Little Venice Mooring

We left Cowley around nine o'clock with the intention of mooring up near Paddington, or perhaps Little Venice. The former we thought was more likely than the latter given the congestion that usually occurs at Little Venice. We also had a misapprehension that there are reasonable numbers of moorings in Paddington Basin. The last time were went along the Paddington Arm was eight years ago and we knew that much had changed.

The weather was dry but it was windy and quite cold. Two layers of fleeces in June is a bit much! The journey down to Bulls Bridge Junction was quiet with few boats on the move; in fact I can recollect only one. Turning into the Paddington Arm was reasonably straightforward but as always with canal junctions some forethought was required.

Aqueduct across Western Avenue
We crossed the North Circular Road and saw that the traffic below was at a standstill. It gives you a smug feeling when boating close to main arterial routes that at are clogged. It has happened to us before near the M1 in Northamptonshire and the M6 in Cheshire.

There were a few vacant visitor moorings as we passed through Alperton and Greenford so we hoped that the warnings we had heard about the difficulty of finding visitor moorings along this stretch were misplaced.

We got to the outskirts of Little Venice about two o'clock and it didn't look too congested but we remained wary. It was therefore to our delight when, as we approached Halfpenny Bridge, a boat started its engine. We saw the owner put on a warm jacket and woolly hat and immediately knew that he wasn't just charging his batteries. He left and immediately we slotted into to his mooring. What good luck!

Just after we arrived some swans came to greet us. The pair had seven cygnets and one appeared to have decided that mother's back was preferable to paddling in the cold water like the rest of the brood.

Cygnet hitching a ride on mother

Our mooring is fine and it boasts "proper" rings. It is close to the church of St Mary Magdalene and just beyond the CRT 14 day visitor mooring signs.

Little Venice

We popped in to the CRT office for some information and purchased a pump-out token. Because we had contemplated mooring in Paddington Basin we decided to explore it. All available moorings were full with some double-berthed. Given the size of the basin and the pressure on visitor moorings this is quite inadequate. The bottom section of the basin had very unhelpful signs on mooring rings from the property developers warning off boats. We have moored up in city centre locations in Birmingham and Leeds with far better attitudes to visiting boats than this. After seeing the start of the development of the basin eight years ago we had imagined a thriving basin with lots of short stay visiting boats; just shows you how wrong you can be. 

An underutilised Paddington Basin!

We decided to go for a walk down to Hyde Park, its only a mile and a half away, and investigate the Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain and the Peter Pan Statue, neither of which we had seen before despite visiting the park a number of times. 

Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain, Hyde Park

Peter Pan Statue, Hyde Park