...with its choppy waters, winding its way in a series of great loops through London and Southwark, Middlesex and Surrey. Today a friend joined me to walk from Putney Bridge to Hampton Wick, checking out the route for the big John Paul II Walk on Oct 28th. It was a longish walk, over 15 miles, and we stopped for lunch at Richmond, dropping into a pleasant pub at the end of the lane where my mother lived as a child...
The full walk, from Westminster Cathedral to the shrine of Our Lady of Westminster at Hampton Wick, will be well over 20 miles and will take all day. Walkers need to know that much of the route is muddy: wear sensible boots or walking shoes. But it is a most glorious walk - trees meet overhead like a gothic cathedral's soaring arches, teams of rowers pass on the water with rhythmic splashes and with coxes calling out sharp instructions, there are families with children and dogs, and you pass places that echo with history: Kew Palace and Kew Gardens, Syon House, the Star and Garter Home on Richmond Hill.
Along the way, we sought to work out any hassles that might emerge on the JPIII Walk, but actually the route is simple and it is just a case of "keep on". Hampton Wick is just across the river from Kingston, and as our walk today finished, D. caught the train back to London from there, and I caught a bus home.
Meanwhile, for those who want to take part in an act of witness, but aren't up for a 20-mile river hike: come to the Blessed Sacrament Procession through London NEXT Saturday (Oct 20th) starts 3pm Westminster Cathedral. We need you: come and pray for the New Evangelisation.