 

As I follow the public route across the golf course, today’s walk almost comes to a premature end. I’m picking my way through dozens of mis-hit balls to the right of the fairway when a freshly struck one comes sailing through the air, whizzing past my left ear and thumping into the ground. I signal to the lone golfer on the practice range that I’m unharmed. He ignores me and turns away. Thanks, mate.

 

Beyond the golf club, the land gets increasingly muddy. I cross a ditch spanned by a single plank, then step gingerly over an electric fence, my nether regions protected by a thoughtfully placed plastic seed bag. I repeat the move on the far side of the field and step onto Stewkley Road. A wedding party on a red London Routemaster bus breezes by as I head into the village.

 

I stride past the Carpenters Arms, adding another hostelry to my mental list of pubs to revisit one day. A sign by the war memorial tells me Stewkley is the Best Kept Village in Buckinghamshire. It is pretty neat. I’m not sure why, this far from the sea, I keep passing mothers with pushchairs wearing Dry Robes though.

 

I follow the High Street as is bends left into North End. St Michael And All Angel’s Church is advertising its ‘Messy Church’ Sunday (“Join In - Have Fun - Know Jesus”) which must be a decent weekend option seeing as the nearest pub, The Swan, is currently up for sale.

 

A footpath on my left leads me down into a field of newborn lambs and sheep. “Baa! Baa!” bleat the lambs. Or is it “Back! Back!”? Have the sheep grazing on the K-Line learned to communicate with passing KLF fans or am I starting to lose the plot? I should have listened really.

 

Carefully picking my way around the field’s edge so as not to disturb the flock too much, the footpath takes me across more grassy fields, then into a flooded muddy ditch, which I’m forced to straddle clumsily in order to pass along. Splinters dig into the palm of my hand as I try to steady myself against a wooden fence.

 

I haul myself along and up onto a concreted farm track, waving to a cheerful woman driving past on her tractor who’s definitely laughing at the amount of mud on my jeans and boots. I cross Dean Road at the top of the lane, then just about manage to navigate more mud, flooding and ditches under which the K-Line is submerged, until I finally stumble onto the B4032 Mursley Road.

 

Walking down Main Street into Mursely at least shakes much of the mud from my legs. It’s been cloudy for a while and the sun is beginning to dip so I call a halt to following the line for now. Turning right onto Cooks Lane, it’s only another two hours walk across more farmland, missing several turnings, doubling back around ponds and reservoirs and staggering along boggy field edges with sunken footpath signs lying horizontal in the ditches, before I eventually make it to Newtown Longville and along the main road to Bletchley station. The beer I buy for the train journey home never tasted so sweet.


FIELD REPORT #6

THE M6 SERVICES - NORTH AND SOUTH

GPS: North - 52.872293, -2.161946;  South - 52.470976, -1.547172 

COSTS: Free

DISTANCE FROM THE K-LINE: Northbound - about half a mile;  Southbound - about 10cms 

TRANSPORT LINKS: The M6

FIELD REPORT: On the weekend of 24-25 February 2024, a Young Man on Facebook and his younger travelling companion, traversed the K Line four times while travelling up and down the M6.  The M6 is a motorway which also has a Spaghetti Junction.  Conveniently, the points at which the K Line crosses the M6 are at or close to Motorway Service Stations - Corley (Northbound) and Stafford Southbound. 


To mark these crossings, the Young Man took the opportunity to establish two new Lines of SHITE.  The Line of SHITE is, according to ChatGPT, if not situationist, a somewhat whimsical creation of the Young Man on Facebook.  More information about all of this was posted on gantob.blog in early 2024. 


The points were established by the placement of two copies of 45 by Bill Drummond (2000, Little, Brown) at or near to the intersections of the K Line and the M6 to the north and south - at the service stations mentioned above.  Each copy contained an insert explaining the Line of SHITE, with a postscript referencing the K Line. Other copies of 45 will be placed to complete the establishment of two new Lines of SHITE in due course. 


