My First Twenty Miler

I woke fairly early last Saturday morning. I’d planned on taking a nice long walk and the sun was up so there seemed little point hanging about. I stuffed a couple of cereal bars in my pocket, grabbed my camera, started Endomondo’s GPS tracking and headed out. It was a beautiful morning, if a little chilly. I wasn’t sure how far I wanted to go so I headed for Warsash and the banks of the River Hamble. From there, if I head roughly eastward following the coast, there are various points at which I can turn inland and head for home.

I followed the beach as far as Chilling and Solent Breezes Caravan Park. The tide was too high to make it past on the beach so I had to make a bit of a detour inland and through the caravans and holiday homes back on to the coastal footpath. Then it was back on to the beach and trudge along the shingle heading for Meon & Titchfield Haven.

Approaching Chilling from Warsash

At Meon there was a major choice. Turn left and follow the old canal to Titchfield and then another 3 miles home or push on for Hill Head and maybe Lee-on-Solent (or Lee-on-the-Solent as it seems to have become known). Well, the sun was still out and my legs and feet were feeling good so onwards I went. It’s only a short hop to Hill Head where I took to the road rather than another slog through the shingle. It’s possible to turn for home at Hill Head, but not a very inspiring walk up to Stubbington, so I kept to the coast and headed for Lee-on-Solent.

The beach path from Hill Head. Lee-on-Solent in the distance.

As I reached Lee I was 10 miles into the walk. The cereal bars were gone and so it was time for an ice cream, a drink and a brief sit down to survey The Solent and The Isle of Wight. Back on my feet I carrried on eastward and the road through Lee turns slightly inland. I had reached another decision point. My cycle rides around here often carry on along the coast to Stokes Bay and then home through Gosport and Rowner. So I could carry on or turn left and head along the back of Lee and home via Daedalus and Stubbington.

It was mid-morning by now and if I wanted to be back for lunch (now there was an enticing prospect) I should be heading back. It was already looking like a twenty-miler so I decided to call it a day and set the auto-pilot for home. From that point it’s a fairly unremarkable walk skirting the old, now defunct naval air station of HMS Daedalus and then through Stubbington and on to Titchfield. At Titchfield there a short but pleasant walk along the old canal and past the church. In Titchfield it was time to stop for a bottle of Oasis to see me the last two or three miles home.

So, 5 and 3/4 hours and 20 miles later I made it back. Not a particularly brisk pace mainly due to many stops for photographs, but fairly respectable. Feet slightly sore and legs pretty tired, but no blisters and no injuries. So, what next? It will have to be the full marathon distance I think. I’m already planning the route….


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