Slough Arm, Grand Union Canal


My mum and I are walking parts of the Grand Union Canal. On 5 May 2008, together with Dad, we walked the Slough Arm which runs from, er, Slough, to Cowley Peachey Junction. It was a short walk, only about 7 miles. We finished up at West Drayton.

Start of the canal

An interesting building on the way to the canal. Sadly it is no longer the Leopold Coffee House, but some kind of bargain-basement KFC ripoff.
1/350 at f8, 187mm, ISO200

The start of the canal had a weird feel about it to me. Obviously, when a canal comes to an end, that's it; it just stops. Not like a river which sort of peters out into little streams (and not like the other end of a canal, which is usually in a river).

The end of the canal, just visible among the reeds in front of the builder's yard.
1/180 at f13, 22mm, ISO200
Strange fish.
1/125 at f13, 123mm, ISO200
The first bridge.
1/125 at f5.6, 250mm, ISO200
Warning pattern painted on a bridge arch.
1/90 at f4, 55mm, ISO200


I was surprised to find that the canal runs close by an actual working factory: ICI Paints (owned by Akzo Nobel). A working factory? With like chemicals and things? In the south of England?

Pipework and an aeroplane (Heathrow is nearby).
1/750 at f8, 250mm, ISO200
1/500 at f8, 22mm, ISO200
More pipework.
1/250 at f8, 154mm, ISO200
A bulk transport tanker.
1/350 at f8, 214mm, ISO200

Less surprising were the abandoned industrial buildings that followed.

Factory skylight through broken window.
1/2000 at f8, 250mm, ISO200
Half a bridge.
1/350 at f8, 22mm, ISO200
Opposite, a firm that (presumably) hires out those cherry-picker things.
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Two of said things.
1/1000 at f8, 109mm, ISO200

Leaving the canal

We crossed at a 'conveyor bridge' and took a detour past a sewage farm (and across the M25) to the small town of Iver. This had a picturesque church (locked and wrapped in scaffolding) and shops. After buying ice cream, we returned to the canal.

Underneath the 'conveyer bridge' which, it should be noted, was in no condition to convey anything other than by walking over it. So just a bridge, then.
1/45 at f8, 163mm, ISO200
Looking through the bridge rail back down the canal. (There was actually a boat moving, but you can't see it in this picture.)
1/500 at f4.5, 22mm, ISO200
Sewage tanks.
1/350 at f5.6, 250mm, ISO200
I have no idea how I took this picture or what it is. Obviously I pressed the shutter by accident. Still, after fiddling with the exposure, I kind of liked it. :)
1/4 at f4, 55mm, ISO100

To West Drayton

Looking into a World War 2 pillbox near the canal junction.
1/45 at f8, 55mm, ISO200
Aqueduct over a river; probably the Colne, it usually is.
1/60 at f8, 55mm, ISO200

We left the canal a little before the junction and headed into West Drayton, which has a railway station. It also has a well-organised scrapyard.

Part of the scrapyard.
1/180 at f8, 22mm, ISO200
Another part.
1/350 at f8, 20mm, ISO200
Metal container haiku.
1/500 at f8, 17mm, ISO200
1/250 at f8, 60mm, ISO200

That was it; back to the railway station for me (and to a broken-down bus for my parents, although a working one did eventually arrive).

All images © Samuel Marshall. All rights reserved.