A Grand Day Out #paddingtonbranch #grandunioncanal

It said bright and sunny till 2 and then biblically wet. April – when shit gets real, huh.

One of my self imposed tasks is to plan walks for some friends, around London. We disappear off in the summer and balmy autumn, but winter and spring are down to me.

I got hold of this guide to one of our great canals, the Grand Union Canal that was built to link London to Birmingham – first city meets second city (as long as you ignore the squawks coming from Manchester and Liverpool, demanding a say).

That is 130 miles and a bit far for us, but there are two sections that might make a fine walk. First there is a link from near Hayes which takes the GUC into central London, joining up with the Regent canal and cutting five miles off the original journey via the Thames, to the City. The second is to join the GUC where it originally met the Thames at Brentford, walking back to Hayes.

The first is 13.5 miles, the second 10.

I could squeeze in the 13.5 (plus the extra mile to Hayes station) before I was swept away, couldn’t I? If I started at Paddington and walked backwards, as it were.

I left Paddington station at 9.45 in the promised sunshine, clutching a coffee and with a rather misshapen croissant pressed in my pocket. I had an audible book to finish – Val McDermid’s The Last Temptation and no time to waste.

The walk is flat. No locks as we wended our way through Middlesex. There’s greenery, lots of moored barges and boats doubling as homes and a fair bit of the industrial and urban – a lot of railways in amongst the warehouses, small factories, art studios and wot not.

There are a few pieces of street art and the odd mural.

I kept up a decent pace until about mile 12 when I slowed a bit, more because I was enjoying myself as because my feet haven’t ‘enjoyed’ such a work out for a while.

I finished the book. I ground my teeth about a dozen times at the implausible plot lines and the grotesque violence – I really don’t need to know. It’s okay, but hardly her best work and no one important died which is the most unlikely outcome given the jeopardy that was described. If you want a recommendation, don’t bother.

Any way, I finished the walk. The last have mile was pretty squally – the weather came a bit early – but I had lunch in Hayes and managed a dry window to scuttle to the train.

It’s a good walk and the boys will like it. I’ll try the alternate with a friend next week and then decide which one we’ll do.

For now here’s a selection of images….

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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35 Responses to A Grand Day Out #paddingtonbranch #grandunioncanal

  1. joylennick says:

    Blossom and river/ bird scenes are always a good bet. Nice and tranquil. x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well done. All once familiar territory to me

    Liked by 1 person

  3. trifflepudling says:

    Familiar sign in that peculiarly squashed and decrepit part of Paddington where there always seems to be a cold wind!
    Interesting walk and photos, thanks. I’m sure you’ll all have a good time. Where lunch?
    Always look forward to crossing the GUC at Lisson Grove – you know you’re nearing Lord’s then!
    No time for violence in books, tv, cinema. Entertaining it is not, or even enlightening.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      I’m a bit of a sucker for a police procedural but the best books are those where any nasty is implied. Agree about Lords. And you’re right about that wind. Must be some sort of funnelling effect.
      Lunch is a bit of a challenge. Probably a detour into Greenford.


  4. willowdot21 says:

    Nice walk through some of my old stomping ground! When we first got married Hubby and I had a Maisonette in Hayes, infact we have friends coming to stay tomorrow who still live in Hayes 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  5. noelleg44 says:

    A wonderful and interesting walk, indeed. I’d love to do it but it might take a couple of days with rests for coffee. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love how herons always say “Who do you think you’re looking at? Will you please go away, I’m fishing!”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I really like Val McDermid as a person so I’m disappointed that I don’t like her books. I’ve only read one, at the insistence of a friend, and wasn’t keen to repeat the experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Erika says:

    Gorgeous, Geoff. What a beautiful walk through such lovely scenery.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks for the walk. So nice to see other places.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. gordon759 says:

    I like canals, wonderful technology. If you want to find out a bit more about the Grand Union, and how it created Paddington, have a look at Canals: The Making of a Nation episode 6, it’s available on iPlayer.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. JT Twissel says:

    That’s a lot of walking but at least most of it looks flat!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Suzanne says:

    Walking with friends makes walks seem shorter. That bottle in the plastic bag underneath the street art of a red couch is poignant.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. joylennick says:

    An enjoyable, nostalgic trip for me, Geoff. Thank you. Worked in Golden Square and Frith Street, Soho as a secretary in late 40s, early 50s (SO different then…) Part of my courtship was spent walking a lot – who could afford a car?! so fiance and I knew London very well. Aah! Now retired in Spain, which we both love, as our area boasts one of the best climates on the Spanish coast (Costa Blanca), and compared to the UK, the cost of living is much lower. Cheers.


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