You're welcome. 

The other placement was possibly captured on cctv in [redacted], but I'd rather you didn't mention that. 



FIELD REPORT #5

2-TONE VILLAGE, COVENTRY

GPS: 52.410305, -1.483750

COSTS: £5.00 Adults, kids under 15 are free

YOU TUBE LINK: https://youtube.com/shorts/GpUv7KZpb6E?si=FRDw3eAftEX9-ALv 

DISTANCE FROM THE K-LINE: 800 metres

TRANSPORT LINKS: Parking around the corner on Clay Street, £1.00 for 2 hours

FIELD REPORT: After tagging and leaving Echills Wood Model Railway, I set off to meet my good friend Angela Varley for a koffee at a midway spot in Coventry. She suggested the 2 Tone Village cafe and we spent our time chatting for over an hour about the days adventures, past adventures and forthcoming adventures and to confess we didn't get to explore the museum but as I hugged her goodbye, I remembered I still had a laminated notice and I was still carrying a brick around in my bag. 

I had found a brick marked Park Brick Keighley' when we had moved into our home (a number 23) and felt a deep affinity with the thing (we are destined to be bricks one day after all) and reflected on Annabelle Pollen's green painted Kibbo Kift brick and wished to knod back to it. As if by magic, the traffic cone appeared. Cementing my faith in the magic of the K-Line once again. 

Tag set and brick parked. Today has been a good day. 

FIELD REPORT #4

ECHILLS MODEL RAILWAY

GPS: 52.5623654, -1.6964831 

COSTS: £3.30 parking off season Train £2.00 return under 2's Free  

YOU TUBE LINK: https://youtube.com/@charliemonk2?si=6jqlHT0tJuTcZGIn 

DISTANCE FROM THE K-LINE: 0 metres

FIELD REPORT

I got the call from The Otherman, I'm not sure if I volunteered or I was summoned but I picked up the gauntlet and as my husband has an event to attend in Solihull I made a quick map check figured it was as good a place as any to road trip to on the K-Line tagging mission. 


Not wanting to go in blind. I randomly stick a pin in the Google map and scan the area for places of interest. Google search ‘Standing Stones and Monoliths’ gives me nothing so perhaps ‘attractions’ will rustle up something? I don't hold out much hope as the most recent Google review is a bridge noted by the reviewer as ‘People think they can park here to not pay the cost of parking in the water park (£4) causing great annoyance to the local residents in the old mill which are mainly elderly… please park elsewhere.‘ not the welcoming I was seeking. I check the street view anyway, in hope of a tiny nugget of inspiration. 

There's a small group of cars parked there,  fuelling the reviewers huff and a bridge, obviously. Zooming in as far as the Google cam will let me, I spot a figure on the other side of the bridge. A Hi Viz jacket is detected. 

OK it's not much to go on but if I'm going to walk blind into a 125 mile  pilgrimage to the midlands to stick a flag in a spot that doesn't even know it is of huge importance yet, it might as well start there. (or at least at the nearby £4 car park as to not upset the grumpy reviewer) 

Close by I spot a cluster of lakes close to where the K-Line intersects the M42 and allow instinct and the laws of chaos to point the rest of the way. 

Tracing the path up towards the epicentre of the line I spot ‘Echills Model Railway’. 

E Chills! A midway stop between Liverpool, the Black E and Trancentral itself.

I'm fully invested now and start to plan my manoeuvres. 


ALL ABOARD! 

E-Chills or Echills Model Railway is a perfect easy walk with the kids or the dog. Spike isn't with me today (some of you will remember him from TDoD 2019 & 2021) but he would have loved it here. The weather ti's bright and there are signs of spring shoots all around. 


KROSSING THE LINES

52.5623655-1.6964831

Finding my first intersection of the train line and the K-Line was incidentally where the footpath and tracks crossed and 3 drunken traffic cones lay. 

