Sunday, January 28, 2024

Walking with family: North Greenwich to Deptford... and beyond

Isle of Dogs from the south bank
Canary Wharf from the Olympian Way.

Saturday January 27, 2024.

I had decided to take a trip with Keilyn to North Greenwich, in order to walk towards Tower Bridge, as we had previously walked from North Greenwich to the Woolwich Foot tunnel... and beyond. Emma decided that it might be good for us all to go, but Erin was dead against it, preferring to spend her Saturday with friends, rather than 'trudge' around London. 

So, leaving her with her friends, the three of us jumped in a taxi to Watford Metropolitan station, jumped on a train, transferred to a Jubilee line train, at Finchley Road, and finally arrived at our starting point of North Greenwich just before 11:00.

The Tide at North Greenwich
'The Tide' at North Greenwich.

Our first stop was to the pop-up market, on Peninsula Square, for a hot drink, before heading towards 'The Tide', with its multi-coloured steps and great views.

From here we followed Olympian Way, which is part of the Thames Path, around the back of the O2 Arena, heading towards Greenwich proper.

Liberty by Gary Hume
'Liberty' by Gary Hume.

The first of the public art installations that we discovered, along the Olympian Way, was 'Liberty Grip' by Gary Hume, a strange piece of work that is modelled on mannequin arms. Vey odd, but still a delight to see.

Rear of the O2 Arena
At the back of the O2 Arena.

As I had never walked this part of the Thames Path, it was strange seeing the back of the O2 Arena, with its little pocket park for staff to use and the parts of the arena that you don't normally get to see.

Tribe and Tribulation by Serge Attukwei Clottey
'Tribe and Tribulation' by Serge Attukwei Clottey.

The next piece of public art we discovered was 'Tribe and Tribulation' by Serge Attukwei Clottey, which was a stack of container boxes, piled on top of each other. But, as you drew closer, you could hear sounds emanating from within the boxes. These 'sounds' were recordings from various Slave Fort locations along the former Gold Coast. It was delightful and disturbing, in equal measure.

Here by Jon Thomson and Alison Craighead
'Here' by Jon Thomson and Alison Craighead.

Next, Keilyn spotted a signpost, which I had paid no mind to, seeing as it was just a signpost. However, I was wrong. This signpost had a name and was a simple piece of art, entitled 'Here', and was created by Jon Thomson and Alison Craighead.

A Slice of Reality by Richard Wilson
'A Slice of Reality' by Richard Wilson.

But what I had heard about and was looking forward to seeing was suddenly in view. Quite possibly the largest piece of public art in London. 'A Slice of Reality' by Richard Wilson. A vertical section of an ocean-going dredger, left to rust in the River Thames. It was quite something to behold, when stood right next to it. It is a pretty awesome piece.

Canary Wharf with a rotting wharf
An old rotting dock with the new Canary Wharf.

We continued along the Thames Path, watching the skyline on the Isle of dogs change as our route meandered along the River Thames. There were plenty of other people using the route, too. Joggers, cyclists, dog walkers, but next to no families. Very odd. We passed the Greenwich Peninsula Golf Range, with Keilyn trying to reach through the mesh fencing to try and grab a golf ball. Fortunately, we found a few that escaped the confines of the range, so she was happy and hurriedly put them in her pockets.

Beer sign
The biggest 'Beer' sign that I have ever seen.

We discovered waterside pubs, a place where the Necrobus and other buses and cars were kept, boat repair yards, industrial works and much more.

London Buses
Where some of the buses sleep.

Boat Repair Yard
Repairing the boat 'Alfie'.

Soon we could see Greenwich Power Station and, beyond, the Old Royal Naval College, and the masts of 'Cutty Sark'. All the while the kept looking across to the Isle of Dogs, trying to spot any new towers, since our last visit, to the Canary Wharf skyline.

Trinity Hospital
Trinity Hospital.

After a slight detour, away from the river, we were soon passing the gigantic Greenwich Power Station, Trinity Hospital and heading along Crane Street, with its colourful pennants draped across the street, while signs and smells enticed weary travellers in for food and beer. 

Crane Street Pennants

Keilyn with Lord Nelson
Keilyn with Lord Nelson.

We were not enticed, as we were heading for one of our favourite markets to get some food. So we continued, passing between the River Thames and the Old Royal Naval College, around Cutty Sark and on to Greenwich Market, where we sat and ate and refreshed ourselves with drinks.

Keilyn at lunch
Keilyn eating in peace.

Then we looked around the market stalls and, after stopping at the toilet, continued our walk along the Thames Path towards Deptford. Unfortunately, due to work still ongoing in Deptford, we had to move off the Thames Path and continue our walk along the main roads. This was okay as it gave me the chance to se the old entrance to the old Royal Navy Victualling Yard, with its French cannon still 'planted' in the cement as bollards.

Old Royal Navy Victualling Yard Entrance
Yes, those are French cannon being used as bollards.

From here we discovered Sayes Court Park, which had a tree, surrounded by a low metal fence, that was reportedly planted by Peter the Great, in the 1600s, in John Evelyn's garden. Hence it being listed as 'John Evelyn's Mulberry Tree'. This would be something that I would need to research when I got home.

John Evelyn's Mulberry Tree
Was John Evelyn's Mulberry Tree, planted by Peter the Great?

Soon, though, we decided that a rest was needed, so we headed to the 'Victoria' pub for refreshments and a sit down. It was a wonderful little pub, with wooden beams and whitewashed bricks and had that feel of a traditional 'locals' pub.

Victoria pub Deptford
Victoria pub, Deptford.

On leaving the 'Victoria' we headed north towards Surrey Docks, as this would be the easiest place for us to find transport towards home. 

Greenland Dock
Canary Wharf from Greenland Dock.

So, on to Rotherhithe and Greenland Dock we went, taking in the sight and sounds of people enjoying this relatively warm winter's afternoon. 

Canada Water
Canada Water undergoing some regeneration work.

We then headed to Canada Water, where we caught a train to Baker Street.

Once at Baker Street we bought more warm drinks and snacks, while we waited for our train to arrive. 

On its arrival we waited for the other passengers to disembark, before we boarded ourselves, making our way to the front of the train, so that we could be first off when we reached Watford. As we sat waiting for our departure time, the driver came walking through the carriages. As he opened the internal door to the cab, I asked if it would be possible for Keilyn to have a look inside. His response was perfect. Not only would he let her look inside, she could sit in his seat, if she didn't touch anything. Well... to say Keilyn was over the moon was an understatement! She sat in the driver's seat with her hot chocolate in hand with the biggest grin on her face that I had ever seen. 

Keilyn in the cab of a Metropolitan line train
Keilyn in the driver's seat of a Metropolitan line train.

After the photo was taken we returned to our seats, Keilyn still sporting an enormous grin, and settled down for the ride home.

As we left the train Emma ordered a taxi and, within minutes of exiting the station, we were on our way home. Another wonderful family day out, discovering new things.

Distance travelled:

  • Car - 0.0 miles
  • Taxi - 1.6 miles
  • Train - 0.0 miles
  • Underground - 45 miles
  • Walking - 8 miles

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