Highgate and the surrounding area is one that I know very well for as long as I can remember. In the last 12 months I have been much more intimately acquainted with all things N6. Swain's Lane is quite good for cyclists - especially Brompton riders - as it provides quite a challenge, with a testing gradient. Just behind me in the photo below are the East and West entrances to Highgate Cemetery - one of the magnificent seven Victorian cemeteries in London. During the day, when this photo was taken and I had Mrs Orange and the Orangettes as company, there isn't a problem. Safety in numbers and all that. It is when the sun sets that things can get...interesting.
Now before you say it, no I do not believe in ghosts or anything like it - despite the rather gothic surroundings of Highgate - but I do not like cycling up Swain's Lane at night or in the early hours well before sunrise. I cannot count the times where I have started to cycle / walk up it to be greeted by fog slowly drifting over from either the East or West side of the cemetery (or both)!
So, I found myself cycling back and having to go up Swain's Lane only a few days ago, at a time when the few people that might be about were almost certainly fast asleep for a few hours. Thankfully there was no fog this time but as I cycled up I heard horses hooves clip clopping ahead in the distance. I turned my Exposure Toro light to it high setting just in case and vered more to the left, just in case. In doing this the sound stopped. As I turned the slight camber in the road, half expecting to see some lunatic on a horse, I saw nothing. Cycling up to the top I heard no more sounds and saw nothing. All rather strange... I suspect you will ask, had I been drinking? The answer to that is no as I am tea total and always have been.
Telling Mrs Orange, she was not surprised and asked whether when at Pond Square I saw someone dressed as Colonel Sanders or Dracula and that perhaps it was the ghost of the long lost thoroughbred racehorse Shergar. It took a few moments for me to realise that Mrs Orange was joking with me and referring to some of the more famous supposed ghosts of the area and a famous horse that disappeared in mysterious circumstances!
I have been up Swain's Lane since this happened both at night and very early in the morning and thankfully seen and heard nothing. Should you find yourself in the same position, perhaps keep it to yourself!
Until next time, stay safe out there people!