With a mixture of excitement and fear I set off along the path beside the church. Looking at the map I’d discovered it had a name, Berry Lane, so I figured it must be well used. Hopefully this would mean I didn’t get hopelessly lost or find the way blocked somewhere ahead and have to turn back. The map suggested the path split in two somewhere, with one end coming out in Shawford Road, not far from the Bridge Pub, and the other leading to Compton Lock. Of course, maps can be deceptive but I was hoping I’d be able to use this path as part of my twenty mile walk with Kim.
Once again Commando is pacing the Winchester Half Marathon. There have been lots of Sunday runs with the pacer team. Today though, they were doing a practice run on the course. Despite the early start I went along too. Any chance to wander around Winchester for a few hours is always welcome and this morning I had a plan.
Today was the first chance Kim and I had for a proper long walk since our soggy attempt at twelve miles on the Thunder Run course. Of course we’d both been squeezing in shorter walks as and when we could but, if we were going to get through the Clarendon Marathon in under eight hours, we really needed to get going with the long miles. The plan for today was to catch a train to Winchester and walk back home. All in all it should be about fourteen miles, give or take.
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
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 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
When Keats wrote to his brother and sister in law of his daily Winchester walks he ended at ‘the most beautifully clear river,’ the Itchen, probably where it crosses Five Bridges Road. In his letter he said, ‘now this is only one mile of my walk I will spare you the other two till after supper when they would do you more good,‘ but he never mentioned it again. Even so, it stood to reason he hadn’t just turned around and walked back the way he came and I had a good idea of the route he would have taken. The clues were all there in the final verse of his ode To Autumn. Continue reading Where are the songs of spring?
Poetry is something I’ve always been fond of so having to learn poems by heart at school was never a hardship. Long before I met Commando and acquired a poetic surname, one of my favourites was John Keats, To autumn. The fact that it was written as he walked a trail through the water meadows in Winchester makes it all the more special and I’ve long been meaning to follow in his footsteps. Today, with the words of the poem running through my head, CJ and I did just that. Continue reading Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness
Before Commando broke his leg he was scheduled to run as a pacer for the Winchester Half Marathon. It was an event I’d been looking forward to because it would give me a couple of hours to wander around Winchester while he was running. Of course the injury meant this wasn’t to be. Then, a couple of weeks before the event, I was asked if I might like to be a tail walker. Of course, as soon as I found out no running of any kind would be expected, I jumped at the chance. With Commando’s recovery well under way he decided to tail walk with me. Continue reading Last over the finish line at Winchester