Alpacas, ostriches and surprisingly easy walking

13 June 2018

We’d made it to Kiln Lane without getting stung, which felt a little like a miracle. We’d got across three bank breaches, one that had left me with wet feet, and had climbed over one fallen tree. According to Commando, there was at least one more fallen tree and, possibly, one more bad bank breach somewhere along the eight and a half miles between Kiln Lane and home. If I was a betting woman, I’d have put my money on it being on the next stretch of towpath.  Continue reading Alpacas, ostriches and surprisingly easy walking

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

Winchester to Woolston the tough miles

11 June 2017

At Kiln Lane we left the towpath briefly to cross both the road and Brambridge Bridge. There was a second half lock here in the 1700’s, probably built to retain water levels for the Brambridge water mill. A little bridge crosses the site But you have to look very closely to see the remains of the lock. Today, with everything so overgrown and the runners hot on our heels there was no time for exploring the history of the canal. Continue reading Winchester to Woolston the tough miles

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

Allbrook and wet feet -first published 3 May 2014

May 2014 and I’d reached Kiln Lane on my attempt to walk the whole Itchen Navigation from Winchester to Northam Wharf. After meeting a man on the path who told me it had been waist deep further along the trail I didn’t quite know what to do next. Should I attempt the Navigation or should I take the road along Kiln Lane? I stood for a while looking at the footpath sign and then along the road, dithering and uncertain. Continue reading Allbrook and wet feet -first published 3 May 2014

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

Twyford to Allbrook – first published 29 December 2013

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The last Sunday of 2013 and I was on the Itchen Navigation attempting an ambitious walk from Winchester to Eastleigh. I’d made it to the frozen path across the Twyford water meadows. The sun was shining which is always good but I was slightly worried it was going to melt the ice beneath my feet and make to path too muddy to walk on. It wasn’t long before I could see Compton Lock in the distance, my next landmark. So far so good. Continue reading Twyford to Allbrook – first published 29 December 2013

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

Breaking new ground

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24 May 2016

We’d reached Bishopstoke and the more scenic part of the Itchen Navigation without incident. Well, apart from the circus, a koi carp in the Itchen and some slightly scary cows behind a flimsy fence. CJ seemed to be holding up well, despite Commando’s misgivings. It took a while to get across the road, it always does, but soon we were on the other side of Stoke Bridge looking at a much wider, tarmacked path. Continue reading Breaking new ground

A little mother daughter bonding – first published 11 September 2013

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It’s no secret that I’d have liked a daughter. Don’t get me wrong, I love my three boys to bits but, it would have been lovely to have a girl. Now I have a daughter in law and on 11 September 2013 we went for a little walk. When I say little, I meant about fourteen and a half miles. In my defence, she did know what she was getting into. Continue reading A little mother daughter bonding – first published 11 September 2013