Sixteen miles isn’t an easy distance to walk, at least not for most normal mortals. It’s the point when everything starts to feel tough and muscles start to protest. Knowing this, I’d spent some time planning an interesting route with some really pretty bits in the second half to take Kim’s mind off her aching legs and feet. In fact I was looking forward to it because I’d found an unexplored footpath that I was fairly sure would take us onto the Itchen Navigation at Kiln Lane. It was one I’d passed many times but had never actually walked.
Last week’s cancelled Running School session was rescheduled for today. Unfortunately, the weather was no cooler. By the time I reached the river I was so hot I looked as if I’d already had a gruelling workout. To make matters worse, a whole squadron of seagulls buzzed me as I started off along the river path. Walking through a mass of low flying gulls, their wings inches from your face, is not as much fun as you might think. Continue reading Back to the Running School
We were approaching the final segment of the Itchen Navigation and had around six miles left to walk. Despite the trail being more overgrown than I’ve ever seen it, bank breaches where they have never been before and a far warmer day than the weather forecast had led us to believe, we had made fairly good time. We’d set off from Winchester Station at around ten o’clock and it was now ten to two. Ok, so four hours to walk around seven miles is positively tortoise like but, taking into account stops and the terrain, I thought we’d done pretty well. Continue reading We thought it was all over…
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
Bridge or slope? We dithered for quite a while, weighing up all the pros and cons. The slope was steep but there were steps and it would take us onto Archery Grove a shortish Walk on pavements to Millers Pond. There’d be no mud and, after the initial climb it would be easy going. The bridge would take us onto the butterfly walk. There’d probably be mud and obstacles to negotiate but it would be prettier. Continue reading Trapped on the butterfly walk
The Care For A Walk fifteen mile hike in 2014 had begun with mud and fallen trees. There were blisters too, thankfully not on my feet. It was drizzly and wet, not the best weather for walking and we’d stopped to let some of the tail walkers catch up. At this point, we still had the hard miles ahead but everyone was still in surprisingly good spirits. Continue reading Care For A Walk, mud, pubs and sunshine – first published 22 March 2014
Starting the day with a seven thirty pub visit is not a normal Saturday morning for me. In 2014 this was exactly what I was doing though because it was the day of the annual Care For A Walk hike through the New Forest in aid of MacMillan Cancer Care. Of course there was no actual alcohol involved, at least not for me, although some of the more hard core in the group did have pints of beer. Ok, so I did have a bacon sandwich but I didn’t have the coffee on offer, mainly because there are only so many trees in the forest to pee behind. Continue reading Fifteen miles with Care For A Walk – first published 22 March 2014
In early March 2014, Commando went off on a twenty mile Sunday morning run, the penultimate long training run before his marathon. It seemed the ideal opportunity for me to go out on another nice long walk. After lots of poring over maps I decided on a route that would take in the Itchen Valley Country Park. The park runs beside the Itchen and touches on the edges of the Navigation. There are trails through woodland, pasture and water meadows. There is also a visitor centre with a coffee shop, what more could I want? Continue reading Mud, floods and crowds at Itchen Valley Country Park – first published 9 March 2014
The real sign that winter is over isn’t the flowers or the flush of green on the tips of the branches. No, those are just the window dressing. The real sign that winter is over are the insects, the bees and the butterflies. In early March 2014 the insect seemed to suddenly reappear after their winter absence and I knew Spring wasn’t far off at all. Continue reading Bees, butterflies and regeneration – first published 8 March 2014
Early 2014 seemed to be mostly about interviews. So many I look back now and can hardly remember them all. There was one I really liked the sound of in a research unit at the hospital as PA to several professors working on cancer research. At least it was only a short interview. No tests, tricks or hoops to jump through. After that there was a tour of the office so I got to meet the people I would be working with. They seemed a cheery bunch which was nice. The only real fly in the ointment, if I did get the job, was the travelling. The hospital is surprisingly difficult to get to. I was even thinking about buying a bike if I got it. They said they’d let me know the next day so, while I waited I went for a little walk. Continue reading What goes up must come down, then go up again – first published 4 March 2014
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