Thirteenth Stage of the Thames Walk
We had picked another lovely sunny day for our walk along the Thames. This section was from where we had reached in Teddington and onwards towards Putney Bridge. We had thought that walking on a Tuesday afternoon there would not be too many people around. But this is London, and long gone are the walks where we passed two dogs and four walkers.
I am still unable to walk any distance so I am driving the support vehicle.
The walk this time is led by one of our learners who has moved on to university. As the term has not started for him he was free to take the walkers. Part of his course he needs to show a broadening of experience so voluntary service is what he was looking for. So, he came me for the risk assessment, I drove and he walked. Then again for the real walk. I understand he was grilled quite extensively about what it was like at university, Dungeon and Dragons and motocross. Well he did volunteer!
The route for them was quite easy and well-marked out, there were some areas where they riverside had been bought by private owners and the path works around this. What was very surprising was the fact that in September three sections of the river bank path had flooded. This was a surprise as we started our walking along the river back in January. In the winter, we did encounter some very muddy fields and meadows but not like this. We managed to travel along the river though spring with many raining days and not have a problem. Likewise, in early summer – no pathway flooding. So, after the summer holidays we were not expecting to find the route flooded. Bur that is why we do the risk assessment, we found the routes around the water.
We had found on the first trip that although the map showed that there were roads leading to the river it didn’t necessarily mean I could access the river to meet up with the walking group. So, we spent one long day finding the meeting points. In some parts, some meeting points were close together and then some sections there was a long gap between meetings.
However, there is one thing to be said for walking this section of the River Thames – there was greater access to the public toilets. As it was a nice warm walking day, so there were lots of drinking water to stay hydrated - followed by the necessary toilet stops. Despite this, I was struggling to weave my way around the traffic and so was late for every meeting point.
We had allowed for ice- creams and everyone had taken some GORP (Good old Raisins and Peanuts) with them. When they got to Putney Bridge everyone was still feeling good and fine. Well that was until I lead them back to the car. We counted 17 fast food points from the bridge to the car – everything from Louisiana sticky buffalo wings, stacked high burgers, authentic regional kababs, to pasties and cakes to supermarket sandwiches was on offer. The smell along that road was mouth-watering and they wanted everything. They all knew that the next health meal was only an hour and half away and they really didn’t need the food – we all just wanted it!
We are all looking forward to the next walk form Putney Bridge to Tower Bridge. There will be so much history and things to see. We are deciding if we do it at twilight so we get to see London lit up or do it earlier to avoid the volume of people.