Day 025: Portsmouth to Southampton
Distance: 24.52 miles
Ascent: 904 feet
Accommodation: Priya Khetarpal's Flat
I started the day a bit later today as 8am was the earliest breakfast was served. My day started by catching the Gosport ferry. Catching the ferry felt almost like I was going on a little daytrip. From the ferry I could see the new Queen Elizabeth Aircraft Carrier, the largest ship ever commissioned by the Royal Navy. By 8.45 I was of the ferry at Gosport and on my way.
I headed down passed a large marina and through multiple military complexes on my way through Gosport, before hitting the coast proper on the other side. Between Gopsort and Lee-on-the-Solent, I had to walk along the pebble beach infront of Browndown military training area.
I followed the promenade through Lee-on-the-Solent, until reaching Titchfield Haven Nature Reserve, where development stops and you almost instantly feel more remote. But bizarrely at the end here there was a split screen VW van converted into a mobile coffee van, and though I shouldn’t I got a hot chocolate and despite its relative remoteness this was definitely one of the best hot chocolates I have ever had.
After this the path continues along the beach and as the tide was low I was able to walk on the sand most of the time rather than the pebbles. The low orangey cliffs and long beach alongside the bright blue sky made this part extremely beautiful. With every step I felt I was getting more remote, until after clambering around some rocks in front of a holiday village I began to see more people again as I rounded the corner and started to head up the River Hamble towards Warsash.
At Warsash I needed to head to a shop, unfortunately this required walking 500m uphill to get there before returning 500m to the path. This wasn’t a long distance, but any detour takes time and energy that I am trying as hard as possible to conserve.
The path from Warsash to Swanick was really interesting, an embankment with reed beds on one side and mud flats on the other, and a whole range of birds. There are a couple of animals that I really want to get pictures of this year, and this stretch enabled me to tick one of these off the Kingfisher, even if the photo was not overly clear. He was perched on a little pole when I first saw him, but just before I took the photo he hopped down to the beach.
Burlesdon appeared to have some lovely houses, but seemed dead as if no one lives there. The path that I followed from here was very rural with some lovely woodland and farmland terrain, this made a nice change to the pebble beaches. These paths took me all the way to Hamble-le-Rice.
The next stretch of path all the way to Woolston was really nice, mainly a soil path just of the beach, though occasionally requiring beach walking. The only negative was at Royal Victoria Country Park, there was a large group of young cretins acting like idiots probably no older than 13. A couple of them decided to shout abuse at me and another person walking passed them, which was completely inappropriate including some bizarre anti-jewish stuff. I just carried on walking as there was no point trying to tell them how inappropriate and rude they were being.
The path continued all the way to the Itchen Bridge, which is a very impressive gateway to Southampton. The sky turned a beautiful shade of red as I crossed, and a short distance later I reached Town Quay which was my endpoint for my day, where I was greeted by Priya a uni friend who was kindly putting me up for the night.
A successful, interesting day, which was bathed in sun for almost the whole day. This was the precursor to 2 very long days to get back on schedule.