Dutifully, I repositioned them and retraced my footsteps to try to get a bit closer to the M42 /K-Line crossing and I can hear the traffic but the mud and the train tracks, stop me in mine. 


I BEG YOUR PARDON, I NEVER PROMISED YOU A GNOME GARDEN. 

52.564207,-1.698220

My preliminary recky told me there was a ‘Gnome garden’ here so like a good girl scout, I prepared a Hi Viz wearing G.N.O.M.E as a marker but read reports that they had been vandalised in the past so I wondered if it would all work out. 


As I walked the line closer towards the K-Line I discovered their fate was that they were now locked away behind bars so fearing for his freedom I pulled out a sharpie and execute plan B. 

On the base I quickly write on the base:

“Property of the KLF Reinactment Society. If found please return to a location between L2 6RE & SW4 6QD. or KLFRS.COM”


G.N.O.M.E is now free to roam! 

His primary location is in the YouTube video link

https://youtu.be/Ci7DFsFdmkY


Heading away from the Gnome Jail along the woodland path that runs next to the train track in a clockwise direction, There is a long, mossy, fallen tree trunk with a hole in the stump. Climb over that and there is a further fallen tree trunk parallel to it. G.N.O.M.E is behind it. 

I fear the brambles may take over soon so be quick. 


Please feel free to change his location and send his coordinates as you see fit. 


KATTERPILAR TRACKS

Continuing past this marker is a large bug hotel and wooden Katerpillar (Mirroring my Kolin the Katerpillar offering to the Dispensary on 23.11.23) 

Tags dropped, I return back to the car to complete and submit my findings to The Otherman and check in for a much needed catch up with a friend who suggests we meet for drinks in Coventry….. Good job I brought a second K-Line Notice and an extra marker. 

FIELD REPORT #3

THE GRIM UP NORTH BRIDGE

 

GPS: 51.660260 -0.347365 

COSTS: Free entry 

YOU TUBE LINK: https://youtu.be/1l0nsMFQCrM?si=DIj53tb5JKVjvWIZ 

DISTANCE FROM THE K-LINE: 2.3 km

TRANSPORT LINKS: From Watford's High Street, catch the 602 bus to Hatfield from stop F. As it's leaving North Bushey, alight on Hartspring Lane by Park Avenue, just before the A41 roundabout. The bridge is a one mile walk away.  
FIELD REPORT

The bridge over the M1 motorway which The Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu graffitied 'It's Grim Up North' onto is almost criminally accessible on foot. From the roundabout with Hartspring Lane, walk south-east along the A41 Elton Way in the direction of London. Cross the road when you reach McDonald's and walk a little way up adjacent Sandy Lane. It's anything but Sandy, in fact it's as Grim and litter-strewn as anything you'd find up North. A metal security fence on the right separates you from a Caravan Park but it ceases just before the lane crosses the motorway. Duck into the bushes here and only a very low brick wall stands between you and M1 carriageway. The JAMs' slogan has long been painted over, as have many more years of graffiti efforts, but the view of the bridge is unchanged. 

WALKING THE LINE #3

WATFORD TO ALDBURY, 17-02-24

 

It’s a grey Saturday morning when I reconvene with Seb. Despite getting thoroughly soaked by the rain here last week, he’s not been put off our mission and has brought his teenage son Vincent along for the ride. Joining us is Nick Verlaine, a Hertfordshire born and bred university colleague of mine, who’s suffering from unwelcome college party flashbacks when we find him outside Watford Junction station.

 

Nick knows the countryside around this stretch of the K-Line like the back of his hand and suggests we follow the Grand Union Canal out of town. We head down Langley Road, past some of the most sought after properties in Watford. Geri Halliwell country. We reach the A41 Hempstead Road, then take the footpath down to the water at Grove Mill Lane.

