Saturday, 20 August 2016

Day 8 - London calling...and it's raining

Penultimate day...20 miles...

Within 10 minutes of walking I was drenched. Utterly. And the first three sections of the walk were grass fields and paths...squelch squelch squelch.

Now yesterday I was waxing lyrical about loving the rain, and don't get me wrong, I still do, but to know that I had 19.5 more miles with wet socks and shoes was not a happy thought.

Nevertheless, one soldiered on. I had said goodbye to my fabulous previous night's hosts and their guest Benjamin, and picked up my trail in tiny Fulmer which had a 2012 Olympic Gold postbox, and a 1930s phone box!

...and was now heading to the final countryside stage of my walk.

Windsor Castle away in the me...

I was beginning to be a little apprehensive of approaching the end of my walk. With every step I could feel that I was leaving the countryside behind. Walking through two country parks, one with incredible redwoods, were my final time with wide open landscapes before the industrial march of bricks and mortar began.

To Shakespeare this wouldn't have been the case. He had to go almost to the steps of The Globe to reach London. For me I was almost in London and I still had 30 miles to go!

The first 10 miles of my journey took me to West Drayton where I was able to buy new socks to put on my feet, and at this point I was joined by GSC's other Co-Founder Sarah who was going to walk the rest of today with me.

Which I can tell you I was very glad of because the Grand Union Canal which I now followed all the way to Kew was the most boring part of my route so far. Flanked by Tescos, cement works and salvage yards this entry to London was not the most auspicious. However, with someone to have a good natter with the time passed easily and we made good time to Kew.

I wonder if Will felt the same sensations as I had approaching London. Or was he fuelled with excitement and ambition? Perhaps a mixture of both.

It was also a wonderful opportunity to reflect on GSC's 10th Anniversary. When you're going from one project to the next you very rarely stop to consider what has gone past. GSC has achieved so much in 10 years which neither of us anticipated when Sarah suggested putting on a play in the castle grounds, all those years ago. So many people have been on the journey with us and supported, advised and encouraged, and to them we owe a great deal. GSC is in such an exciting place and it was inspiring to talk about future plans and to reminisce on the journey the company has taken...oh and enjoy a cream tea in the chintziest, vintage pop-up tea room...Eli our FOH Manager would have been in heaven!!

This is quite a short blog today as although it was a long day, the majority of it was a straight canal!

This walk however has taught me so much about Will, his world...encouraged me to reconsider the world I live in and reaffirmed my faith in the human spirit.

Tomorrow is the final day, and although my legs and ankle are very much looking forward to it, and the thought of my own bed is incredibly enticing, I am going to miss this walk. The people I have met and the solitudes I have felt; the simple approach to getting up and walking. I am so pleased to have made this life-long ambition a reality. Thank you all for your support too, which has been so encouraging.

See you all tomorrow for the Final Mile...and 15 before that!

Today's stats: 22.1 miles

Total miles: 139 miles

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