Running tales from Ealing – Grand Union Canal (part 2)

On Sunday I decided to run a route I’ve run many many times before. When I set off it was slightly drizzly and there was a beautiful rainbow in the sky. A lucky sign maybe? Well no, as it turned out.

The route goes along a short part of the river Brent before arriving at the Grand Union Canal where I turned left towards Brentford. Just over the first bridge is a turn off to the Fox pub, an independent and very popular pub built in 1848. The river and the canal join here.

The Fox was where the hunt used to meet in the old days when Hanwell was still very much in the countryside.
Here is the river Brent just as it joins the canal. The photo was taken from the bottom of Green Lane. Green Lane was an ancient way taken by sheep drovers, and there was a ford or crossing here long before the canal was built.
Where the river Brent and the canal converge again further down towards Brentford

The path goes past a small allotment area, and a community orchard called the Piggeries Orchard. This is part of a local initiative called the Hanwell and Norwood Green Orchard Trail. There are a variety of fruit trees planted here, and it is interesting to see how they are doing each time I go past.

November 2018 – the woods along the path

Further along is a weir where the canal and river once more diverge. A couple of weeks ago after some very heavy rain the weir was extremely full, the water rushing over it. Even the locks were full. Sometimes you can see cormorants drying their wings on the concrete weir posts. There is a wooded area next to the path, and in the spring it is full of bluebells.

The woods in April 2019 – bluebells

As the path gets nearer to Brentford the area gets more commercial and industrial. There is a very large aggregate company on one side, and the London HQ of GSK is on the other. My final destination and turning point is at Brentford Gauging Lock. This area used to be very run down, but is now a very nice housing development, and many boats are moored here, some permanently.

The view from the top of Gallows Bridge

Brentford Gauging Lock used to be the last/first lock before the river Thames. It was where boats were weighed or gauged to see how much they had to pay in tolls, depending on the weight of the cargo. It opened up traffic and trade between the Thames and the midlands in the late eighteenth century. Because the river Brent is tidal the lock can only be used for 2 hours either side of high tide.

The marina at Brentford Lock
The lock at Brentford

I have run along this path so many times. By now I should know every crack and bump in it. But on Sunday I managed to trip, catching my toe on a tree root, and go flying, arms outstretched, to land heavily on my hands and knees. Yikes! Although there were no bones broken and I didn’t land on my head (thank goodness) there was enough blood that I didn’t really feel like carrying on, which was extremely annoying as it was turning into a beautiful sunny day and I had only done 4.5 km. Never mind, it could have been worse. And there will always be another day to run along that path, and next time I will be paying close attention to that bumpy bit of path.

Photo taken September 2019. The uneven path was my downfall at the weekend!
This bridge is known as Gallows Bridge. It was built in 1820 at the Horsley Ironworks in Tipton in the West Midlands.
The Horsley ironworks was a prolific producer of canal and railway bridges and iron boats. The first iron steam boat the Aaron Manby was made in Horsley and brought to Rotherhithe by canal where it was assembled.

2 thoughts on “Running tales from Ealing – Grand Union Canal (part 2)

  1. Dear Emily,
    So sorry to hear of your horrible fall, do hope you are beginning to feel better?
    I was at something this morning where someone had tripped and possibly broken their wrist in a couple of places but had been told it would be a couple of weeks before the hospital could tell. In the meantime she had it in a wrist splint but she kept needing to sit down as her knees are also quite sore.
    So much love to you all, Catherine xxxx

    ________________________________

    Like

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