 

From here the canal follows the course of the River Gade. We’ll only be a few hundred metres either side of the K-Line here, as the waters wind from one side to another across its unwavering course. None of the narrowboats are moving, their owners either tending to the upkeep of their craft or lounging about on the bank with family and friends.

 

The most energy hereabouts is coming from the abundant birdlife. We spot small flocks of long-tailed tits, a grey heron on the hunt, coots and moorhens cutting across the water and the last few parakeets emigrating from the city.

 

At the first intersection of the K-Line with the canal, near Hunton Bridge, we pin up a K-Line Notice as a marker. Uphill to our east we can see part of the Warner Bros. Studios complex at Leavesden, home of The Making Of Harry Potter experience. Nick works in the movie industry these days, and regales us with unrepeatable tales of chaotic film shoots and hapless directors from far less successful franchises than the Harry Potter one.

 

A pair of Mandarin ducks float by as we approach a particularly picturesque lock, much to the delight of the adults in our party. I’m not sure Vincent is as excited, he’s been busy thinking of ways to speed up our journey. What if we attached loads of buoys and big motor to a narrowboat? What if we hijacked an oil tanker? What if we tied ourselves to the legs of a goose?

 

We pass beneath the concrete legs of the M25 near Junction 20, wondering if Gimpo is out there on one of his 24 hours spins, as the canal enters Kings Langley, former home of Ovaltine. Above us, a pair of crows are attempting to mob a red kite, while across the water a swan is having a territorial argument with some Canada geese.

 

Pressing on through Apsley we catch sight of Hemel Hempstead’s K D Tower, a blue monolith of apartments redeveloped from the old Kodak building. So much K power in plain sight. Below the tower block, the traffic navigating Hemel’s famed Magic Roundabout junction spins in confused eternity.

 

With the occasional roar of the West Coast Main Line railway alongside us, we connect with the K-Line again at the Winkwell Swing Bridge, stopping off for refreshment at The Three Horseshoes. The pub’s been sitting here on the K-Line since 1535, thriving on the passing trade of travellers unwittingly drawn to its centuries old power.

 

Everyone’s happy to attempt the final cross-country leg of the day so we carry on along the canal a little further. We pass a narrowboat called T’Pau and, creating a sudden bit of late 80s Top Of The Pops synchronicity, it’s moored next to a ship called Dignity.

 

We finally leave the canal just outside Berkhamsted, heading up Ivy House Lane into the Chiltern Hills. “I hope this bit’s less boring” says Vincent. He truly is our Boswell.

 

I’m attaching another K-Line notice to a bridleway sign at the edge of Berkhamsted Common when a retired dog walker approaches us in a state of minor agitation. “Excuse me, that’s not a planning permission sign, is it? We like the land around here to stay just as it is, you understand.”

 

We stand aside to allow the gentlemen to read the notice and a distant memory starts coming back to him. “Ah, the K-Line, of course! My old grandad had an allotment at Potten End before the war and he always planted his carrots in a different direction to everyone else. He DID say it was because of the K-Line but I always thought the old fellow was mumbling something about the soil being alkaline. He always was a wise one!”

 

With our new friend’s best wishes, we enter the common, passing the trenches dug into the land by the Inns Of Court Officers Training Corps as preparation for combat in the Great War. Heading deeper into the muddy woodland of the Ashridge Estate, the GPS on Seb’s phone begins to fail and even Nick’s sense of direction is deserting him. Vincent, meanwhile, is taking running jumps over the puddles.

 

Fortunately we’ve got a thumping great Philip’s Street Atlas of Hertfordshire in my rucksack, 25 years old but still accurate down to every field, farm and copse. Keeping near the K-Line, we aim for the Outwood Kiln Cottages. We almost lose our way at the last minute, drifting to the south and onto the B4056 before recovering our route, drawing closer to the mystical signals emanating from the Tuning Fork Tree.

