A while ago I told you about the saga of the locked gates on the river near the boardwalk. Some time ago I discovered the gates to the waterside walkway behind the Millennium Flats, once part of my daily walk to work, had been suddenly locked, apparently due to antisocial behaviour on the path. The residents of the flats then applied to the council for permission to lock the gates permanently. The case was heard on 16 July. Permission was denied. The residents were told the gates must be kept open, at least during daylight hours. Reason had, it seemed, prevailed. Today I thought I’d take a little walk to see if the locks had been removed.
One of the great joys in my life is walking in the quiet places. I am a connoisseur of secluded little cut ways, hidden footpaths, trails and walkways. Finding a way to get from a to b that doesn’t involve walking along a road makes me smile, especially when it is beside a river. On my walks I’m always on the lookout for these hidden gems and the ones I know I use regularly, even if they add miles to my walks. Today I chose a route bursting at the seams with away from the road delights for my early morning walk. Unfortunately some of them are not as accessible as they should be though.
The first proper walk of 2018, if you don’t count lots of dashing about shopping or wandering around the Old Cemetery in the mud, was a version of Commando’s two bridge challenge. Frankly, at under four miles, it wasn’t much of a challenge but it was the first ‘just for the sake of walking’ walk of the year and there were swans, mud and some climbing that probably wouldn’t have seemed half as bad if I’d had breakfast before I went out. Continue reading Two bridges lite
After the blue skies and sun of Cyprus the UK took a bit of getting used to. It was cold. It was wet. It was grey. There was also a great deal of washing to be done and catching up with a week’s worth of chores, not to mention CJ’s birthday. This meant a week with very little walking unless you count trudging up the Big Hill for milk in the rain kind of walking. Today though there was blue sky. Ok, so it was still well below freezing but I was missing the sky and the sea so much I decided to take a walk down to the shore. Continue reading A different sea
As we walked through Aldermore after our final boundary stone discovery I knew the time had come to visit the City Archives to see if I could find any more information about the eleventh and twelfth stones. Several fruitless searches on the Common and Golf Course Road had left me wondering if they even existed and, if there were any answers to my questions, I guessed this was where I’d find them. Continue reading Southampton City Archives, more questions than answers
The Storm finally broke late last night. The rain hammered down, lashing against the windows, thunder clapped, lightening flashed. At one point the flash and the bang arrived at the same time, the storm was directly overhead. Sleep was hard to come by with the weather gods at battle outside. When I woke this morning Commando was getting into bed grumbling about floods, a ten mile detour to get home from work and the boiler not working. It wasn’t the best start to the day but at least the rain had stopped. Continue reading Storms, floods and a muggy walk
Last night the weatherman on the evening news told me the country would be shrouded in mist and fog for most of the day. My weather app appeared to agree. All Autumn I was waiting for a chance to take photos of mist swirling over the river but all we had was rain. This looked like it would be my chance so I went to bed thinking about an early morning riverside walk, swans emerging from eddies of mist, maybe even black swans. Continue reading Never trust the weatherman
The final day of November was cloudy and cold but, as it wasn’t actually raining, I thought I’d try to fit one more walk in to bolster my woefully inadequate November miles. The forecast was for rain later and I didn’t want to stray too far from home so a quick circuit of the river seemed like a good idea. Of course I might just bump into some black swans but I tried to put that thought from my mind. So far this year cygnet hunts seem to have been doomed to failure. If I didn’t think about them they might appear. Continue reading Close encounters of the swan kind
This morning I was looking through some of the posts I’d missed on the Southampton Heritage Facebook page and could hardly believe my eyes when I saw a picture of the black swans on the Itchen with five little cygnets. This is more unusual than you might think. The black swan, Cygnus atratus, is actually a native of Australia and New Zealand, not England. The first black swan arrived in 1791 as an ornamental bird and they became quite popular in zoological gardens and private bird collections. Over time a few escaped and wild birds, like the ones on the Itchen, all have their origins in captivity. With so few in the wild, breeding pairs have always been a rarity and until 2005 just twenty pairs were reported to be breeding throughout the whole of the UK. At the last count, in 2011, this number had risen to twenty eight. Continue reading A whole new cygnet hunt