After what seemed like weeks of incessant, icy cold, Siberian wind, with grey gloom to match, our mostly Thames riverside wander from Westminster to Putney, on Sunday the 8th of February, was blessed with almost wall to wall sunshine and a gentle breeze! With the sun came 49 GOC’s (one we picked up loitering at Vauxhall Bridge), all looking for adventure, including an eye watering eleven first timers, and with that, 2 women, all heartily welcomed! I know that the wretched transport engineering works put a dampner on some coming, but I do have to give the determination award to new attendee, Zoe, for taking a variety of transport all the way from Northampton to reach us (and back!)!
I led this walk. We started with the iconic Houses of Parliament in the back drop, ventured into the nearby Archbishop’s Park in the shadow of Lambeth Palace, had a peek into the grounds of the Garden Museum, formerly St Mary’s-at-Lambeth Church, with its graveyard occupants including Captain William Bligh, of mutiny on the Bounty fame, and Church Tower, being the second oldest building in Lambeth having been built in 1377, then onto a stunning Victorian-Gothic building, which was the factory and showrooms established in 1826, from which John Doulton first made and sold, ceramics and stoneware, to the world, the very Doulton of Royal Doulton Pottery fame. Plus some other local points of interest. Then it was off alongside the mighty Thames for the next 8 miles, a slight detour around the building site of the Battersea Power Station, on through Battersea Park, showing signs of early Spring with Snowdrops and even Crocuses. A brief stop at the Peace Pagoda, and it was then Westward, walking into the delightful warmth of the sun, blazing our trail, and a refreshing distraction from the featureless chrome, steel, glass and brick terrain typical of this part of Riverside London with its new build, multi-storey, apartments. We finished at the Rocket Pub, a Wetherspoon’s, at Putney Bridge, for a well-earned late lunch, and a good meal it was!
There was a profusion of good conversation throughout the day. It is difficult being Event Lead to be part of much of the chat, but I know from when I am an ordinary punter on walks, that the socializing is a really important part of why we want to be part of this great club! The points of interest at the start gave lots to talk about initially and help break the ice. The chat continued, and not just on the walk, but for a couple of hours in the pub following. In fact three took it further and continued after the pub to walk back to Clapham, partly to walk off the lunch, but partly to enjoy the delightful sunset over the Thames…..though I am sure that Amyn and Jon will agree with me in saying that our bodies may not have been aching so much the next day if we had joined the majority and got the train home!
I had lots of great feedback and sounded like everyone enjoyed the day!
(Pictures Dave Havell, Amyn Bhagat and mine)