 

By the time we reach the cottages, the light is starting to fail and our tree target has blended back into the encroaching darkness. Never mind, we’ll find it another day. Mission almost accomplished, Nick recognises we’re on Tom’s Hill Road so he confidently leads us downhill to Aldbury and the end of today’s walk.

 

It’s been a very long day as we finally stagger into the village. There’s a set of medieval stocks on the green. I’m slightly surprised my friends don’t put me in them.


Stu


WALKING THE LINE #2

FRYENT COUNTRY PARK TO WATFORD, 10-02-24

Picking up the course of the K-Line at Fryent Country Park, I’m joined for this leg of the journey by school friend, painter and musician Seb Wyatt. He’s well informed on all things psychogeographical and will prove to have a valuable second set of eyes on today’s walk.

 

Waling up Fryent Lane, we discover fresh water coursing down the pavement, the heavy rains of the previous week causing a natural spring to overflow. While part of the western side of the park was planted in the 18th century, the eastern side features hedgerows and meadows that date back to medieval times. This ancient agricultural use and the presence of the springs show just how historically fertile the path of the K-Line is.

 

After a short wander through the boggy fields, we re-join Fryent Lane, heading north into Kingsbury, then west down Kenton Road. The K-Line passes through dozens of suburban houses and gardens around here, so we keep it as close as possibly by cutting up Shrewsbury Avenue and the narrow and winding Glebe Avenue.

 

On Streatfield Road I pick up some walking fuel in the Londis: a chicken and mayo sandwich, a lamb samosa, some Maoam chews and bottle of Rubicon fruit juice. Seb is getting the impression my diet hasn’t changed much since school. He’s right.

 

Turning up Culver Road we pass Centenary Park, “The Home of 6-a-side Football”, although curiously for a Saturday afternoon we can’t see anyone playing. We carry on zig-zagging west and north and find ourselves on Wetherall Drive (“Fail we may, sail we must” as Andy Weatherall had it, another useful motto for us).

 

Weston Drive takes us to Belmont Circle, one of those numerous 1930s shopping parades and roundabouts that speckle Greater London. On Beverly Gardens, a bobby on the beat breaks from his chat with a local resident and a woman from the Salvation Army to bid us good morning, although his friendliness disguises his concern at seeing two muddy blokes with rucksacks so out of place among the fine houses and smart cars we’re passing.

 

Starting to tire of suburbia, we thankfully reach Belmont Hill. A narrow footpath buried in damp leaves takes us up and over Stanmore Golf Club, although again we see nobody playing. There are glimpses of an excellent view back south, however. A pair of Egyptian geese are frolicking on the fairway and a ring-necked parakeet poses tamely on the branches above us.

 

The footpath exits onto Gordon Avenue and by far the most well to do houses we’ve encountered yet. I consider tying a K-Line Notice to a lamppost but then remember our friendly policeman and think better of it. Meanwhile, Seb clocks we’re passing Drummond Drive. There’s several Drummonds in my Philips Street Atlas of London but no Cautys. At least, not yet.

 

Entering Kenton Lane near The Seven pub, we recognise that we’re passing through an old village, still part of the London sprawl but a sign that the urban city is now fragmenting, green spaces, woods and commons opening up ahead of us.

 

Clamp Hill begins our ascent to the high ridge above north London. Warming up with the climb, I’m down to my K2 Plant Hire t-shirt. A black car powers downhill towards us, shouting something quite possibly KLF related out the window as it zooms past. We’re unable to make out what’s being sung but if that was you driving, tick off a box in your i-Spy Book Of The K-Line.

 

Higher and higher we go, stepping off Common Road for the wooded shade of adjacent Harrow Weald Common. Someone’s dumped a fairly new looking fridge freezer down the bank, somewhat carelessly even for a fly-tipper as Seb realises that they’ve left the compressor attached. Scrap metal merchants, take note, there’s copper in them there hills.

