When I was training for the first Moonwalk my route was always the same except I added a mile each week. Usually I prefer a circular route but the need to add that mile made it impractical so I’d walk in the general direction of Winchester, add half a mile then turn round and walk back. For months and months I went out in all weathers and the only real variation, except when I got lost, was the last half mile of each walk. Oh, how I looked forward to that half mile of new ground and the excitement of finding something different to look at.
On Tuesday morning with no idea where to go I sat staring at the map looking for inspiration. This would be the first walk of my week off and, as far as the weather forecast was concerned, the best day to be outside. Lots of places looked interesting and I was toying with the idea of taking the Red Jet to the Isle of Wight until I realised I didn’t have a clue what to do once I got there. In the end the best I could come up with was a return to Winchester to take care of some unfinished business. Continue reading Unfinished business in Winchester, The Hockley Viaduct
Althought the Moonwalk training was still in the early stages in December 2012 and the long walks were in single figure miles the weather made me reluctant to go out. Frost, ice and a forecast for sleet is never good walking weather. Still, if I was going to complete another walking marathon I had to do the training and I had a plan to cover the required number of miles. The only problem was part of it was new to me and I wasn’t entirely sure of the way… Continue reading an icy cold eight miles – first published 6 December 2012
On Sunday, Commando had a fifteen mile run scheduled on his London Marathon training plan. When he said he fancied running in the New Forest I was putting on my boots before he’d even finished speaking. In my head I had visions of beautiful blue sky over purple heather on White Moor and maybe a pony or two in the distance. The actual walk couldn’t have been further from this if it had tried.
The Tuesday afternoon hailstorm was short lived and, by Wednesday morning, it was back to blue skies by the time I left for work. For a change I decided to take a slightly longer route along the river with lovely glimpses through the fences and gates to all the moorings there. The water was flat and calm reflecting the boats moored under Cobden Bridge and I couldn’t help smiling to myself as I made my way to the office. It was going to be a busy week with two members of staff on holiday and a new one to train so I needed all the calm views I could get especially as I was still expecting Commando’s stomach bug to kick in at any moment. Continue reading A blue sky kind of week
Eventually I dragged myself away from my seat overlooking the Itchen Valley and, humming to myself, set off along the lane towards Church Fields. There were sheep grazing on the Water Farm fields. At this point I had a choice of route, down the winding lane to Shawford and onto the Navigation, or across the road and through the southern part of Twyford Village. The Navigation was tempting, mostly because it meant avoiding the horrors of a mile and a bit of footpathless Highbridge Road with cars zooming past at fifty plus miles an hour. The Navigation, on the other hand, would have mud and breached banks. The section between Otterbourne and Allbrook was almost impassable on my last visit. Taking that option could well mean having to turn back. Continue reading Homeward bound
Safely across the road at the Hockley Traffic lights I set off along the road towards Twyford. It’s not the nicest of roads with cars whizzing past and nothing much to see at first, just half a mile of potholed pavement, traffic and fields hidden behind scrubby trees. I could have been on the Navigation trail if I’d just turned to the west but there was method in my madness. Back in the days of Moonwalk training walks, when my one foray onto the Navigation at Mansbridge had ended after half a mile of mud and fear before I’d even got started, this had been the route I’d taken when I came to the long miles. The ten mile mark was Twford, known as one of the most beautiful villages in Hampshire and, by trial and error, I’d found a little oasis of peace and calm amid the screaming muscles and blistered feet. Continue reading Twyford, revisiting an old friend
It started with a bus. The bus was late due to the roadworks on the bridge. It crawled along but it got me there in the end. Then there was a train. The train was delayed due to signalling problems at Woking. It arrived at the wrong platform, necessitating a mad dash up the stairs and down the stairs but I got there in the end. Good job I’m intimately acquainted with Southampton Central station so I knew where to go. I’m pretty sure a few people missed it. At least I’d had time to grab a coffee from the station cafe beforehand. Continue reading Winchester, an exercise in not getting lost
Interesting as my exploration of Clausentum may have been, there really wasn’t all that much walking involved. On such a bright day it seemed a shame to go home so soon so I carried on walking with no real plan. My feet led me over the Big Bridge. On the other side the desolate park was looking anything but desolate as I passed, brightened by a large cornelian cherry beside the railings, vibrant with an overload of tiny blooms that I’d taken for leaf buds from a distance. Either way it is a sign that spring is in the air. It felt like a day for history so, on a whim, I decided I’d go from a Manor House I couldn’t really see to a castle that isn’t really there. It seemed like a plan.