It was still raining when we left the cafe but we both agreed to keep going. We really couldn’t get much wetter after all. We passed the pretty little cottages of Shawford and chose the road beside the railway viaduct rather than the overgrown trail. Barely able to see through the rain, I left the road a little too early and took the narrow muddy trail rather than going through the gate a little further on. It wasn’t a major problem and added zero distance but it showed how easy it is to become confused in bad weather.
So far there have been no proper walks this month. The most I’ve done is trot up and down to the village or walk around town. Today was going to be all about walking though. Some time ago John mentioned he was thinking about a Summer 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 Summer Challenge, Winchester to Woolston
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
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
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
So there I was at the bottom of Allbrook Hill on Higbridge Road, facing an array of confusing signs about ford keys and bank breaches not knowing whether to carry on or bail out. It looked like my Winchester or bust plan might be doomed to failure. In the end I decided to risk carrying on along the Itchen Navigation and see what happened. Was this to be a decision I would regret? Only time would tell and all I could hope was, if it was totally impassable, I wasn’t too far along the path. Continue reading Here there be dragons, crossing the breach – first published 16 July 2013