Walking with friends

23 April 2019

Walking is an everyday thing for me. Sometimes it’s just a march up the hill for supplies or a wander into town to meet a friend for coffee. Other times there is a real purpose to it, searching for boundary stones or Titanic crew houses, walking the walls or the Navigation, uncovering history. Some walks are filled with photo stops, others are about just drinking in the sights, smells and sounds. A lot of the time I walk on my own but CJ likes to tag along when he can. Today’s walk was completely different.

My lovely friend Rachel is recovering from major surgery. She can’t run like she usually does but she’s now allowed to walk. As I’d undergone something similar myself many years ago, I offered to join her for a walk. Kim said she was free, so then there were three. We agreed on a time and said we’d meet at The Feather.

When I left home it was all blue sky and the scent of Mexican orange blossom from my garden. The walk to Woolston was uneventful and unphotographed. As always, I was early so I sat in the Millennium Garden for a bit just enjoying the sun on my face. Kim was early too. She’d run all the way from the top end of the Avenue and been quicker than expected. Rachel was on time and looking very good all things considered.

We set off in the general direction of the Shore. None of us were sure how far Rachel would be able to walk and, if it turned out not to be very far, we could stop at Metricks for coffee. There were still no photos because we were so busy chatting.

We chatted our way past the coffee shop and on towards the Rolling Mills. We could stop at the café there if needs be. We didn’t need to though. Rachel was still feeling good and we kept on going, along the promenade past all the little beach shelters to the far end of the shore.

Of course we couldn’t not have an ice cream. It’s almost a rule to stop and sit on the bench by the no longer standing dead tree and eat ice cream, or, in Rachel and Kim’s case, ice lollies. Usually I take a photo of the sea and the tree. Today I took one of my friends enjoying their treat and then, because I am rubbish at selfies and hate having my picture taken, one of my friends and my ice cream, just to prove I was there too.

This was where I thought we’d turn back but Rachel was still raring to go. She wanted to walk in Westwood. I have been lost in Westwood more times than I care to admit but Rachel is a qualified run leader and she’s run in these woods many times. Perhaps, just for once, there would be no going in circles wondering where I was.

It started well. The first part of the path was awash with green alkanet. I even stopped to take photos. Rachel was confident she knew where she was going and we followed, chatting and laughing as we slowly wandered amongst the trees,

It all went a bit wrong when we got distracted by the bluebells. There were great drifts of them painting the woodland floor blue. We meandered down one path after another gasping at their beauty.

Then we realised we didn’t quite know where we were. After a bit of walking in circles (probably anyway), we found what looked like one of the main paths. We seemed to be close to the end of it. In theory the Shore should have been nearby. Westwood is a maze of paths though and it’s full of tricks. We kept walking but, just in case, I opened the map on my phone. It was a good thing I did. We were almost in Netley, heading away from the shore not towards it!

As we turned around and began walking back, Rachel admitted she’d regularly got her running group lost in these woods. I’m glad it isn’t just me Luckily the extra walking didn’t do Rachel any harm and we made it back to Woolston in one piece, laughing all the way. Next time I think I’ll plan a route I know won’t get us lost.

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Big changes afoot at Royal Victoria Country Park

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6 September 2016

The weather had a decidedly autumnal feel as CJ and I set out on our walk this morning. My weather app said it wouldn’t rain but, as we looked across Chessel Bay from the bottom of the steep steps, the sky said different and I’d left my fancy camera at home just in case. Our aim was Victoria Country Park where I’d read work was going on to restore the chapel. CJ had read an Echo report that the D-Day memorial had been vandalised. The former sounded interesting, the latter disturbing. We wanted to see both for ourselves even if we did get wet. Continue reading Big changes afoot at Royal Victoria Country Park

All about maps and the Lordshill 10k

26 June 2016

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This morning we were up bright and early for the Lordshill 10k.  The morning was overcast and muggy, not really running weather, but beggars can’t be choosers. For once we didn’t get lost. If we had it would have been the ultimate irony as the venue was the Ordnance Survey building at Adanac Business Park, one of the world’s largest producers of maps.  Continue reading All about maps and the Lordshill 10k

Lost in West Wood

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20 April 2016

With the cool salt air in my face I strolled across the grassy area where the kite skateboarders hang out thinking about ice cream. Sadly there were no lads performing acrobatics with their skateboards today. In fact there was no one about at all. Still the sun sparkled on the sea and the grass along the promenade was dotted with daisies. It was enough to keep me smiling. Continue reading Lost in West Wood

A salt reprise, closed paths, detours and Ice cream

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6 April 2015

In the end we decided to go back towards the salt house.
“At least we’ll be able to follow the map from there,” I said as we stopped for a moment on the bridge over the sluice. In the distance I could see the masts in the harbour and, in the inlet, a small sailing ship and tender. Little groups of people seemed to be on all the paths going in all directions and I wondered if we were making the right choice. The harbour didn’t look that far off and, by going back, it seemed as if we’d be going away from it. Back the way we’d come there were ducks swimming on the canal and I tried to imagine it as it would have been, thick and white with salt. Continue reading A salt reprise, closed paths, detours and Ice cream