Julie's Jabber - This week with London LDWA

Julie's Jabber - This week with London LDWA
Julie's Jabber - This week with London LDWA

Long walks are back, hooray. You are now allowed to go as far as you like for as long as you like, and over the past two weeks or so London Group members have chalked up some lovely-looking 20-milers on their own. In a way, that's the easy part. The National Executive Coronavirus committee has been convening (virtually) every Monday to review the advice given to LDWA members, and while it looks as if we may soon be able to congregate again it will be a social walk but not as we know it.

In an attempt to re-connect with football and to find an alternative to repeats of Lewis and MIdsomer Murders, I have been watching live televised  matches in Germany's Bundesliga. These are taking place behind closed doors, without the sturm und drang emanating from packed stands, and I have witnessed more rousing occasions in Lewisham library. It has taken a while to get used to it and I'm guessing that if, as everyone hopes, there will be further easing of restrictions, we are going to have to adjust to a similar 'new normal' on our walks of social distancing, how and where we meet up, and what we do about the drink and meal at the finish. (Just to add a further doom-laden thought, how many of the pubs now shuttered and closed will be in a position to re-open after lockdown has taken its financial toll?) 

We might even have to take the width of the paths we walk on into consideration. To which end, it's hard to see how it will be possible for the time being to pound, en masse,  the pavements of the capital itself and I imagine most of the post-lockdown programme will involve escaping into the countryside. This is pretty much the reverse of how London Group coped last time the walks programme was brought to a halt. Nineteen years ago, the LDWA suffered a comparablly dramatic curtailment of its activities during the foot-and-mouth outbreak. With all walking in the countryside forbidden, folks took to what was available around the capital instead.

In Newsletter Number 23, June 2001, Colin Saunders wrote: 'It was good to see such good turnouts on the London walks that replaced out usual countryside programme. ... Most of the London walks used such routes as canal towpaths, Thames Path etc. We have been joined on these walks by quite a few "refugees" from other Groups, fed up with either no walking at all or pounding the seaside proms.' 

In other words - and to end on a cheerful note - London Group managed then, and albeit in different circumstances it will do so again.



ian fairweather kend walk

Ian Fairweather captured this tempting looking field path on a Kent-based walk that took him around the North Dons and Greensand Ways.



In last week's Jabber I mentioned the Coronavirus 100 Challenge, and London Group member Rod Smith has done us proud. He reports: 'My stats for the Coronavirus 100 Challenge are 160.57kms = 100.36 miles in 20.87 hours with 210 feet ascent. All walked, nowt run. Age 74.4.'  Awesome!



rod smith st margaret

St. Margaret's Hall, one of the checkpoints for the Cinque Ports 100, organised by Kent Group
PHOTO Rod Smith



Talking of Hundreds and Kent, it's 20 years this weekend since I had my first glimpse of the LDWA's flagship event. My memories of the Kent 100 of 2000  were jogged by an item in London Group Newsletter Number 19, written by Bill Thompson:


'Congratulations to all London members who took part in this year's event. Janet Chapman (bravo on completing your tenth!), Gail and John Elrick, Ken Fancett, Rob Myers, Don Newman, Peter Saunders, Ann Sayer, Bill Thompson, Martin Tringham.

'The weather was terrible, especially on the main event, so well done everyone. Well done also to the London members who worked gallantly on the breakfast stop at Wye, churning out porridge and a cooked breakfast to over 200 walkers. Kathy LoRaso organised the team, which consisted of Rob Myers, Alan Rogers, Ann Sayer, Bill Thompson, Dave Williams, Tricia Hewlett and of course Kathy herself.'


I was roped in by Avril Stapleton to help at the 70-mile checkpoint. It was my first experience of the physical and mental depredations caused by taking part in Hundreds, i.e. there were lots of exhausted bodies scattered around the hall floor. One chap had fallen asleep sitting up at a table, head nodding over a plateful of congealed fried egg. Thinking he had finished it, I helpfully whisked away the plate. Apparently when he woke up he threw a major wobbler because someone had stolen his fried egg. 




And finally...

I spotted this amazing image someone had posted on my Twitter timeline. Captions, please!



weird thing on walk



London LDWA - http://www.ldwa.org.uk/London