One wade or another
10 GoodGymers made their way 1.0km to help their local community in Lewisham.
- Saturday, 14th of January 2017
- Led by Kim Parker
For this GoodGym Lewisham Starter Session, ten runner-volunteers tested the water, with a river cleaning wade-along and some high intensity interval training.
What a rare treat at this time of year, to be able to enjoy a daytime task and what better way to explore our surrounds than to get right in and walk along the River Ravensbourne?! We were very lucky today, with the help of Anne-Marie from Lewisham Gardens, to be linked up at last with Thames 21, with Lawrence and Lina showing us the way. With this being a starter session, a great way-in for newcomers, we were delighted to welcome first-timers Helen, Jenny, Sadie and Francois - show them some Lewisham love! We also welcomed tourist, Patrick and regulars Jacqueline, Helen, Lizzie and Steve.
Our task for today was right outside our start point at Glass Mill, something we see (and hear) all the time, but maybe take for granted, as it flows past, largely hidden by railings and shrubs. A task like this needs some very clear direction and Lawrence took us through some health and safety advice, instructing us on how best to experience our time in the water. We were (rather excited to be) given waders, an extra pair of socks (these were definitely needed today!), rubber gloves and a stick to help balance and assess the river bed as we walked. Before we knew it, we were at the water's edge and heading in!
There were a few apprehensive faces when we realised that the water was quite deep in places and wasn't as easy to navigate as we might think. All worries were quickly dashed once we got going and concentration and some careful, steady paddling took us along towards the Lewisham Gateway. Here Lawrence told us about the changes that have happened recently. Until a few weeks ago there was a dam here, while work was carried out to the road and to the area around the station, with the many homes being built. The river was, in effect, paused for a while, but is now free-flowing again and accessible for activities such as this.
We had planned to walk under the road, but were stopped in our tracks by the most beautiful sight of a kingfisher, perching up on the concrete side, quietly watching for fish, just metres away from the busy road and railway line! Not wanting to disturb this special resident, we watched for a while as Lawrence told us that this is London's cleanest river and that the kingfishers, who live in Brookmill Park and in Ladywell, had been unperturbed by the dam and just flew up and over the road to get back home. Wonderful.
Back now, for some litter picking. In pairs, our volunteers took grabbers and bags, then carefully caught the litter that flows here and is also discarded from the nearby bridge (where many people, on their way to the shopping centre, stopped and waved!). Helen, Francois and Steve waded slightly further along, to remove what turned out to be a bed frame from the river, strong work all of you! With temperatures dipping and rain blowing around us, it was soon time to get out and get warm, there's only so long you can stay in the water in January, sadly! A slightly numb game of one-legged wader removal ensued and we got ready to tackle our next challenge, a HiiT blast.
Runners warmed up with a steady jog around the outer edge of Glass Mill, ready to get going with a brisk game of cone tip (or cone blow away, as it ended up being, thanks The Wind). Each time though, it was pretty much even, so awesome work by both team 1s and team 2s! It's so important to warm up before strength training, so we also worked on firing up some muscles and increasing our mobility with some good old dynamics. Feeling that bit warmer (yes, we could feel our toes again!), we set to with a round of squats, tri-dips, side-lunges and press-ups, 30 seconds active/30 seconds rest...x3! Yes, x3! Really good work!
Thank you to Anne-Marie for sharing some of these super photos.
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