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2A23C5C6-FD7E-4523-81B8-F5530904CE5FHere is our route. On the last stretch we followed the Paddington Arm to Little Venice where the walkers received certificates. Special congratulations went to Stephanie Jones who sped along the whole route in 7 days.

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Finally, huge thanks to Ascentis who sponsored the transportation of luggage. Without this help, the Big Walk would not have been possible.

 

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Saturday 19th May The Big Walk final day

477702CE-F42A-49C4-B7C2-9C9A25EAB187About 30 supporters gathered at Perivale tube station to walk the final leg into Little Venice – a shortish walk in brilliant sunshine. We were pleased to welcome Rosida and Naima, two beneficiaries of the Trust, also Louise representing The Haymanfamily.

Lunch or a drink was at the Lebanese restaurant discovered on the practice walk.

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Or on the bank outside.

DE196B4C-C364-489B-8A17-4FDDF0F28B3EThen a short stretch to Sainsburys, Ladbroke Grove where we were joined by Margaret Siudek and Sheila Dunman, walkers from 20 years ago.  Finally we all assembled at Rembrandt Gardens, Little Venice where Sheila Rosenberg,  the Trust President, gave a vote of thanks to the walkers and read out best wishes from Marsha de Cordova, MP for Battersea.

The walkers of 20 years ago presented certificates to the 2018 walkers, and then we all had a glass of bubbly and drank a toast. 9DDE0AE2-A797-4426-BFD0-3D081B460848671129DF-FF7B-4053-8D55-D7FE54070E98The total raised now stands at just over 12k, so just 3k to go to reach our target. Huge thanks to all our many supporters who have made the Big Walk such a success.

Friday May 18th The Big Walk Day 13

This was a very tiring last stretch to Perivale in West London. We think that the walkers of 20 years ago underestimated the mileage and that it was more like 15, not 12 miles. Looking at the distance, Mary, Sally and Gomathi decided to start early from their B and B, while Elizabeth and Paul, coming from Muswell Hill would aim for 11 am as advertised.

C7CC5224-1117-4287-9C09-F46378B505ABSo here are three of us at the start and we never saw Paul and Elizabeth who were always about five bridges behind us.

It was a very long and rather uninteresting stretch.  We saw the odd bit of wildlife near the towpath.87C8E99F-36C6-4FA0-9EEE-01B2A61B9A6EBut mostly it was industrial and seemed to go on for ever.0ACE288E-CEBA-48E1-B98B-244057872486Mary’s second pair of boots had had enough. ‘Boots behaving badly,’ said Gomathi, who tried to patch them up. But it was no good and Mary had to resort to sandals.

5E3440B9-39EB-484A-ADF1-8F3D548EDDC3Finally about 7pm the first group arrived at Perivale, and Elizabeth and Paul made it about an hour later.  Here are Gomathi and Sally at Bridge 13, Perivale. We thought we would never make it, but we did.

249116BE-E237-4916-9F8A-28FC235633C3So back to the same bridge tomorrow for the final stage into London, blisters permitting.

Thursday 17th May The Big Walk Day 12

E82C9308-7664-4BBB-A51E-0E49729BD01FThe start of Day 12 at Apsley Marina, Hemel Hempstead.  We made our way to the towpath but found it was closed for repairs so we had to do a detour via the main road to the next bridge.  No further towpath problems to report after that.

Yet another beautiful day, and we made good speed knowing we had quite a way to cover.  There was lots of activity – boats  were being decorated for the Rickmansworth festival this Saturday and we met lots of friendly people boat owners, keen  to know why five elderly people were plodding along the towpath. And we had one promise of a donation.

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We were amazed by some of the boats like this one one which  included a car fused onto a boat.

8D055790-6A50-496D-98CC-D30A90BB4B18It was a long day but it helped that there was lots to see.  At about 6pm we arrived at our destination bridge and the beautiful B and B in a converted mill where three of us were staying.  We said goodbye to North Londoners, Elizabeth and Paul who were going home for the night, only to return the next day to walk Day 13. Gomathi, Sally and Mary collapsed in our very comfortable rooms. Here is the view from what is our most picturesque B and B so far and our last as we’ll all go home to sleep tomorrow.

AFD1BB8D-6407-4537-B583-69568F466D44To donate click here

 

Wednesday May 16th The Big Walk Day 11

379952F2-885A-4C0E-9EAE-5AC68500F983Feeling much refreshed after a good night’s sleep we set off again for a much shorter walk than the day before.

Mary’s boots were freshly glued, the rain held off and we were all able to enjoy the sights – lots of ducklings, cygnets, cormorants and herons. Our knowledgeable landlady, who lived on a canal boat, had told us we were unlikely to see kingfishers who liked to hide from sight.

1DA72E94-C8FE-4905-9BEF-3F3653DF7ABCWe also enjoyed the boat names such as this one.

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So after a relatively easy walk we  arrived at our next overnight stay at a Hemel Hempstead pub and enjoyed a delicious South Indian meal. Three more days to go.

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Tuesday May 15th The Big Walk Day 10

The most tiring day yet. We think we must have done about 15 miles, and we didn’t reach our destination, Tring station, till after 7pm. But after a taxi ride to a pub and a good dinner our spirits revived.

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Here we are setting off from the great pub where we stayed in Leyton Buzzard. Our landlady Claire gave us a donation to the Trust and made us very welcome. Another disaster with Mary’s second pair of boots was averted when a friendly cobbler managed to stick the soles back together. Not to be worn till tomorrow.

A beautiful day again and the countryside was looking lovely with lots of blossom everywhere.517C1BF4-C2D7-474E-9A33-51EE0DCF319CWe are now quite adept at crossing locks to get to pubs for lunch.

8132EBF3-2C20-42A6-AC18-7EB295BE048DBut despite the great weather we all found this a really difficult day and after about 8 hours of walking on quite a hard towpath we were all exhausted. Thanks to the friendly taxi driver who took us to a pub for dinner and then back to our comfortable B and B for a good rest.