 

We emerge at the top of the woods and take Hive Road onto Bushey High Road, running parallel to the K-Line. On our left, some mighty electricity pylons stand on Larken Drive. To the south, they stretch towards the spot where the K-Line and the National Grid first intersect. Checking our Ordnance Survey map, we trace the transmission line to the north, where it reaches the huge substation on Hilfield Lane, right beside the M1 bridge that The JAMs painted their ‘It’s Grim Up North’ graffiti on.

 

This is too much of a coincidence. Has the UK government been stealing energy from the K-Line all this time? Determined to investigate, we race downhill through Bushey, ignoring the rain showers, before turning right onto Falconer Road just before the K-Line crosses the High Street.

 

Up Finch Lane we go, past the former Royal Masonic School For Boys and onto the sodden footpaths across Bushey Manor Fields. An RAF Bomber crashed here during a training exercise in 1943, killing its crew of five. A plaque commemorates the dead.

 

Further across the field, a tall telephone mast stands alone, conspicuously camouflaged as a tree. Skirting the Jewish Cemetery we squeeze past the traffic backed-up on Sandy Lane, dodge our way across the busy A41 and locate the It’s Grim Up North bridge.

 

Directly in front of us, the electricity substation crackles malevolently, keeping its secrets behind unsurmountable fencing. We stare and wonder but there’s nothing we can do.

 

Starting down the lane, right next to the substation is the Dharam Marg turning, leading to the mock Tudor country house donated, as Seb suddenly remembered, by George Harrison to the Hare Krishna movement. A Beatles connection then. All You Need Is Love? Maybe George was on a mission to counter the draining of the K-Line energy. Good old George.

 

We pass a Second World War pillbox and reach Patchett’s Green, stopping off for a pint to mull over this afternoon’s discoveries. This is clearly a major site of K-Line related interest. A visit to our Hare Krishna friends at Bhaktivedanta Manor will need to be arranged.

 

Decision made, we take a more leisurely walk down Aldenham Lane, catching up with the K-Line’s course at the bottom of Bushey Hall Lane where it crosses the flooded River Colne. Abandoned shopping trolleys bob around helplessly.

 

Edging around the shopping centre ring road on our way to Watford Junction, we pass a skate park. There’s no-one skateboarding. There’s no-one at all. Where the hell is everybody?


Stuart Huggett


FIELD REPORT #2

THE TUNING FORK TREE, ALDBURY, TRING

 

GPS: 51.7971840, -0.5909310

COSTS: Free entry 

DISTANCE FROM THE K-LINE: 23 metres.

TRANSPORT LINKS: From Tring, take the 387 Aldbury bus for five stops and get off at Pond. The Tuning Fork Tree is then a 23 minute walk through the Ashridge Estate.
FIELD REPORT

The Tuning Fork Tree is a K-LINE HOTSPOT, marking the precise point where the district line to Stonehenge meets The K-LINE mainline. From Aldbury, Toms Hill Road winds its way through the woods of the Ashridge Estate. After a sharp left turn in the road, there is a parking area on your right. The Tuning Fork Tree is on the opposite side of the road, 23 metres off the beaten track, close to the Outwood Kiln Cottages. As I approached the tree the chirping of the birds faded away to reveal a deep, slowly oscillating tone, a clear signifier of the K-LINE drawing power from Stonehenge. My phone made the sound of a cable being attached and it was then I knew I had tapped into something incredible. To help to guide future KONDUCTORS, I left my tag and returned home, jolted awake and ready for more. 

WALKING THE LINE #1

It is a bright Sunday morning and the riverside is thronging with joggers and cyclists. Weaving past them I cross at the lights and head up Chelsea Bridge Road. I catch a fragment of Pelé Cox’s cut and pasted poem that stretches around the walls of the flats of One Grenadier Gardens on my right: “CAST OUT THE BIRDS / SING LET ME LEAF / I AM THE GREEN MAN”. These snatches may serve me well on this traipse across England. Cast out the birds, motherfuckers!

