After a great deal of dithering, I’d somehow found myself in a passageway heading for Cathedral Close. There was a door in the side of the passage leading directly into the cathedral. It was closed but the walls were etched with ancient graffiti, along with some that looked more modern. The passageway came out beside a walled courtyard with a manicured lawn. Later I discovered this was part of the great medieval priory of St Swithun. Perhaps the monks used this door to get from the priory to the cathedral? Continue reading Another secret garden, an author and a bishop
Standing at the bottom of Wharf Hill, I toyed with the idea of heading towards the Itchen Navigation. Only days before I’d walked it with CJ though and, beautiful as it is, it didn’t seem the best use of my time. Besides, I wouldn’t get very far before I had to turn back even if I marched my fastest. The morning was getting warm and slightly muggy so dawdling was the order of the day. Instead I headed towards Wharf Mill, or Seagrams Mill as it’s also known, once the main grain mill in the city. Sadly this is not the original Wharf Mill, built in around 1205. The modern building was constructed on the site of the old in 1885 and these days it’s no longer a mill. Like so much else it’s been turned into luxury appartments. Continue reading Walking The Weirs with new eyes and dithering
When I left Abbey Gardens I had half a mind to wander up to the cathedral to see some of the things CJ and I missed last time. The trouble was I hadn’t bought my ticket with me. Besides, it seemed too nice a day to be inside. In the end I wandered off in the opposite direction, towards City Bridge and The Weirs. For a spilt second I considered visiting City Mill. It’s been on my list for ages but it didn’t look open and I wanted to get some sun while I could. You never know with English weather. Continue reading Cheese Hill
When Commando said he was thinking of volunteering as a pacer for the Winchester Half Marathon I was pleased. It would give me a couple of hours to wander around the city while he ran. Early this morning there was a practice run for the would be pacers and, of course, it was too good an opportunity for me to miss so I tagged along. We arrived in Winchester before the sun had had a chance to chase away the last of the morning mist. Continue reading Winchester, abbeys, gardens. a celebrity chef and a king
It’s been an odd couple of days. First there was a small disaster with a WordPress update that had my heart in my mouth for a while until I called the winderful people at LCN. Of course they sorted it all out for me quick smart, much to my relief. Then there were lots of little errands to run, eating up miles but nothing that could really be called a genuine walk followed by sitting at my Mac working on my first Itchen Spitfires’ newsletter. By Friday evening the newsletter was all but ready and I needed to get out and stretch my legs. As I also realised I’d not eaten anything since breakfast I thought I’d take a wander down to the Butcher’s Hook pub, have a coffee and a look at the final piece of the Roam Art Trail puzzle then maybe get some chips from the chip shop. Continue reading Disappointment, triumph, chips and cygnets
So there we were on the Itchen Navigation somewhere between Shawford and Compton Lock with a bull blocking the path ahead. Just as we were about to turn around and walk back to Shawford to catch the train home the bull took a few steps, reaching for some more succulent leaves. Suddenly there was a gap between his huge posterior and the edge of the path. It wasn’t the widest gap and, being mostly filled by bull, it looked a little dicey but it was now or never.
I turned to CJ and said, “let’s go. Quickly but don’t run.” Continue reading The final miles
With one last look at the alpacas In the field, we crossed the road at Kiln Lane and I showed CJ the half hidden entrance to the next section of the canal.
“If I hadn’t met Peter, the smiley man, that first time I might never have found it,” I told him. “It’s one of the few places you can get lost on the Navigation.”
Then we carried on, hunger driving us to pick up the pace and get to the rustic benches as soon as possible. There aren’t that many dry places to sit on the Navigation, even in the middle of summer and this is one of the muddiest stretches. Continue reading water, dog dips and an interloper on the trail
We’d reached Bishopstoke and the more scenic part of the Itchen Navigation without incident. Well, apart from the circus, a koi carp in the Itchen and some slightly scary cows behind a flimsy fence. CJ seemed to be holding up well, despite Commando’s misgivings. It took a while to get across the road, it always does, but soon we were on the other side of Stoke Bridge looking at a much wider, tarmacked path. Continue reading Breaking new ground
When I told Commando I was going to walk the Itchen Navigation to Winchester today and CJ wanted to come along, he was concerned. He didn’t think CJ would cope with a fifteen mile walk, no coffee stops and nothing but nature to look at. In fact he suggested we get the train to Eastleigh and start off there, on the pretty part of the Navigation. CJ insisted he’d be fine though so, fairly early (at least for CJ), we packed some sandwiches and drinks in my rucksack and set off. Continue reading Putting CJ to the test
Hundreds of people turn out for parkrun at Southampton Common every Saturday morning. They run their 5k and they go home feeling virtuous, quite rightly so. It takes a lot to get out of bed early at the weekend and run around an often cold, wet, muddy common after all. Most probably don’t realise all the work that goes on behind the scenes to make their run possible though. This week Commando was volunteering to help set up. For him this is a regular thing, he does it a few times a year. Some amazing people do it every week though. They are the real parkrun heroes! Continue reading Parkrun behind the scenes