Once more into the breach

13 June 2018

Shortly after we got going again we passed the first houses of Shawford, with their huge green gardens sloping down towards the river. These were closely followed by a triangular Navigation marker telling us it was nine miles to Northam Wharf, and the bridge over Shawford Road. Those nine miles are a moot point. Mapping the walk, it’s nine and a quarter miles, give or take, to Cobden Bridge. Northam Wharf is ten and a half miles. Perhaps these measurements are by barge? Continue reading Once more into the breach

The Spitfire Summer Challenge, Winchester to Woolston

11 June 2017

So far there have been no proper walks this month. The most I’ve done is trot up and down to the village, walk around town or stand on the sidelines at the RR10. Today was going to be all about walking though. Some time ago John mentioned he was thinking about a Summer Spitfire Challenge, a run from Winchester to Woolston. The Itchen Navigation would make up the majority of the route and he knew I had walked it many times. He asked if I’d lead a walking group for those who were recovering from injury or felt fifteen miles or more was a run too far. When I agreed it seemed like an easy distance. Now, with my fitness compromised by laziness, I wasn’t so sure.  Continue reading The Spitfire Summer Challenge, Winchester to Woolston

Otterbourne to Allbrook, when the going gets tough… – first published 3 May 2014

The beginning of May 2014 and I had reached the Bridge pub at Shawford, near Victor’s Bridge, where grumpy sit com character Victor Meldrew met his end. Part of me wanted to stop for something to eat but there were masses of people milling about outside and I knew it would probably take ages to get served, never mind that I wasn’t really sure what food would be available. In the end I decided to give it a miss and carry on to the rustic bench at Otterbourne. In hindsight this may not have been one of my better decisions. Continue reading Otterbourne to Allbrook, when the going gets tough… – first published 3 May 2014

water, dog dips and an interloper on the trail

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24 May 2016

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

Here there be dragons, crossing the breach – first published 16 July 2013

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So there I was at the bottom of Allbrook Hill on Higbridge Road, facing an array of confusing signs about ford keys and bank breaches not knowing whether to carry on or bail out. It looked like my Winchester or bust plan might be doomed to failure. In the end I  decided to risk carrying on along the Itchen Navigation and see what happened. Was this to be a decision I would regret? Only time would tell and all I could hope was, if it was totally impassable, I wasn’t too far along the path. Continue reading Here there be dragons, crossing the breach – first published 16 July 2013