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

2015 new places and new things in old places

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30 December 2015

If summer 2015 had a lesson for me it seemed to be that I should take a closer look at the places I thought I knew well. There certainly turned out to be a few surprises in store when  I did. I also learned that the best way to find something was to stop looking for it when my frustratingly unsuccessful cygnet hunt came to an unexpected end.
Continue reading 2015 new places and new things in old places

2015 disasters, history, mysteries and a marathon

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29 December 2013

The end of the year is fast approaching so the time has come to reflect. Over the next few days I will be looking back at the the highs and lows of the old year and reminding myself of the places I discovered and the lessons I learned. Along the way I’m hoping to get a little inspiration for the year ahead. Maybe there are places that could stand further exploration or mysteries that still need solving…
Continue reading 2015 disasters, history, mysteries and a marathon

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

Viaducts and more dredgers

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13 July 2015

Back in March I paid my first visit to the viaduct and, as CJ loves all things train, I was sure he would like it. Before long we were walking up the slope and CJ, his walking stick still in his hand, looked ahead and said “cinders and ashes,” quoting Thomas The Tank Engine I believe. We set off across the viaduct with me pointing out the benches and the lovely colourful woodcarvings in the shelters where the linesmen would have stood to let trains go past. Continue reading Viaducts and more dredgers

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!

Unfinished business in Winchester, The Hockley Viaduct

The River Itchen
The River Itchen

10 March 2015

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