Walking for Justice in London under Lockdown: the 2020 London Legal Walk 10xChallenge

Every year ICLR holds an office bake sale and sends a team on the LLST Legal Walk to help raise funds for legal aid and advice. This year, we were forced to walk (or bake) in socially distanced isolation, but we went ahead anyway.

The latest walk took place on Monday 5 October. This post shares the account and images of two of our walkers. You can still give via the ICLR’s donations page.

Georgina Orde (reporter, Court of Appeal, Criminal Division):

Following the 10,000 Steps for Justice event in June, I resumed my fundraising activities for the London Legal Support Trust at the weekend, baking about 20 cheese scones (2 x 10) which I am eating my way through (fast).

On Monday, after a wet start, I ventured out when the sun came out, thinking it might be my only opportunity to avoid the rain. I began my 10k walk on Horse Guards Parade and cut through St James Park to admire the array of flowers which still seem to be out opposite.

To avoid people, I continued along the quiet street past St James Palace noting that the Mall was lined with flags, then I went down a back alley to Queen’s Walk by Lancaster House. Enjoying the sense of space after the confines of my flat I walked around in Green Park for a bit in the sun and headed off towards the Wellington Arch.

Once in Hyde Park I did a detour round the Rose Garden and saw the Boy and Dolphin and Huntress fountains. I then continued on towards the Serpentine and walked along the edge of the lake observing the swans where I could avoid the crowds.

Once I’d walked past the Serpentine Galleries I branched off into Kensington Gardens and considered going round the allotment garden but decided it would slow me down too much. I then came across the Henry Moore Arch which I hadn’t seen before, walked on enjoying the wide expanses then doubled back, crossing the bridge into Hyde Park. I noticed the Serenity statue for the first time and continued past the Lido café until I reached the Wellington Arch again.

I then walked down Constitution Hill to Buckingham Palace and on to Victoria, then home. I was lucky that the sun remained out throughout my walk so I had a great time and found plenty of photo opportunities.

My sister did 10,000 steps by taking her dog on a walk in Norwich on Monday.

Paul Magrath (Head of Product Development and Online Content)

I set off from Highbury on what was still a dry afternoon, and walked down to the Angel, Islington with my wife. On the way we stopped at a several hardware stores, looking for a specialist replacement light bulb, necessitated by a recent accidental breakage (trying to swat a persistent fly — mea culpa). At the Angel, my wife turned back and I proceeded southward alone, to Exmouth Market, where by prior arrangement I made a pit stop for tea with Nicholas Mercer of ICLR (Editor of the Business Law Reports). Lockdown has deprived us both of the human contact of office life, and we had plenty to catch up on.

Unfortunately, by the time I set off again, it was raining.

It continued quite determinedly to do so, as I continued my walk round Clerkenwell and then northwards via Lloyd Baker Square and up towards Barnesbury. I found Barnard Park largely deserted…

Even the dog walkers seemed to have stayed away. Even the druggies in hoodies. No need to worry about social isolation…

Though walking alone, I still enjoyed the sound of the human voice — in the form of Ben Miles reading The Mirror and the Light, the third in Hilary Mantel’s fabulous trilogy of novelistic recreations of the court of Henry VIII, with Thomas Cromwell at the height of his power, and at the peak of his unpopularity, leading to inevitable fall from grace.

Ben Miles as Thomas Cromwell in the stage production of Mantel’s Wolf Hall trilogy (Photo from The Guardian)

Miles is superb at conjuring not just the person of Cromwell, but all the voices of the court around him, including the increasingly unstable and unbiddable king. Audiobooks are an overlooked art form, in my view. The best of them complete and give life to the work of the writer in the same way as a really good performance of a piece of music. I love listening while I walk. One of the things working at home has forced me to do is replace the daily walk to the office with a daily walk around the local parks and waterways, and to explore the hidden back streets of my part of North London. In truth, today’s challenge of ten thousand steps was not a daunting one.

I continued northwards towards St Mary Magdalene church gardens and across Holloway Road to Highbury Fields, which was also looking a bit wet and deserted.

By the time I had tramped across the Fields, I checked my phone to see how far I had done: the 10k mark having clearly been passed, I made my way home to a mug of hot tea, a glass of whisky, and some dry clothes.

Thanks for reading this. And don’t forget: you can still help support free legal aid and advice to those in need via the ICLR’s donations page.

The ICLR publishes The Law Reports, The Weekly Law Reports and other specialist titles. Set up by members of the judiciary and legal profession in 1865.