As some of my followers may remember, last year I did a walk around Bushey Park near Hampton Court, in order to raise money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association. I signed up to do it again, and was all prepared to spend my Sunday strolling around.
But then I got an email early Sunday morning to let me know that due to the bad weather that was forecasted the walk had been called off. Had it rained the little room we were using wouldn't have been big enough to hold all the people that were coming, and there was a LOT of rain due! The email said that those of us who wanted to were welcome to do their own walk in their own time, but the South West London organisers wouldn't be setting another "official" date (it takes a lot of organising to set up something like this, so simply rearranging it for another day is not really possible).
Not only did it not look like the weather would be getting any better any time soon, but there are very few weekends that I'd be able to do it. It was either do it this weekend, or end up not doing it at all. Since I was prepared anyway I decided to do it on Sunday anyway.
The next problem though was location. I had never been to Bushey Park before last year's walk and I hadn't been since. It's quite a long bus ride away and I don't know the rest of the area very well either, if I wanted a cup of tea after I wouldn't know where to go. So I looked up Richmond Park, it looked big enough for me to be able to cover a couple of miles and it was close by. So I got my fleece, my QPR hat (which keeps my head dry since I'm not fond of umbrellas) and my backpack and headed off to Richmond Park.
I got off the bus at Petersham Gate. After orientating myself with the help of the map next to the gate I headed down the path towards Ham Gate. And then down to Kingston Gate, across and up to Ladderstile Gate, from there to Robin Hood gate, up to Roehampton Gate, over to Sheen Gate and then finally to Richmond Gate, where I managed to find another bus to me back into the center of Richmond where I followed my Mum's suggestion and went to Cafe Nero for a nice hot chocolate.
It was very tiring. There are more hills in Richmond than in Bushey. There's also more joggers and cyclists whom you have to evade, and you can only find a map at a gate so if you think you're lost you can't really check without finding a gate. At one point I thought I had gone the wrong way so I had to double back to the previous gate to check I was going the right way. The rain started pretty quickly once I got there so I soon got soaked, each time the rain stopped it soon started again so even if I got slightly dry I soon got wet again. It's also difficult to do the walk on your own, not only do you not have anyone pointing you in the right direction but there's also no one to tell you how much further to go. Towards the end it was getting very tiring, if I had planned on walking back to Petersham Gate I probably would have given up before that (as it was I couldn't see a direct route to it from Richmond Gate, hence my decision to make Richmond Gate my end-point in the first place.
According to Wikipedia, Richmond Park is 3 square miles. I don't know what that is in terms of non-squared miles, but my housemates are sure that I walked well over the 5 miles I had been intending. I'm fairly sure they're right, I was very tired afterwards and definitely felt like I'd walked far, far more than last year (although it didn't help that I was soaked by the rain). I was also aching a lot more when I woke up on Monday morning. If anyone wants to try and work out how much I walked using the map I linked above (I think I missed Bog Gate but I'm not sure, I might have taken the sand-coloured path by accident) then I'd be very interested!
Overall I raise £140 for the MND Association! If anyone else wants to sponsor me that can do so here- https://www.justgiving.com/Katie-Collins5
I'm currently on holiday in the Netherlands! Watching lots of TV and relaxing. Apologies for the late post, I spent Sunday afternoon getting warm, finishing packing, and resting my tired legs!
Have a good week everyone!