A reconnaissance mission

13 June 2018

Last summer the Spitfires had a Summer Challenge run from Winchester to Woolston on the Itchen Navigation. John asked me if I’d lead a walking group, as there were a few people who didn’t feel up to running the fifteen miles but didn’t want to miss out. Obviously I jumped at the chance and we all had a tough, but amazing day. In fact, it was such a success John decided to do it all again this year. On Sunday, Commando and the fast boys went on a reconnaissance mission. Today, CJ and I did the same.  Continue reading A reconnaissance mission

Winchester half

24 September 2017

Feeling rather unwelcome in the churchyard, I took a few random photos and left. Back out on the road with the race parading by me I stood in front of a rather ornate wooden bus stop and watched the runners stream past the Hursley chimneys. The road had been partly closed for the race and an unfortunate marshal had the job of holding up a stop go board to let cars trickle through when there was a safe gap between runners. It wasn’t a job I envied. Some of the drivers were less than patient despite the road closures being widely publicised weeks in advance of the race. Continue reading Winchester half

A little more history than we bargained for

20 August 2017

Garnier Road was always going to be the tipping point of my plan. As we stood looking over the wall beside Meadow View Cottage, I was frantically trying to decide which way to go. The water of Lockburn Stream tumbled through a sluice below us. The pretty little house perched precariously close, looking as if it might once have been a mill.  Continue reading A little more history than we bargained for

Where are the songs of spring?

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3 November 2016

When Keats wrote to his brother and sister in law of his daily Winchester walks he ended at ‘the most beautifully clear river,’ the Itchen, probably where it crosses Five Bridges Road. In his letter he said, ‘now this is only one mile of my walk I will spare you the other two till after supper when they would do you more good,‘ but he never mentioned it again. Even so, it stood to reason he hadn’t just turned around and walked back the way he came and I had a good idea of the route he would have taken. The clues were all there in the final verse of his ode To Autumn.  Continue reading Where are the songs of spring?

Last over the finish line at Winchester

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25 September 2016

Before Commando broke his leg he was scheduled to run as a pacer for the Winchester Half Marathon. It was an event I’d been looking forward to because it would give me a couple of hours to wander around Winchester while he was running. Of course the injury meant this wasn’t to be. Then, a couple of weeks before the event, I was asked if I might like to be a tail walker. Of course, as soon as I found out no running of any kind would be expected, I jumped at the chance. With Commando’s recovery well under way he decided to tail walk with me.  Continue reading Last over the finish line at Winchester

Winchester and the long walk home – first published 26 April 2013

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At any given point in a long walk there is an internal battle against the voice inside my head telling me I must be mad and to turn for home immediately and check myself into a clinic to get help for my obvious mental health issues. Mostly I ignore it and keep walking but, when the walk in question is twenty-six or more miles, the voices get very loud. From the outset Winchester had been the aim of all these walks, the holy grail that I’d been walking towards for months. It was within touching distance but the voice in my head told me it might be a step too far. Did I listen? Continue reading Winchester and the long walk home – first published 26 April 2013

The last long walk…almost – first published 26 April 2013

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As April 2013 was drawing to a close I had one more long Moonwalk training walk ahead of me. This was the big one, twenty-six point two miles. The longest walks or runs on most marathon training plans stop at twenty or twenty-two miles. The logic being, if you can make it that far, you can do the whole marathon on the day. This is not something I’ve been comfortable with and, for both my Moonwalks, I’ve trained to the full distance. Whether this is a sensible approach or not remains to be seen but it does at least leave me confident I can finish a marathon. April 26 was the day of the long walk…

Continue reading The last long walk…almost – first published 26 April 2013

Moonwalk training, Winchester at last – first published 12 April 2013

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There’s something about the halfway point in a long walk that always makes me smile. After that I know there are more miles behind me than in front and I’m homeward bound. At the same time, these are some of the most difficult miles. Tiredness begins to set in, muscles begin to ache. This is when the mind is more important than the body and the little things to make me smile are the things that keep me going. Continue reading Moonwalk training, Winchester at last – first published 12 April 2013

Moonwalk training, twenty four miles and a few disasters – first published 12 April 2013

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Most marathon training programmes build up slowly, little by little with regular walks or runs and then taper off in the weeks leading up to the event. Usually the longest walk or run is twenty miles, at most twenty two. The thinking being, if you can run twenty miles you can push through the wall to run the final six point two on the day. This was not the way I saw it. When I started off five miles seemed like a pretty long walk. After walking ten, five was a piece of cake. It seemed to me, if I did the whole twenty six point two before the tapering, it would be easier on the night. In April 2013 I’d made it to the penultimate walk. Continue reading Moonwalk training, twenty four miles and a few disasters – first published 12 April 2013

Black and white

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Recently I was tagged by Sherri from A View From My Summerhouse to take part in the  Black and White 5 Day Challenge. Because I’ve been on holiday and therefore out walking I’ve had quite a bit to write about this last week so, instead of a roundup of the week this is my take on the challenge.