 

The K-Line cuts across my path as I negotiate the roadworks around Sloane Square. Heading up Sloane Street, everyone is wearing designer shades against the not exactly overpowering glare of the winter sun, even the toddlers in their pushchairs.

 

Turning left down past the grand red townhouses of Pont Street, the K-Line passes through the imposing Scottish Presbyterian church of St Columba’s on the corner ahead, as I bend into Beauchamp Place.

 

A café has caught fire, the staff standing outside on the pavement while the fire fighters deal with the smoke. Across the street, The Map House shop is closed on Sundays so I’m unable to browse the antique maps within. It’s been trading since 1907. In another 100 years it could be selling vintage maps of the K-Line too.

 

Crossing Brompton Road, I enter some of the narrow side streets of South Kensington, catching a glimpse of Brompton Oratory as I track through Montpelier Street and Trevor Place towards the southern edge of Hyde Park.

 

I enter, as the K-Line does, by the Prince Of Wales Gate and dawdle along the paths of Kensington Gardens, flocks of geese and screaming parakeets passing overhead. I don’t remember this many parakeets in London 20 years ago so I assume they’re still breeding, multiplying and expanding their range outwards. I wonder how far they’ve spread their range now. Maybe I’ll find out.

 

I leave the park on the north side opposite J. M. Barrie’s house on Lenister Terrace. “Second star to the right, and straight on ‘til morning” is as good a guide to following the K-Line as any.

 

From Lenister Gardens I wriggle through the back streets of Bayswater, across Bishop’s Bridge Road, past Porchester Hall and over the metal bridge by Royal Oak tube station. Pan Sonic’s remix on the ‘Fuck The Millennium’ 12” was the ‘Royal Oak Mix’. Synchronicity at work.

 

Under the Westway I go, and so does the K-Line. I follow the weave of Harrow Road westwards through Maida Hill until it curves to the north at the intersection of the K-Line and Elgin Avenue, a reminder I’m currently in Joe Strummer’s old territory.

 

I take a right turn at Third Avenue, to catch the K-Line again as it cuts the corner of Queens Park Gardens. There’s not much to see in this little residential park until you climb the small grassy mound in its centre and catch the view south to Trellick Tower, rising above the rooftops.

 

Carrying on along Ilbert Street, I re-join the bustle of west London on Chamberlayne Road. Ahead of me on the right is Moberly Sports Centre, the name chiming with that of artist and frequent Bill Drummond collaborator Tracy Moberly.

 

Once across the railway lines at Kensal Rise tube, Chamberlayne Road becomes more suburban as it extends northwest. I take a left at Chambers Lane, a sudden rise and fall in the road affording a pleasant view across Gladstone Park and Dollis Hill.

 

Getting back into the bustle of Willesden Green High Road, I press on. A sculpture on the intersection of the High Road with Dudden Hill Lane features the four points of the compass embedded into the pavement. I take it as a sign that my quest is valid.

 

Following Dudden Hill Lane, I pass the plaque commemorating young PC Ronan McCloskey, killed by a car in 1987 while attempting to breathalyse its driver. I press on past the College Of North West London, past the mural celebrating the heroism of the Grunwick Film Processing Lab strike, and on into Neasden.

 

On Neasden Roundabout, the K-Line crosses The Grange, a 300 year old building available to rent for social events, so an ideal space for future KLF Re-enactment Society konferences. The arch of Wembley Stadium stretches across the sky in the west.

 

I pause to admire the imposing Bob Marley mural by Mr Cenz on the Laundercentre on Birse Crescent. In 1972 Bob and The Wailers lived nearby on The Circle, as they began to establish themselves in the UK. The Wailers’ debut British gig took place on 16th July that year, supporting Johnny Nash at Bexhill’s De La Warr Pavilion, and coincidentally Jimmy Cauty’s ADP World Riot Tour has arrived at the De La Warr this same weekend.

