Monday, September 18, 2006

London all-nighter - the Metro Life Hike

Friday night after a study day on brain injury for work, I met some of my work mates for farewell drinks for Chantal, at Be At One, in Clapham. She is leaving work for a new job, so two for one cocktails was deemed the appropriate way to see her off!

After two or three, Charlotte and I headed into the Guildhall in the city, to meet Caitlin and Jack, for the Metro Life Hike.

The Metro Life Hike is a 17 mile hike around London's Circle Line, above ground. A chance to see several open houses along the way, and raise money for the Maggie Cancer Caring Centres. Although we haven't managed to raise much money so far, we are hoping to raise more now that we have finished - you can donate here.

We completed our registration, and received our t-shirts and maps, in the rather grand interior of the Guildhall. After the provided pasta preparation for the long walk, and a warm up in the Guildhall square, the walk started at 10pm.

The walk, with loads of other people, started out through Farringdon, and then up to King's Cross. A rest stop at the Wellcome Trust Gibbs Building, before moving on to Regent's Park and Paddington way, and down to Notting Hill, and another rest stop.

Walking on through the early hours, we made our way past Hyde Park and the Royal Albert Hall, down through the embassy area of London, and past the Argentine Ambassador's residence. I must admit, I was way too tired by this stage to take in the light show here!

On through the little posh streets to past Buckingham Palace, we made it past Big Ben, across Westminister Bridge, to the London Eye. Here we were treated to a 30 minute rest, and the chance to enjoy the views from the first ever night flights on the Eye. At 3.30am, the lights on London were taken in with bleary eyes, and a round of Percy Pigs for our pod!

The last portion of the walk was the hardest, with zombie-like foot in front of the other walking to the next stop, City Hall, via Embankment and St Paul's (surely that was the long way!!??). Very tired as we walked across Tower Bridge with the hint of sunrise on the horizon. We finally made it back to the Guildhall after passing the Gherkin and Liverpool Street, and made it by 6.30am. (More photos.)

Just able to walk around now, that was 17 miles of walking when I should have been sleeping, that I am still feeling!!

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