Black and white photography is something I’ve always admired but never really dabbled in before but I’m about as good at sticking to rules as I am at finding my way when I’m out on a walk so apologies to Sherri and the challenge setters. My take on it is to use photos for my last five days of walking. For the record the real rules are as follows;

On 5 consecutive days, create a post using either a past or recent photo in B&W.
Each day invite another blog friend to join in the fun.

The first three photos are from my Hockley Viaduct walk. It was difficult to find pictures that would work well in black and white. There was a lot of trial and error and some discussions with Commando Junior who knows about photography. The first is looking along the Itchen from Blackbridge, I liked the way the lack of colour brought out the patterns in the water and how the buildings suddenly looked older and more interetsing. The second is of the railway arch and train bench close to the start of the viaduct, the shadows and the brickwork on the bridge really benefitted from the monochrome look. Finally a moody looking shot of the restored signal on the viaduct itself. The dandelion motifs on the path were lost but the variations in the shades of the bricks became more pronounced. It surprised me just how different things look without the distraction of colour.

Blackbridge, Winchester
Blackbridge, Winchester
Railway bench, Hockley Viaduct
Railway bench, Hockley Viaduct
Restored signal, Hockley Viaduct
Restored signal, Hockley Viaduct

The next set of photos are from the Five Bridges Road trail. Photo number one was one of my attempts to photograph the viaduct across the water meadows. It didn’t work because I was shooting into the sun but, in black and white, the arches are almost visible and I loved the way the branches turned to silhouettes against the sparkling river. The second picture was the avenue of trees by St Cross Hospital where the loose cows frightened me. Without colour the cow looks less threatening and the texture of the tree bark really stands out. My third shot didn’t actually make it into the post because, as ever, I had way too many photos. The arches at Winchester Cathedral look much to same with or without colour but I think the atmosphere of the photo is different. The stone looks far colder and I could almost imagine a ghostly monk around the corner in this version.

The viaduct from Five Bridges Road
The viaduct from Five Bridges Road
Avenue of trees, St Cross Hospital
Avenue of trees, St Cross Hospital
Winchester Cathedral arches
Winchester Cathedral arches

The day three photos come from my historic dockyard trip. Despite my sadness over the run down state of my local station, I have to admit that peeling paint and old bricks look rather good in black and white. The second photograph felt a little like cheating because the tinted glass meant there was very little in the way of colour in the picture taken inside the Spinaker Tower to start with. A little fiddling though and the chrome and glass seemed brighter and crisper and, in fact, I like it better than the colour shot. Finally, I couldn’t resist the temptation of  a huge sailing ship sans colour. The rigging and the sky were the big differences when I compared it to the colour shot. Black and white really does bring out the detail.

Bitterne Station ticket office
Bitterne Station ticket office
Spinaker Tower, Portsmouth
Spinaker Tower, Portsmouth
HMS Warrior
HMS Warrior

The Saturday Parkrun provided the photos for day four. It took a fair bit of time to find photos from the run that worked well in black and white but, in the end, I settled on three. The D-Day memorial on the shore looked good in shades of grey, especially the rocks around it. The second shot I chose was of the driftwood on the beach. Although I like the way the grain in the wood looks and the details that came out on the pebbles, it didn’t work quite as well as I’d hoped. Even so, I’ve included it. Finally, shot number three had to be of Commando running. I cropped this shot as I wanted Commando to be centre stage. One of the things I liked about the original was that I caught him in  mid air. In the black and white version this more pronounced. It really looks as if he’s flying.

The D-Day memorial
The D-Day memorial
Driftwood
Driftwood
The runner
The runner

The final three photos are from my Sunday walk along the river. Despite being innately colourful things flowers seem to do very well in black and white and my first picture is of the blossom tree that flowered through the winter and is flowering again now. I couldn’t resist the merest hint of pink in this one though. The inside of the church is my second photo. As with the arch at Winchester Cathedral I think old buildings lend themselves very well to monochrome photography and I especially like the shadows of the pews, which I’d not noticed in the colour version. Finally, the mass of little birds in flight by the reed beds brings my black and white adventure to a close.

Blossom, with a hint of pink
Blossom, with a hint of pink
St Mary's Church, South Stoneham
St Mary’s Church, South Stoneham
Birds by the reed beds, Riverside Park
Birds by the reed beds, Riverside Park

In the spirit of breaking rules, I shall not be nominating five people to take part in the challenge but I will throw down the gauntlet to all my WordPress friends to have a go at this challenge. Go on, I dare you!