33 – Hamble le Rice to Calshot

Coastal distance: 19km


I limped away from the Compass Point B&B in Hamble.This is top drawer accommodation, thoroughly recommended.

Within a few hundred metres I realised that a target of walking 19km for the day might make for a pretty uncomfortable journey, so decided to follow the same basic route but to use transport for some parts. I turned left for Hamble Common, then followed a path at 210 degrees to the foreshore of Southampton Water, the refinery and Fawley Power Station dominating the opposite shore.

 The Solent Way path here is on the shingle beach and this is littered with stranded jellyfish, many the size of footballs

 I walked along the high tide line amongst the seaweed and plastic bottles for a couple of kms, then came upon this very robust looking concrete fortification, quite unlike any other I have seen

I carried on up through the very popular Royal Victoria Country Park, on a gloriously sunny morning, in the company on dozens of dog walkers, joggers and mums with buggies

  and then into Netley, where I caught the bus to Woolston and the Itchenor Bridge

The driver tipped me off at the western end of the bridge and I made my way on foot past dock gates 4 and 5, towards Town Quay where I’d catch the Hythe Ferry. This part of Southampton, once industriously serving the needs of luxury ocean liners and other ships, is fast transmogrifying into a thoroughly modern European cityscape. There’s smooth portland stone appearing where once there was concrete and aesthetically pleasing cobbles are being laid to replace, err, cobbles. Wine bars and estate agents abound.

I boarded the Hythe Ferry and sat topside in the sunshine for the 15 minute journey

 At the Hythe end one gets to ride into town on a delightfully clanky narrow guage railway

 I met Rob for lunch in the Lord Nelson pub, following which we went to the (helpful and friendly) Halibut Tackle Shop, where we got some ragworm and squid, plus a couple of ‘glow in the dark’ rod tip lights.Then off to Calshot, our first stop being a recce of the potential of the castle.

 No good, £61 membership or a £1,000 fine, so we set up on the beach by the ‘no camping’ sign.

 We drowned a few worms but sadly the tide went out before any fish noticed us

 The tide went out a very long way! But we knew it would be back and we’d be ready for it. High tide was scheduled for 01:14 (am, next day) so we kept ourselves busy as the Solent went and came back. Then an hour or so before high tide we started to remove huge amounts of weed from the water, one hook at a time. All of the excitement occurred together within minutes of high tide. We caught two sharks* and a fish

     Oh, and one big fat bass but it bent the hook straight and got away

sea bass 08bass.600

The view from our bivvy next morning


* OK, Dogfish


32 – Lee on Solent to Hamble le Rice

Coastal distance: 11km

Steps: 13,627

At 05:50 this morning I had the most excruciating cramp in my right calf. I was bending over at the time and the muscle was already at full stretch. Something went ‘rrrrip!’  I soldiered on and limped to the station to catch the train(s) to Fareham.

In the 10 days or so that I’ve been off the trail, the house has been covered in scaffolding

We have a lovely new bathroom  

And I have sold my Lambretta 😢

No way was I going to miss any more of Sebastian’s Swagger just because of a bit of cramp.

From Fareham station I caught the X5 bus but not until it reached Woolston 45 minutes later did I realise I had gone in completely the opposite direction to the way I’d intended 😫 oops.

After six hours on public transport I finally reached the hovercraft museum at Lee on Solent. Back on the trail again.       Looking south I had a clear view of the Isle of Wight across the waterThe shingle beach here and west of Lee on Solent is but a couple of metres wide at high tide. My right calf muscle had slowed down to just 1.5 kph, this coupled with walking on loose shingle made a poor combination. Before stopping at the Osborne View in Hill Head for lunch, I spied this formidable capran dwelling, only to be found at high water

 I hobbled to Stubbington Village, from where I caught the bus to Warsash. My injury unimproved by exercise.

  The Hamble Ferry is pink and for £1.50 chugs you across from Warsash to Hamble le Rice.

I was the only passenger on the westbound trip

Hamble le Rice is a charming traditional riverside village with more than its fair share of yachts  I stayed with Mike at the Compass Point B&B.

First class accommodation
 The view from my window