London Bridges Walk (2) 29 June 2019

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The Thursday Walking Group, and some friends, continued their walk along the Thames Path on Saturday 29 June. Our intention was to walk from our finish point on 30 May and continue east.

the date was chosen so that we could end at St Paul's Cathedral to witness the ordination of Caroline RINK and her continued following of her calling in the Church of England at St Mary, Kilburn with St James, West Hampstead.

However the walk also coincided with what would become the hottest day of the year. That aside we were disciplined enough to have sufficient water. It is also worth noting that it was Armed Forces Day and SSAFA (Soldier, Sailor and Air Force Association) were undertaking their charity walk across the bridges as well. The pleasing side of this was that there were always two smiling soldiers at every bridge willing to take the group photos at the bridge.

After travelling to London and getting the bus to Chelsea Embankment we started out at 10.40am.

The first bridge crossed was Albert Bridge towards Battersea Park...

and they're off, Battersea Bridge in the background...

Albert Bridge, our first objective,

We crossed and entered the wonderful green space that is Battersea Park. This is an incredible 200-acre green space opposite Chelsea. Halfway along Terrace Drive we see the Peace Pagoda. This is one of thirty-six similar sites established across the world and inspired by a Buddhist monk from Japan following his meeting with Mahatma Ghandi in 1932.

Onwards through the immaculate park to Chelsea Bridge where we cross to the north side.

We are still smiling, starting to get hot...

We then have a long walk along Grosvenor Road towards Vauxhall Bridge, stopping opposite Nine Elms to see the new US Embassy, and taking a well earned hydration break.

Stranded, and no Green Cross Man...

Vauxhall Bridge, looking north but walking south...

We turned left into Albert Embankment, passing the MI6 building, known as Ceaușescu Towers for its oversized pompous architecture, it has been here since 1994.

Continuing east we rejoin the riverside path below the flat once owned by the novelist Jeffrey Archer

Albert Embankment looking east. Thames House (MI5) and Palace of Westminster in the background.

Passing the London Firebrigade Headquarters we see Lambeth Palace and the small church of St Marys-at-Lambeth, where our young Val married Alan many years ago.

The happy bride.

We now cross Lambeth Bridge, painted red to signify its position above the Palace of Westminster and its proximity to the House of Lords.

Lambeth Bridge

We then walk north over Lambeth Bridge towards Horseferry Road, turning right into Victoria Tower Gardens and Abingdon Street towards the Houses of Parliament. The number of other people around us is increasing here. We cross Westminster Bridge southbound and then turn left on to the Thames Path in front of the Marriott Hotel at the old County Hall, the London Eye and into Jubilee Gardens. Then onto the Hungerford and Golden Jubilee Bridges. We had to cross twice here, as the purist element insisted on every bridge.

Golden Jubilee Bridge

We now continue east along the South Bank, passing the Royal Festival Hall and climbing the stairs onto Waterloo Bridge.

Waterloo, Waterloo...

We cross Waterloo Bridge, northbound, and turn right onto Victoria Embankment. Shortly we cross from the City of Westminster into the City of London (The Square Mile). there is a short diversion as the footpath is closed on the riverside to allow for the construction of The Thames Tideway, a 25km Super Sewer under the Thames!

We now cross Blackfriars Bridge south.

Blackfriars Bridge, the border between the City of London and London Borough of Southwark

We have crossed the penultimate bridge of the day...

We can now see our objective, St Paul's Cathedral. But before we continue it is feeding and hydration time in front of the Tate Modern.

Fully refreshed we are off for the final leg, the Millennium Bridge. This is a pedestrian footbridge linking Bankside with the City of London and was originally opened in June 2000, but closed following concerns over its swaying actions. It was reopened in February 2002.

We made our entry into St Paul's Cathedral ten minutes before the start of the ordination service.

Inside, and before the big event

Our congratulations to Caroline Rink on her special day

In summary, we had a great day. It was hot, but we achieved out objectives to cross the bridges and support our friend, Caroline. We walked just under ten miles.

We are already taking about our next walk, Southwark Bridge to the Greenwich Peninsular and, hopefully, the Thames Barrier.