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The Paddington arm of the Grand Union canal, Yeading to Greenford

Now this might seem a strange length of canal for an e-eulogy but it so happens that I travel it regularly from my home moorings at Willowtree Marina  to the Black Horse pub  at Greenford. The reason for this is that I meet up with friends at a 'mutually inconvenient' location, The Cheshire Cheese on Fleet Street which is just about a 45 minute rattle along the Central Line from Greenford Station.

My plan is to try and take a few photographs each time I do the trip and will put them up here. I have also started what I am rather grandly calling Wildlife 2010 which is really a collection of photographs of coots nests. So far it has one other, rather spectacular entry, the BIG CAT! which just goes to show what you can do with a bit of imagination and a blurry photograph.

I'm also intending to include some bits of the land journey from the Black Horse to The Cheshire Cheese . Both canal and rail follow or cross the A40 which was my regular route into London when I was working, so there are several landmarks which were familiar from my journey to work, which now seen from the other side so to speak.

There are lots of links to the Paddington arm, most concentrate on its 'more interesting reaches', further to the East. This one describes walking its full 12.5 mile length.

I will try and keep the sequence of pics geographically correct though they may be taken on the outward or inward passage which I hope won't be too confusing.

March 20 2010

The journey starts at Willowtree Marina,


Cribbit on her home mooring

She is moored in the 'inner basin' which means that the first operation is to raise the bascule bridge move through it and then close it again afterwards.


More of the inner basin


The bascule bridge and marina office


Tied up to lower the bridge


Entrance to the marina


Engineer's Wharf


The soon to be demolished factory


Crane constructing yet more flats


Backwards view showing the factory


Open view towards the A40


Southall gasometer seen above the houses

The Southall gasometer is one of my landmarks which I like to use it to orientate myself.


Multi-use of the towpath


Multi-use of the towpath




BW barge Limehouse gathering garbage

The cut is particularly messy at the moment with a winterful of miscellaneous rubbish. Had to stop at almost exactly this same spot on the way back as the prop was well fouled with plastic bags. Remains of black, white, blue, orange, as well as printed ones, almost a full set.


Its good that they are getting it cleared


Bridge carrying the A40 over the canal

Tried to get the Oxford Tube in as well but they are gone in a flash. The Oxford Tube, or more likely the X90 were my regular conveyances in my days as a 'dashing commuter' to London from Oxford but that I only did it for the weekends.


Highline Yatching's moorings


A long length, doubled up


and still they go on


I'm always pleased when I reach the end

NB Balzac is the last boat and his bust graces the towpath, he is also my sign to speed up again at last.


Here he is in all his glory


Actually managed to get onto the visitors moorings, well almost!


All appears green here but it is deceptive

That is the journey to Geenford and my intention is to make up a similar set of photos each time I do it. I'm missing several this time as the memory card slipped in the camera.

I'm also going to do a similar one of wildlife. I have pics of 4 coot's nests which I will hope to follow as the spring develops AND for once only I suspect, I have one blurry pic of a BIG CAT!

April 8

Headed for London as the weather forcast for home was dire but slightly better there. I was expecting a big change since my last trip but was somewhat disappointed. It was a lot warmer operating the boat though and I returned from Greenford wearing just a tee shirt.


The blackthorn fully out


The footbridge


Must be warmer! Traffic on the cut


Moored for the night in BIG CAT country


Footbridge before the A40


The Central Line and Highline moorings

April 28 2010

A quick trip down this time, mostly to have a beer at the Cheese on wednesday as usual, as heading up to Sheffield for baby sitting duties on thursday.


Out onto the cut


The flat development sign, all but hidden by leaves


Big cat country, dull day so no gasometer


Managed to get a pic of the Oxford tube at last

Probably I'll still keep trying, at least until I get one where you can see a little commuter's face pressed against the glass gazing longingly at the cut like I used to do.


Could it be that spring is here?


The Central Line and Highline moorings


Central line heading, like us, to Greenford Station


Approach to the Black Horse, Greenford, visitors moorings, Wembley arch just visible


Greenford Park


Visitors moorings AND a place for me to moor

This week we are taking the camera into London with us, a different perspective.


