Despite the postponement of the London Legal Walk due to COVID-19, many of us still marked 8 June with a virtual “10,000 Steps for Justice”, including a team from ICLR. You can donate via the ICLR’s fundraising page.
We were among 3,700 walkers, joggers, jugglers and roller skaters, who together have raised over £190,000 so far for free frontline legal advice services. According to the organisers, London Legal Support Trust (LLST):
“In light of the Covid-19 outbreak, there will be a significant rise in Emergency Funding applications from advice agencies as they deal with the ongoing situation. Fundraising for free legal advice services is therefore more critical than ever if agencies are to continue doing such a fantastic job in preventing homelessness, resolving debt problems, gaining care for the elderly, and fighting discrimination and exploitation.”
Three of us walked this year, and as we each did so separately (alone or with friends), we have set out our recollections in turn below.
Unencumbered by an umbrella, which I have never before needed on a London Legal Support Trust sponsored walk, I made for streets and areas which were either empty or relatively free of people. Despite the absence of sun and rain, Marsham Street had its own rainbow of multi-coloured glass panels running alongside the roof of the Home Office, offering hope in the fight against Covid 19. I headed towards Horse Guards’ Parade in search of a wide open space and a photo opportunity.
Since the Mall was busy, I decided to climb the steps leading to the Duke of York statue and walk past the Athenaeum Club, taking in, but not a photo of the Doric portico, statue of Athena and copy of the Parthenon frieze, since the building was partially covered in scaffolding. To avoid people I turned left and walked past the Philip Mould gallery, an alley leading to an obscure branch of Pret-a-Manger and St James Palace. I rounded the corner and decided to go where other people were not and, turning right instead of left, saw people in red coats marking the entrance to Fortnum and Mason and others going in. Somewhere was open!
I then turned left again to avoid people and walked up New Bond Street, noting the banners supporting the NHS in its fight against Covid 19. I turned left into Brook Street and carried on walking, getting a good view of Claridge’s and carried on until I reached Park Lane.
I crossed the road by the Animals in War Memorial and entered the refreshingly wide expanse of Hyde Park. This took me to the edge of the Serpentine where I wandered round the Rose Garden while the sun was out before heading through the Wellington Arch and down Constitution Hill to Buckingham Palace. I then took some photos of Buckingham Palace before heading into St James Park and out into Birdcage Walk because the Park was too crowded.
I walked past Westminster Abbey, down Great Smith Street, Marsham Street and past the Tate. I crossed Vauxhall Bridge for photo opportunities and to prolong the walk to 2 hrs 20 minutes so I could make doubly sure I had fulfilled the requirement of walking 10,000 steps without an instrument to measure the number of steps I was doing.
I drove to Brentford where my friend Mary lives. She showed me that I have an app on my iphone which automatically counts my steps every day! I never knew!
We set off at 4.30 with her dog Hendrix. We socially distanced (except the dog!). We walked to Boston Manor Park – which is massive and goes under the M4. We walked by the banks of the River Brent – orchards, wild flower meadows, woods etc. –really lovely.
Look at these giant cowslips! We then walked to another wild spot (can’t remember the name) and walked home: total 10,725 steps.
I set off from my home in Highbury, making my way through quiet residential streets towards Stoke Newington, where I planned to walk around Clissold Park. The park is popular but there’s enough space to keep your distance from others, particularly the joggers who circuit the perimeter path.
There are ponds in one corner of the park, with ducks and geese and their fluffy young; and a sort of zoo in another area, with goats and deer looking rather disconsolate in their quarantine-like enclosures, though you can still feed the goats through the bars of their fence.
After two circuits of the park I broke out again and made my way southwards, to Canonbury, where I walked along the quiet canal to make sure of a full count of steps, before doubling back towards Highbury Fields and home.
All the photographs were taken by the walkers.