An Everyday Adventure, London Docklands

Photographer Joe McGorty wearing an Utility Archive backpack looking across the Thames to the London Docklands skyline

London based photographer Joe McGorty takes us on his adventurous Thames Path commute, observing how nature interacts with the post-industrial Docklands landscape. 

'It’s early Autumn and the strong winds are today bringing intermittent rain with them. My backpack is fending off the weather, water drops sitting on the waterproof fabric, but I don’t have the right outerwear with me. I’m enjoying feeling unprepared. 

I move eastwards away from home, ducking under trees and into old wooden structures whilst each shower passes. So far I’ve seen two joggers, one dog walker and a group of cyclists. The path passes a cement works and I’m forced to stop momentarily whilst a barge unloads its cargo of sand. This area doesn’t feel like London, or any big city. It’s the mix of nature reclaiming old rusting structures and a feeling of space and quiet that makes the eastern Thames Path south of the river such an interesting place to move through. 

And there’s a climbing wall amongst some artist studios down here, so it’s become a regular route of mine since I moved to Greenwich. The path follows the river, looping around the Isle of Dogs peninsula like the edge of a record with Canary Wharf, always in view northwards, at its centre. 

It’s raining heavily now, I’ve taken cover under the entrance to an old shipping gangway, glimpses of high tide through gaps in the wooden boards underfoot. I can see Alex Chinneck’s sculpture ‘A Bullet From A Shooting Star’ breaking up the horizon to the south, adjacent to the O2. This 35 metre inverted pylon stands there in a weirdly unassuming 'just landed’ sort of way, all 15 tons of it. Rain will ease soon.'

Photographer Joe McGorty wears an orange waterproof backpack looking across the Thames to the London Docklands skyline

Shrubs grow on an old River Thames pier with a London Docklands cityscape behind

Photographer Joe McGorty wearing an orange Utility Archive backpack looking across the Thames to the London Docklands skyline

Photographer Joe McGorty cycling the Thames Footpath wearing an orange waterproof Utility Archive backpack

Alex Chinneck’s A Bullet From A Shooting Star, a 35-metre-tall latticed steel sculpture.

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