This afternoon we ventured out to Docklands. Once the busiest port in the world, it has been redeveloped as a an area of offices, residential blocks and support facilities such as shops and restaurants. Our destination was not the high density built-up district but one if the outlying quarters.
We left the number 135 bus here where I photographed these apartment blocks prettily lit by the afternoon sunshine. They are not part of Docklands and, to be honest, I don’t know where they are!
Millwall Outer Dock
A footpath led us from the road to the Outer Millwall Dock, a broad and now peaceful body of water which once would have been alive with freighters, lighters and human activity.
Still in place but now locked up and immobilised, are a number of the old dock cranes that in the heyday of the docks would have been kept busy loading and unloading ships. I made several attempts to photograph them but because they are so tall it was hard to capture a complete one in a single image.
Yachts and other small craft
The water was busy today but with small craft. There were yachts for one or two people, canoes and stand-up paddle boards. These all belong to the Docklands Sailing & Watersports Centre.
I tried to obtain a poetic photo of canoeists silhouetted against the sunlit water in a contre-jour shot but, given the distance involved, this was the best I could do!
Just in case
At intervals around the dock you find these metal stands holding life savers, a reminder that water can provide fun but also danger.
Also present are metal bollards to which ships would have been moored while in dock. They no longer serve any purpose unless it is to remind us of the history of Docklands.
Millwall Inner Dock
We reached Millwall Inner Dock where there were larger vessels moored semi-permanently in a privately run moorings. Some of the boats seemed inhabited while others appeared vacant, awaiting tenants. Several of the vessels had Dutch names, suggesting that they had started life as canal barges in the Netherlands.
Dock crane and modern buildings
This view appealed to me, combining as it does an ancient dock crane and modern buildings.
Standing guard over their history
The dock is quite large and following its perimeter involves a long walk. On all sides are residential areas to which the gates carry notices advising that they are private and that public access is allowed to the dockside only. So once you start walking, you either continue to the end or you return the way you came.
View from the willow tree
At one point, unexpectedly, we found a willow tree and I was able to take this unusual view of the dock between the willow’s branches.
We came upon this old machine, presumably left here, like the cranes, as a historical memory and a point of interest. I have no idea what it is or what purpose it served. Perhaps I will discover this one day.
A pair of coots
In a corner if the dock a pair of coots were paddling about. They were not diving for food but watching the people passing by. Every time someone new arrived, they paddled hopefully in that direction, obviously hoping for hand-outs. They were briefly scared into a flurry when a dachshund poked his head through the railings and barked at them but soon recovered their aplomb.
Eclectic mixture of buildings
When I looked back across the dock, my eye was caught by this eclectic mixture of buildings of so many different shapes, colours and architectural styles. The water reflects them like a pointilliste painting.
We had seen this bridge from a distance and expected to be able to complete our circuit by crossing it. However, when we reached it we found that it was disused, missing most if its floor panels. This meant that we had another walk to close the loop by going the long way round. We were certainly having our ration of exercise today!
This had one benefit at least as we discovered a pair of Egyptian geese relaxing in the sun. Though not uncommon, this pretty species is seen less often than the now ubiquitous Canada geese, so it was a pleasure to see them.
Our perambulations brought us within sight if an oasis, specifically a branch of Shake Shack where we could rest a while and take refreshments.
This interlude more or less marked the end of our ramble as, from here, we soon reached a bus stop and took, first, a 135 and then a 205 back to the Angel and home.