I meant to mention in my last post that we were planning to do the Acorns Lantern Walk this weekend. But I didn’t, and so it gets its own post today.
Acorns is a children’s hospice that operates in the West Midlands area, and has been running for 25 years. The Lantern Walk is an annual fundraising event that they hold, and follows a 12-km route from Walsall Arboretum to the hospice and back.
Given that the weather suddenly turned colder this week, and the rain started to become significantly more predictable, I watched Saturday approach with a bit of trepidation. While the children are capable of walking that sort of distance, I wasn’t too sure that they’d be amenable to doing it in the rain. As we started, there was only a light drizzle, and the shelter we had from the trees in the Arboretum kept it from being annoying.
I don’t know whether it’s planned this way or not, but staging a walk like this in Autumn, in an Arboretum, lends a definite poignancy to the event. It’s beautiful, and enthusiastic (with almost 1,000 eager walkers joining in), but somehow sombre all the same. Once you’re past the first 1.5 km or so, and head out into the streets of Walsall towards the hospice, it’s not quite so picturesque. There’s a jovial, community feel, as passing cars occasionally hoot, and some of the walkers are dressed up for the occasion. But between the sound of the traffic, and the rain falling on your anorak hood, it’s easy to get lost in the noise and to just retreat into a bubble of walker isolation. Once it gets dark, though, the sight of the lit lanterns of the walkers ahead of you is inspiring. Especially once you get closer to the end, and there are more lanterns aggregated around the finishing area.
About a mile from the end, the rain started to come down a lot harder, and by the time we crossed the line and received our medals, we were pretty much drenched. While the children wanted to stay and hang around for the promised laser light show, we gave it a skip. The thought of another 45 minutes in the heavy rain, added to however long the show would be, was just not on my agenda. I think with better weather, the atmosphere at the end would have been a lot more enjoyable.
To end off, I’ll just mention that if you’d like to contribute to the work that Acorns does, you can do so at our JustGiving page here. We raised a fair bit selling cake pops and biscuits that Anna helped make, but it would be nice to do a little bit more.