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Visit to London -- Walking to the O2 arena - Helen's journal and online home
In which an old dog attempts to learn new tricks.
Visit to London -- Walking to the O2 arena
Normally we walk along the south bank of the Thames, following the Thames Path. This time, however, we set out to walk along the northern bank. Starting at Tower Bridge, we headed east towards Greenwich.

Here I pause for a moment to look back the way we've come. Note the Shard, which totally resembles the tower of some Evil Overlord. One expects a giant red eye (or similar portent of evil) to emanate from the pointy bit at the top. Actually, I believe there is a hotel and restaurant up on the higher levels, so not actually sinister.

Shard & Tower Bridge

It was interesting to see some new bits of London and also to look across the river at all the buildings we normally walk alongside/beneath. A little further along, here is the view looking across at Canary Wharf. The Thames meanders a lot so although it's not really clear from this photo, those tall buildings are actually on the same side of the river as us.

Canary Wharf

To make it easier to work out how far I walk when I'm not doing the old familiar local walks, I downloaded a useful app to my phone. This was the first day of using it and there was a bit of muddle as I'd leave it on when we were on a train and then not have it on when I started walking again, but it plots your route on a map and saves it for later reference. This is handy for people who like me who easily muddle up what we did on which day if I haven't made notes at the time.

London seemed much quieter this year than on previous pre-Christmas visits. I know that last year, due to the way the college holiday fell, we went away between Christmas and New Year, but we often come at this time of year and there were far fewer people using the Thames Path (on either bank). Perhaps everyone was seething up and down Oxford Street in search of last minute bargains? Whatever the reason, we met few people on our walk.

On reaching the Isle of Dogs, we crossed the river via the foot tunnel and emerged at Greenwich where we had a nice lunch at the Meantime Pub. The final part of the walk continued alongside the Thames, now on the southern bank, as far as the O2 arena where we got the Tube back to our hotel.

Canary Wharf

Not far from the O2 arena, there is one industrial site still operating. It seems to be a supplier/processor of sand which is brought in by dredgers that moor by the works.

Current Mood: calm calm

14 comments or Leave a comment
From: arkessian Date: January 1st, 2015 12:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Could you name the app for tracing where you've been, please -- it sounds useful.
heleninwales From: heleninwales Date: January 1st, 2015 01:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
The one I'm using is a Google app for Android phones called simply My Tracks. It uses GPS to track where you are and plots your route on a map. It's pretty basic as these apps go, but it's free and does what it's supposed to do.
From: arkessian Date: January 1st, 2015 01:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks -- I shall try it -- free and functional is always good.
puddleshark From: puddleshark Date: January 1st, 2015 01:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Fantastic photos! These - and a re-read of Ben Aaronivitch's Peter Grant books - might almost tempt me to visit London again one day...
heleninwales From: heleninwales Date: January 1st, 2015 01:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. I do enjoy visiting London, though can only stand 2-3 days before it all gets a bit too much and I want to return to the peace and tranquillity of North Wales.
coth From: coth Date: January 1st, 2015 02:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
I enjoy your walks, both in London and in Wales. If you ever would like company in London do give us a heads up - it's the kind of thing I like to do but only have time to do occasionally, and I normally need a friend to provide the incentive to make the occasion.
heleninwales From: heleninwales Date: January 1st, 2015 05:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
I will bear that in mind. Sometimes our trips are a bit spur of the moment, but if I can give sufficient warning, I'll let you know.
coth From: coth Date: January 2nd, 2015 12:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
There are going to be times I can't come anyway. But we could try.

I do love your photos.
nutmeg3 From: nutmeg3 Date: January 1st, 2015 02:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Until I read your last post I never even knew there were pedestrian tunnels under the Thames. And how did the Isle of Dogs get its name?
heleninwales From: heleninwales Date: January 1st, 2015 05:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
There are at least two foot tunnels and they're quite old, having been built at the very beginning of the 20th century.

Regarding the Isle of Dogs, it seems no one knows how it got its name. It was originally a marshy area with meadows that flooded, but was later drained. It may or may not have been because actual dogs were kept in the area. :)
del_c From: del_c Date: January 3rd, 2015 09:59 am (UTC) (Link)
The first ever tunnel under the Thames, the first ever to be tunnelled under a river (as opposed to diverting the river temporarily, which some ancient historical kings had done in the middle east) was a foot tunnel. It was built starting in 1825, by Marc Brunel (IKB's father) using his own invention which was the ancestor of the tunnelling machines we use today. It wasn't a success as a foot tunnel, and is now part of the railway network.
From: cmcmck Date: January 2nd, 2015 08:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Love that last shot, but then you know me and industrial tat! :o)
del_c From: del_c Date: January 3rd, 2015 10:14 am (UTC) (Link)
That's Day Aggregates, by coincidence yet another place heleninwales records that I've been to myself. They were trying to persuade my employers to use their Ecosand, which is made from unwanted green glass crushed to a sand-like constituency (we import more green bottles from France than anyone likes to use in their own bottles, so you can't get rid of the stuff). It was weird thrusting my hand into a pile of, effectively, broken glass and not getting cut up.

Sadly it didn't work out for us, because we make our subcontractors responsible for the quality of their work, but leave them contractually free to choose their own materials, so we couldn't just lay down a specification. And the contractors were many, and "IBM-buying" cautious because of their responsibility, so Day probably had limited success selling to them individually.

It's effectively beach sand in a bizarre shade of green. Maybe a resort that needs to replenish its sand for reasons of erosion could go for it as a publicity stunt. Come see the bright green sand of Walmington-on-Sea!
From: cmcmck Date: January 3rd, 2015 01:21 pm (UTC) (Link)

A fascinating story. As Helen knows, I have an abiding love affair with the post industrial landscapes of Shropshire.
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