Most people like a little lie in on a Sunday morning, me included, but today, not long after eight o’clock, I was in Winchester. This was mostly because of the Winchester Half Marathon. Commando is pacing and I am tail walking, like I did last year. This morning there was a training session for the runners to get used to the route. There was no way I’d be taking part in that because I’d never keep up but, rather foolishly, I decided to go along anyway and have a walk. When the alarm went off at silly o’clock this morning it suddenly didn’t seem like such a good idea but Mitch was keen to come walking with me so I dragged myself out of bed. Continue reading In poet’s footsteps
Early in December 2013 Pete, who runs Care For a Walk, happened to mention he’d walked the Itchen Navigation and there was a new, metal bridge at Withymead. Of course that meant I could, in theory, walk the whole Navigation. I say in theory because, in December, the chances were the stretch from the White Swan to Eastleigh would be too boggy to walk at all, if not actually flooded. Of course I was itching to go and have a look but, with the last fraught weeks at work and Christmas, I hadn’t found the time. Once Christmas and my job were behind me though I finally had my chance. Continue reading Winchester walking, ice and mud – first published 29 December 2013
After a great deal of dithering, I’d somehow found myself in a passageway heading for Cathedral Close. There was a door in the side of the passage leading directly into the cathedral. It was closed but the walls were etched with ancient graffiti, along with some that looked more modern. The passageway came out beside a walled courtyard with a manicured lawn. Later I discovered this was part of the great medieval priory of St Swithun. Perhaps the monks used this door to get from the priory to the cathedral? Continue reading Another secret garden, an author and a bishop
So there we were on the Itchen Navigation somewhere between Shawford and Compton Lock with a bull blocking the path ahead. Just as we were about to turn around and walk back to Shawford to catch the train home the bull took a few steps, reaching for some more succulent leaves. Suddenly there was a gap between his huge posterior and the edge of the path. It wasn’t the widest gap and, being mostly filled by bull, it looked a little dicey but it was now or never.
I turned to CJ and said, “let’s go. Quickly but don’t run.” Continue reading The final miles
Of course, the twelve mile marker wasn’t the final piece of my September 2013 walk at all. We still had to walk to the wharf and from there to the centre of Winchester to catch the train home. Finding the train station has always been an issue for me in the past. In fact, finding anything in Winchester is a problem. This time I had a guide with me. Continue reading Winchester with a guide – first published 11 September 2013 quote
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
Back in March I paid my first visit to the viaduct and, as CJ loves all things train, I was sure he would like it. Before long we were walking up the slope and CJ, his walking stick still in his hand, looked ahead and said “cinders and ashes,” quoting Thomas The Tank Engine I believe. We set off across the viaduct with me pointing out the benches and the lovely colourful woodcarvings in the shelters where the linesmen would have stood to let trains go past. Continue reading Viaducts and more dredgers