As a new recruit to COTA’s prestigious volunteering ranks I joined a group of volunteers for the Thames Walk training day last weekend.
Wow! What a fantastic part of London to do a sponsored walk in!
Forget the recent trend of following the tube lines. Walking along the River Thames to Teddington Lock and then entering Richmond Park highlights the fact that there is so much more to London’s landscape than the impressive architecture in ‘the city’.
The weather was outstanding (unusual for London in April) and everyone’s spirits were high (not unusual for COTA supporters on a Thames Walk). Standing amid the hustle and bustle of Richmond train station, we felt the serenity of the River Thames calling out to us, and so our walk began.
I love walking along the towpath of a river, especially in the sun. There’s something intrinsically magical about the sunlight dancing on the water, urging you to throw caution to the wind and jump right in. Thankfully I wasn’t too lightheaded from the fresh air and tranquility to actually give in to this impulse. Years ago I rowed down the Thames; I know exactly what the water is really like!
I was sad to leave the riverside, but entering Richmond Park rewards you for going against all instinct. Suddenly it didn’t seem like a hardship at all. In fact, the River Thames quickly became a distant memory, brushed away by the vibrant green of the rolling hills and the wonderful surprise of seeing herds of deer just meters from us.
will know that the Isabella Plantation is the Anyone who has done the walk in the past will know that the Isabella Plantation is a perfect place to stop for a picnic. Sitting just outside the entrance we looked down onto this exotic garden. For people like myself who love being immersed in nature, walking around here is pure decadence. However, if the idea of extra walking doesn’t sound like your idea of fun, musicians from the Latinos in London group have offered to join us at this spot to entertain everyone with some live music.
With the sense of community that the rest of the volunteers brought to the training day and the absolutely stunning scenery we walked through, I can’t think of a better way to help vulnerable children in Colombia.
For me, that’s what the Thames Walk is about; helping children in Colombia overcome the obstacles life has thrown in their path and encouraging them to find their way in the world… and also meeting people who share the same passion as me.
On top of the actual walk, there are some fantastic prizes to be won this year (*Afternoon tea for 2 at London’s prestigious 5 star hotel, The Dorchester, * A special edition Paddington Bear book, signed by its author, Michael Bond, etc)
To see the full list of prizes and how you can register, go to the event’s webpage.
I hope to meet you at the walk on 1st May,