So what to do in Leeds on a Wednesday night? Go for a drink? Have a meal? Watch the football? Trumping all of these options is a superb walk along the riverbank of the Leeds to Liverpool ship canal. Even better when it is for a fantastic cause like Project Africa and you have the company of friendly colleagues from the St Johns office (and Michael Von P!).
So 12 intrepid explorers set off from the Queens hotel at 5pm (well 5.20pm after we waited for the trading guys to get supplies!). Arranged by Jim Hogan as part of Hike for Health week and with the route planned by Michael Von P, we headed away from the city in our yellow T-shirts and joined the banks of the canal.
Very quickly, priorities for the walk were established: Chris Uren and Michael, finish first. Asha and Jessica, beat Adam and Ben. Paula, Mark, Jim and Neil, enjoy the walk and the company. Myself and Graham, discuss technology and cameras and stop to take random pictures.
Chris and Michael charged on as we left the suburbs of Leeds and headed into the magnificent Yorkshire countryside towards our destination, Apperley Bridge. I dropped back from the leading group to engage with my fellow walkers (Michael claims it was because I was not fit enough and had no desire to win!). The real reason was that Jim was kindly carrying my water and on a barmy evening, liquid refreshment was required.
So as the walk continued the views became increasingly pleasant passing Kirkstall Abbey and Rodley. Chris and Michael charged on, the girls wouldn’t share their chocolate and the cyclists that were passing us on very narrow sections of the walk got faster. Topics of conversation included holidays, dogs, cameras and the football.
Thoughts of refreshments at the finish drove us on and at a cracking pace the group all finished the hike in an impressive 2 hours 40 minutes (2 hours 15 for those who chose competition over sociability!!).
Final thoughts….. It was a brilliant evening, 120 miles covered, at least £500 raised and still climbing, great company and a hidden gem of a walk. So come on the rest of St Johns and City Walk, let’s do it again!!