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Saturday, November 04, 2006

Seven Bridges Walk, Sydney


I'm still finding it hard to believe that last Sunday I did the Seven Bridges Walk, a fundraising initiative encouraging Sydneysiders to get out and exercise, whilst also donating optional "bridge tolls" to be divided equally between four charities: the National Heart Foundation, Cancer Council Australia, depression initiative Beyond Blue and Diabetes Australia (NSW).

People of all ages and fitness levels were encouraged to participate, and entry was free. Participants could start at any point along the 22 kilometre (14 mile) route which proceeded in a clock-wise direction. No running was allowed, and free buses operated in an anti-clockwise direction for participants to head home.

7 bridges map
The 22km (14 mile) route

All participants were provided with a passport with a unique barcode at the back. This would be scanned at various checkpoints en route, tracking your progress for a personalised participant certificate.

scan your passport
Scan your passport here

When A, N, C and I had met at Milsons Point train station at 8.30am, we only thought we'd do two bridges, three maybe, four at an absolute pinch. However once we started, it was amazing what the lure of another "stamp" in your participant passport will make you do (the kid in me has never grown up).

By bridge number three,we worked out that bridges four, five, six and seven were actually quite close together; and finally A and I pushed the others to complete the final half of the route from Hunters Hill through to North Sydney.

That's when the legs really started to ache and we never thought we'd see the finish. It was a beautiful day though: perfect outdoor conditions with clear blue skies, happy cheerful sunshine, mild temperatures and a regular light breeze. You couldn't have ordered a nicer day. There were free energy bars and bottles of water at the seven participant villages, and hundred of volunteers made sure participants stayed on the correct route and that everything ran smoothly.

And yes we did finally make it back to the start. We were endlessly pleased with ourselves and the aching muscles stopped after about three days :)

That's probably one meal walked off with plenty more to go.

Here are the pics:

milsons point
Where were started: Milsons Point checkpoint
8.40am Sunday October 29, 2006
with the Harbour Bridge in the background

passport scanning
Getting scanned at the start

We begin: stairs up to the Harbour Bridge
(Bridge #1)

Harbour Bridge path
Heading towards the Harbour Bridge

Sydney Opera House
Fabulous views of the Sydney Opera House

Bridge pylon
Sydney Harbour Bridge pylon

Travelling in style: getting pulled in a wagon

This kid got a number of admiring glances from fellow walkers. He also had a pillow and books. Why didn’t I think of that?!?

Darling Habour
Bridge #2: Pyrmont Bridge in Darling Harbour

Pyrmont Bridge
Walking across Pyrmont Bridge

Anzac Bridge
Bridge #3: Anzac Bridge

iron cove bridge
Bridge #4: Iron Cove Bridge

iron cove bridge
Walking across Iron Cove Bridge

[Cue a leisurely 70-minute lunch break - and yes, of course I took photos. To be posted shortly]

Gladesville Bridge
Bridge #5: Gladesville Bridge: the steepest one!

Harbour views from the Gladesville Bridge;
the Harbour Bridge can be spotted in the distance

The man on his bike pedalling furiously uphill and ony proceeding at a snail's pace was quite a sight to behold.

tarban creek bridge
Bridge #6: Tarban Creek Bridge

route marker
Plenty of route markers led the way

Fig Tree Bridge
Bridge #7: Fig Tree Bridge

cute house
Cute house in Hunters Hill

steep incline
Steep incline? Ha, I’m sure it was a 75 degree incline

The hill beyond this sign was an absolute killer. When I took this photo I thought it was cute. I had no idea of the pain that lay ahead. The only thing that kept me going was the pensioners threatening to overtake me.

lemonade stand
Entrepreneurial kids with a lemonade stand
(and this point they were goading the youngest to spruik their wares)

We spotted two lemonade stands along the way. And one very neighbourly house had an esky with a sign "free drinks and water bottle refills".

Lane Cove
Lane Cove bushland

Are we there yet?

Harbour Bridge
View of the Harbour Bridge from Balls Head

Harbour Bridge and Opera House
After 7.5 hours, back to Milsons Point!
Harbour Bridge and the Opera House

We made it back to the start at 4.30pm, only 30 minutes before the course closed at 5pm. Not a bad effort considering we hadn't planned to cover the entire route.

luna park
Luna Park

We headed down to Milsons Point wharf to try to catch one of the free ferries back to Circular Quay but a lack of timetable and an urgent desire to head home saw us trudge back up the hill again to collapse onto a train.

A long day but a worthwhile one. Thanks to all the sponsors and volunteers for their wonderful smiling efforts. I'm sure this event, a phenomenal success for its first run after years of planning, will be back again next year.

The Seven Bridges Walk was held on Sunday October 29, 2006.
12 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (AugustusGloop) on 11/04/2006 10:31:00 pm


  • At 11/05/2006 12:38 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You crazy crazy mofo. That's a great accomplishment!!

  • At 11/05/2006 1:21 am, Blogger PiCkLeS said…

    Great effort!

  • At 11/05/2006 11:02 am, Blogger thanh7580 said…

    Some great photos of Sydney there. The camera must have felt really heavy by the end of the walk haha.

  • At 11/05/2006 11:43 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sounds like you all had quite a big day! What a good idea as well :)

  • At 11/05/2006 9:16 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    That's so cool. I wish I had known about it earlier, as I would have definitely been there, with sturdy shoes on! I like that passport idea too.

  • At 11/05/2006 11:49 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Tracey - lol. I think that first sentence says it all! Well said :)

    Hi Pickles - Thanks. Amazing what you can do when you keep putting one foot in front of the other.

    Hi thanh7580 - There were certainly some spectacular views. I only brought the little Sony Cybershot with me. I did think about bringing the SLR but left it behind after considering the weight. Thank goodness.

    Hi HelenThura - It was a big day indeed. I was absolutely exhausted. Earned myself a handy excuse for not going to the gym on Monday too :)

    Hi Y - There had been some coverage of it in MX and on Channel 7 but a friend only asked me to go on the Wed before. It was a great idea and a phenomenal success. I'm sure it'll be back next year!

  • At 11/06/2006 9:14 pm, Blogger Jess (fushmush) said…

    wow! I'm very impressed.

    The sunshine and blue sky in the photos makes me a little homesick. Wish I'd been there :D

  • At 11/06/2006 10:53 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Jess - All your posts on London are making me pine for the good ol' days :)

    And nothing used to make me more homesick than the thought of fresh sweet prawns, Sydney rock oysters and super fresh sashimi. And cheap sushi rolls. And Vietnamese pork rolls. And, ok, I'll stop now :)

  • At 11/09/2006 11:59 am, Blogger Tim Chuma said…

    Next time bring a picnic along and eat while you walk. I walked to my local from the end of the tram line last week and "lived off the land" on the way. That big ice rocky-road ice cream wouldn't have had any calories as I walked it off! (only 2&1/2 hours though.)

  • At 11/18/2006 12:55 am, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Tim - Sounds like a great idea, although I've seen the stats on the treadmill - it takes forever just to walk off an apple! I do like to live in calorific optimism though :)

  • At 6/10/2008 12:09 pm, Blogger Fitness Guru said…

    Sounds fun! It keeps you fit while you take in the sights.... not a bad day out! Great effort to go all the way, it must have been very exhausting but you finally got there. Good on you!

  • At 6/10/2008 11:15 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Fitness Guru - Thanks. This was quite some time ago, but yes, I'm still relishing the achievement of completing the entire route :)


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