The WI Walks Thames Path Challenge
As part of the WI centenary celebrations we decided it would be great to set ourselves the challenge of walking the full length of the Thames Path, a total of 184 miles to help fundraise for our WI centenary celebrations this year and to make a donation to the local charities that our branches support, Shelter from the Storm and Refugee Women's Association . So began The WI Walks.
We will be walking the path in a total of 8 days. Walking down stream starting on 12th May 2015 from the source in Kemble and finishing at the Thames Barrier in East London.
We will also be carrying the WI centenary baton for its penultimate handover between Middlesex and Surrey. The baton has been passing through all the federations during the past year and we will be picking up the baton at Staines bridge and carrying it to the handover in Monday 18th May at 12 noon.
Along the route we are meeting up and walking with WI members from other federations.
The WI Walks can be followed on Twitter @thewiwalks or Facebook where you can see the training walks we have already completed, including the complete Capital Ring and the London Marathon route.
Our minimum target is the equivalent of £10 per mile, but of course more is always nice.
So now the quest is what next? Keep an eye on the Facebook page and the new Website for further developments and if you can spare a few pounds to help us reach our goal.
Will update more later. But here's the pictures
A week ago today Louise and I met at Paddington Station for our 7:30 train to Kemble and the start of our Thames Path Challenge. It took the train 1 hour and 20 mins to cover the distance it has taken us a full seven days to walk.
It's an early start today to get to our start point at 8am. Travelling on tubes of commuters means getting some interesting sideways glances at my rucksack and walking pole, but of course no blatant questions - that would be too instrusive - a typical morning commute.
Being met a Kemble by the Kemble WI ladies was a real boost at the start of our walk, if you see us today give us a cheer, when we were doing our training walks I found this distance 26 miles on urban pavement the hardest and that was without a blister or feet that were already hurting.
Lunch at the Tate Britain will be a real treat especially as it looks as if the weather will be wet again. Walking with more WI members in the afternoon wil give Louise and I a real boost for the last 12 miles.
One more day to go. Keep cheering us on.
Baton, Boats, Baths and Beds
So today was Baton Day successfully collected and returned safely to the hands of Middlesex Federation, before the handover on the New Southern Belle paddle steamer as it traversed down the Thames between Middlesex and Surrey. We waved as it passed by us shortly after we nipped in and out of Hampton Court Palace.
The banks are now less fields and more houses, so we have a greater choice of boats and boat houses to imagine our who-dunnit scenarios in, but also a switch of water-fowl from geese to swans (very few ducks by comparison)
We both have very brown faces, lower arms and hands from the long days of good weather and thank goodness Monday (today) was only persistent showers with light drizzle in between in the morning and it cleared fully over by the evening. Both of us have blisters, but Louise seems to be suffering more than me and was in pain by this evening.
Tonight I get to spend in my own bed and enjoy my own bath. I think getting up tomorrow for our last day will be difficult. It will be an early start to our 8am meeting point, but I'm really looking forward to meeting more WI girls at the Tate Britian at 12:30.
I'm writing this on a London Overground train home, with commuters who are looking oddly at my rucksack and walking pole.
Attached are photos one of us with the WI Centenary Baton today and one of me and Louise with the guards at Hampton Court Palace after the sun came out and of course the New Southern Belle full of WI ladies.