The Black Horse from the other side


The Hovis factory, one of the smells of the cut


Greenford Park from the other side


Auriol Drive

Now I always have a problem with the name of this road, and the next one, Ockham Drive. Just where do these two names come from? They don't actually mean anything, and this might be the point, but they ALMOST do. Each time I see them they occupy a few minutes of my tiny mind exploring where they might take me.

Auriol Drive: Is it that my hearing isn't very good perhaps? Or is this, 'not a 'very good areal for aeriels' as Ann was once told in Bristol when her TV didn't work. {Bristol was originally called Bristow, but its inhabitants even then, put 'ls' on the end of words and so it became Bristol.

Perhaps they mean that they keep herds of extinct cattle, or paint their likeness on the sides of their buildings. [aurochs].

Or is there a great fake biscuit factory there making counterfeit Orio cookies? To those of you who don't know, Oreo cookies are round biscuits made by mixing chocolate floor sweepings with sawdust and then drilling a hole in one of them before sticking them together with a mixture of cement and sugar.

And then there is always the Baltimore Orioles but that baseball isn't very popular in the UK.

Of course it could be the other sort of Baltimore Oriole but they are not a common bird on the cut.

Just what they have against seriffed fonts I don't know but that sign looks like it might be in Arial font.

Perhaps an aerial view of the site would be more enlightening than the canalside view?

At one time, I used to hanker after an Ariel motor bike.

Ockham Drive

Ha! You thought I had forgotten about Ockham! Not so! I think that Occam holds the solution to all my musings, though the spelling is a little variable. Occam's Razor was first posited by Occam and states that the simplest solution is usually the correct one. This is a much used principle in physics and makes me think I am just trying too hard and it could be that those names were devised especially so that they didn't mean anything.


Chip shop opposite Greenford Station


Southall gasometer from Greenford Station platform


The other side of the Hoover Building from the tube at Perivale station

The Central line and the A40 follow much the same route up to Marble Arch, so familiar sights from the bus on the A40 are seen 'from the other side' from the tube.


Exiting from Chancery Lane Station

Heading for the Cheese

Some Autumnal pics


Leaving Willowtree, remember the blackthorn blossom of springtime?


Autumn on the cut


Moored in Greenford


The sign for the Railway pub!

February 11

They are making progress knocking down the factory. For a short while, the new flats will have a glimpse of the canal. So much for the marketing hype!


Down it goes



A brief view of the new flats

February 18

One week later. I used to use this view to gauge the onset of spring by how much of the factory I could see through the verdant greenery. Soon it won't have anything to hide.

Look back to the pics from last year for comparison.




I'm not the only one obsessed with this! Little Old Men sit on this wall and watch the destruction all day, every day


But not for much longer

February 25

Another week and there isn't a lot left



Someone will soon be very disappointed

I've seen him so much, we are becoming old friends.




March 23

Nothing to look at and no-one to look at it.



March 2011

Central Line bridge

The Black Horse has quite a few photographs on its walls of scenes around old Greenford, including this one of a bridge across the canal. Now I am pretty certain that this where the Central Line crosses the canal, about 1km west of the Black Horse and at the end of the Highline Yatching moorings and NB Balzac. In those days, it was one track working, and when you go under the bridge you can see that one section of it is older than the other, though both have the modern superstructure. So, what do you think? northoltold.jpg

The old photograph


March 23 2011

August 17

Now I am rather pleased to be able to report that I have had an e-mail about the railway bridges. This is much more complete than my usual rantings so I have pasted it in full below.


Just enjoyed your pages along the canal at Greenford. Happy memories of the smell of coffee from Lyons everytime it rained. The picture of the bridge in 1920 of the old GWR line, just a comment. The 2nd bridge was built just before WW2 as part of the extension of the Central Line from Acton to Denham. The 1920's picture bridge was built about 1902 as part of the Great Western Railway and Great Central Railway Joint project. From the GWR's point, the line was to provide a shorter route to the Midlands and beyond than their existing route through Oxford. The line was, until the 1990's always double track and could take Kings & Castles, and in later years the Blue Pullman services.

Best Regards

Chris Smith

Below is a pic of the bridge taken from the other side. They have been re-painting the bridge all year so this is the first chance I have had to get a photo of it without the scaffolding and covers.

In doing the job, they left a lot of rubble in the cut, on the tow path side. This is a bit of a hazard to navigation, especially in the dark as I have found out,the hard way.


The bridge from the other side