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

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

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

Shawford bound, the easy bit… – first published 3 May 2014

The beginning of May 2013 and, in time honoured tradition, I stood on Tun Bridge looking down at the water wondering what to do. I couldn’t really see the authentic barge man’s path so I was none the wiser and I left the bridge making towards the car park to St Catherine’s Hill still undecided. As luck would have it, as I passed the Footpath sign I saw a man disappearing along the waterside trail. Maybe he knew something I didn’t? Then again, he may have been just about to run into trouble. Either way it made up my mind, I’d take my chances with the barge man’s path. Continue reading Shawford bound, the easy bit… – 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

A beetle, caterpillars and house envy – first published 11 September 2013

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September 2013 and Sirona and I were feeling refreshed after our snacks at College Mead Lock. We crossed the little bridge. A short distance along, the track of the Navigation comes out onto a path beside the railway. Ahead the trail continues, it’s narrow, overgrown and crumbling so it was time to leave the Navigation again briefly. Continue reading A beetle, caterpillars and house envy – first published 11 September 2013

Shawford to Winchester, not so simple – first published 16 July 2013

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My first attempt at walking the whole Itchen Navigation could easily have ended in Shawford. It was a hot July day and, even after a rest and a cool drink in the pub, I was feeling tired and overheated. Dithering as usual I’d left the pub and, after a little look at Victor’s famous bridge and a long look at the station that could so easily take me home I turned, quite reluctantly to the Navigation. The path ran through a cutway beside the pub. The sign said Winchester three miles, that didn’t sound so bad, not much more than the walk to work. Continue reading Shawford to Winchester, not so simple – first published 16 July 2013

Here there be dragons, crossing the breach – first published 16 July 2013

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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

2015 life is too short to be unhappy

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31 December 2015

The final lesson of 2015 was that sometimes, if you stick at something long enough, success will come. Conversely, I also learned that there are times when you have to cut your losses and give up. The main theme was that life is far too short to be unhappy. Continue reading 2015 life is too short to be unhappy