 

Ducking below the North Circular through Neasden Subway, I emerge on Neasden Lane. Continuing northwest I cross the River Brent, then onto Salmon Street and up into Fryent Country Park. A pair of green parakeets scream a welcome to me.

 

Walking through London from centre to edgelands today has seen me cross the whole social strata of the city, from the nouveau riche Made In Chelsea set to the “strikers in saris” of the Grunwick Strike. It’s becoming apparent that justified synchronicities are continuing to appear too. The Lost K-Line Of Mu evidently has more surprises in store.

 

Stuart Huggett


FIELD REPORT #1

HYDE PARK / KENSINGTON GARDENS

 

GPS: 51.504484 -0.175100

COSTS: Free entry between 6am and dusk.

YOU TUBE LINK: https://youtu.be/vkKGDsLEmrM?si=cvSir_z7CKzL1eH6
DISTANCE FROM THE K-LINE: 0 miles.

TRANSPORT LINKS: London Underground stations Lancaster Gate, Marble Arch, Hyde Park Corner and Knightsbridge all lie next to the parks.
FIELD REPORT

The largest open space in central London, the twin Royal Parks of Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park are evenly bisected by the K-Line. To follow the K-Line through the parks, enter at the Prince Of Wales Gate on the south side and track it as it cuts through the Serpentine Gallery, past the Physical Energy Statue on Lancaster Walk and out of the north side opposite the blue plaque to ‘Peter Pan’ author J. M. Barrie on Lenister Gardens. Having been open to the public for hundreds of years, everyone surely knows something about Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, whether it’s the big open air concerts (Bill Drummond has written about attending the famous 1969 Rolling Stones gig there and leaving before the end https://thequietus.com/articles/31955-corrugated-iron-bill-drummond-david-keenan-john-higgs), the Albert Memorial, the Serpentine (wild swimming is available), Speaker’s Corner or the Diana Memorial Fountain (the Princess Of Wales has her own posthumous connection to the The KLF, after their Barbican concert comeback as 2K was postponed following her death). Being honest, outside of the summer months the parks can be a bit flat and drab, but there’s always the parakeets. 

05/02/24


Dear Otherman

 

Following its unearthing last year by diligent members of The KLF Re-enactment Society I must admit that I’m finding myself drawn ever deeper into studying the mysteries of the Lost K-Line Of Mu.

 

Last October I began my investigations on foot, following its assumed origin at Trancentral in Stockwell, northwards until I reached the River Thames, and uncovering some interesting synchronicities on the way.

 

By the time Christmas was drawing near, the true course of the K-Line had finally been discovered and plotted. I had the sensation that Time Was Running In so, using public transport, I made a few quick stops at potential points of interest across north London until I reached the Hertfordshire countryside. The New Year turned, the world kept spinning, and the greater lengths of the K-Line remain unstudied.

 

Now I’m very much in favour of fellow society members exploring the length of the line by whatever means possible, whether driving the nearest motorways, A and B roads, suburban avenues and leafy lanes, criss-crossing the country by public bus or taking the nearest adjacent rail journeys. I hope that they do and that we may read about their discoveries on the KLFRS website.

 

But I now feel my calling is to track the line’s entire 180 mile length on foot. I’m hoping to achieve this journey, south to north, from London to Liverpool, Thames to Mersey, before 2024 reaches its conclusion. Hopefully by 23rd November, all being well.

 

On some stretches I will be accompanied by friends and fellow members of The KLFRS. Other times I must travel alone, looking for Tags and Signs that signify I am True To The Trail.

 

First, I will pick up my pedestrian wanderings where I left off back in October. On the north bank of the Thames, opposite Battersea Power Station. A few short walks will take me out through London and into the Home Counties. After that I’m beyond the familiar territory of my youth and heading deep into the heart of England, through farms an