30 June 2019
Kim and I are loosely following a marathon walking training plan to get ready for Clarendon. Loosely being the operative word because Kim works shifts and we live on opposite sides of the city. During the week we walk separately, each trying to fit in miles as and when we can. The plan is to have one long walk together a week. Much like I did for my last Moonwalk training, the long walks alternate between one long walk week and the next half the previous week’s distance. Each long walk week is two miles longer than the last. It sounds complicated but it really isn’t.
Last week our long walk was eight miles, give or take, so this week was meant to be around four miles. Apparently, Clarendon is very hilly at the end, so the plan is to make the short walks hilly ones wherever possible. Kim’s shifts meant Sunday was long walk day this week, but it was the same day as the Lordshill 10k. Commando suggested dropping me off at Kim’s house on his way to cheer on the Hamwic Harriers who were running. We could then walk to the finish at the Ordnance Survey Offices, which would be around four miles. Luckily, Kim knew the way.
There was a bit of a change of plan at the last minute because Commando accidentally double booked himself and agreed to take Massi to the race. This meant, instead of dropping me off at Kim’s house, he actually dropped me off half way up Bassett Avenue. Being slightly lost wasn’t the best of starts but soon enough Kim and I were walking together towards the Sports Centre.
In fact we were very close to the place where CJ and I had spent so much time hunting for Boundary Stones. As we walked, I couldn’t help keeping an eye out just in case. CJ would have been livid if I’d found a stone without him but, as I didn’t, it wasn’t a problem. In fact I’m pretty sure there isn’t a stone there anyway.
Walking and talking meant I didn’t take many photos but we did stop briefly at Warrior’s grave. Warrior was a war horse, serving with the British Expeditionary Force, The Old Contemptibles, during World War I. He was quite a hero. Even after he was wounded by shrapnel, the grey charger returned to duty. After the war he became a police horse in Southampton. He was so popular with the people of the city that, when he died, just after the Sports Centre opened, he was given a civic burial complete with an inscribed headstone. Bizarrely, one of his hooves was preserved and turned into an inkwell, which the Chief Constable used.
With Kim leading the way we turned off Golf Course Road near the little fun fair and took a steep trail up to Coxford Road and then on to Lordshill Way. At this stage I’d have been completely lost as I don’t know this area at all well. Kim knew exactly where she was going though and we wound our way through a series of cutaways and little paths under her expert guidance. Just before we came out onto Lordshill Way again we crossed a bridge over a little stream. This was probably Tanners Brook, although I can’t be completely sure of that. Looking down into the water we noticed a very new looking bike. It looked very much as if someone had stolen it and dumped it there.
Apparently, it’s possible to follow Tanners Brook all the way to the Docks, close to the place it empties into the River Test. Although it looks as if much of the walk would be urban, it is an interesting exercise I might get round to trying one day.
Next we followed the trail beside Lordshill Way. When CJ and I walked this leafy trail I was struck by how much nicer it was than a pavement right beside the road. The cars may have been zooming past behind the trees but we couldn’t really hear them and the walk had the feeling of being somewhere rural rather than in the middle of Lordshill. If only all roads were like this.
Today’s walk was supposed to be about hills and it certainly didn’t disappoint. We were walking up what was once the only road running through Lordshill. Before all the modern houses were built it ran between the Bedwell Arms pub and Aldermore Road. It was, and still is, a steep climb. Locals called it soap sud alley because the local washer women threw their soapy water onto it and this mingled with water from the network of local springs to turn the road into a bubbly stream. It was a warm morning, even though it was still quite early, so the climb felt like hard work.
Without Kim there is no way I’d have found my way through the maze of streets and lanes to the Ordnance Survey offices. As it was, she made it seem easy and the miles flew by. There were just two more photos, one of what might have been a milestone, somewhere on Romsey Road and some evening primrose that caught my eye as we turned the last corner before the Ordnance Survey.