So what is the London Bridge Challenge and why did I do it?
Since arriving back in Manchester, I’ve had to work out how to make money to go on more Adventures. Last time I did a lot of work in the Event Industry – but the work is long hours, stressful and doesn’t give me much time to do anything else.
Instead, this time around I am focusing on building my own businesses – Stag & Raven and betternotstop. So money will continue to be tight for a few more months (If you are interested I will be starting to create monthly income reports, just sign up for the newsletter to get them).
Not wanting to miss out on all the fun of Adventures, I’ve decided to start a series of £10 Adventures.
The rules are as follows:
- The total cost of the Adventure has to be under £10.
- This includes Transport, Food and any Kit.
- Must be something that when I tell people they are surprised or shocked. Going for a long walk or a bike ride won’t cut it.
My First £10 Adventure:
Luckily my first Adventure was already mapped out for me. Bex Band, ‘The Ordinary Adventurer’ had completed the London Bridge Walk Challenge a few weeks before. As I was down in London for the talk any way I just arrived a day early.
I was staying at my Cousin Tom’s in Waterloo so after making a packed lunch I set off at 6.30am to get the train from Waterloo down to Hampton Court (£4.00 one way).
Emma and I were supposed to meet at 8 am as Bex had warned us the challenge would take all day. I wasn’t sure how much my back brace would affect my walking so wanted an early start. However, that was not to be, as Emma showed up an hour late!
Anyway….. we got started and crossed our first bridge within minutes, Hampton Court Bridge. The walk across that part of London is lovely – lots of greenery and walking along the Thames is beautiful. There are 33 London Thames Bridges in total, with seven being rail only. This meant we had 26 bridges to cross by 6 pm, our planned arrival time to meet Tom and his partner Laura for dinner.
We were lucky to get a good weather day and the morning passed by relatively quickly. Neither of us knew this part of London at all – despite both having lived in the Capital.
The path was easy to follow (just keeping the river to our left or right, depending on what bridge we had crossed) and it felt like a walk in the Country.
The old bridges were beautiful and many of them are pedestrian only at the start of the route. We hardly needed to use our maps so could just enjoy the walk. As far as the logistics are concerned, I would recommend reading Bex Band’s in-depth guide to the challenge.
There are plenty of beautiful buildings and lovely countryside to keep you interested along the way. Some of the houses along the Thames are incredible – get ready for some serious home envy!
We stopped for lunch quite early, just before Kew. By the time we had reached Battersea (Bridge 16) my feet were really starting to hurt. I was wearing walking boots, but the furthest I have walked this year in a day was 13 miles back in January – and we had already passed that. I also have to wear a vest under my back brace to stop it rubbing (it’s made of plastic) and this was already soaked through!
Emma was also feeling the pain. Despite being an experienced hiker, born in the Lake District. She had shipped some walking boots down to London but they had no insoles, so her feet were killing too. But it was 2 pm and we still had plenty of the day to go so we soldiered on.
Once we got to Westminster Bridge (Bridge 23) we started to recognise the London we know and Love. There had been little to no cafes or coffee shops on the route so we took this opportunity to grab a coffee to keep us going.
We had really started to hit the city and tourists trail now. The busyness and crowds where a bit overwhelming, especially after such quietness for the beginning of our walk. That coupled with our exhaustion, we knew the last few hours were going to be hard.
In fact, for the last ten bridges, our conversation was pretty non-existent!
I was in a lot of pain but determined not to give up so close to the goal. Emma was just as determined to complete what we had been told by a few people would be ‘impossible’ to achieve in a day. We would not be defeated!
We finally crossed Tower Bridge at around 7 pm and fell into the closest Wetherspoons to meet Tom & Laura. Checking my iPhone health app, we had recorded 26.6 miles walking – 68,500 steps. That was more than a Marathon!
This was an easier enough challenge and I imagine most people will have the kit we had:
- Walking boots
- Warm clothing (including waterproof coat)
- Packed lunch
- Two bottles of water
- Portable Phone Charger (we definitely needed this as we were using my phone as a GPS)
- £4.00 Single Journey Waterloo to Hampton Court
- £3.00 Packed Lunch (I had chicken & rice salad, apples and a cereal bar)
- £2.35 Coffee
- Total: £9.35
Keep up to date with my upcoming £10 Adventures by signing up for my newsletter below. I am based in Manchester so they are likely to occur in the North West, but I’m open to suggestions. Leave me a comment below!
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Also published on Medium.