The big one. Two six hour walks one day after another. We did it. Not easy.
Saturday was an easy morning as Jim and his grandma were with us so we just did a two and a half hour amble along the Itchen from somewhere to Ovington where there is probably the best pub in Hampshire.
But then the afternoon was long and hot and exhausting. Laurie’s new boots had been causing problems (she thought they were run in but no) so we went home for the old boots and decided to walk round Southampton. Not sure if it was the mundanacity of walking up and down hills in Bitterne or the annoyingness of Itchen Valley Country Park only letting you have UHT milk with your tea (“Sorry you can’t have real milk with your tea, we need that for milkshakes” – and so I paid an extra 45p for a “glass of milk” to put in the tea), but this was a hard afternoon.
Next day we thought we would take it easy so six hours round the reasonably flat New Forest seemed a good option. The first half hour was a bit scary as I was aching from the previous day anfd thought I’d never make it, but that soon wore off and the beautiful surroundings soon took over. (The New Forest is a pleasing combination of treeishness and open savannah).
However things got a bit tricky when we got lost in the woods, I won’t go into detail as it would involve blaming Laurie’s map reading skills, but it was very very scary when we thought we wouldn’t make it to the pub in time for lunch. Vultures were soaring overhead and wolves were getting closer, but finally we got to a place we’d been to before (yes we’d done a complete circle) so we got our bearings and made it to the pub just in time. Lunch was not as good as the pub in Ovington, but memorable for our exit. We accidentally let a very enthusiastic New Forest Pony into the pub garden as we left. A big pub garden full of chavs.
So onward and unexpectedly upward as we discovered a very nice bit of the New Forest (up north) that is very hilly and probably previously unexplored. A long long long long but nice end to the dual 6-hour marathon.
Except I realised that I really needed shock absorbers in my boots as I had some quite considerable pain in the balls (of my feet) – see 2nd Weekend. This means buying not only shock absorbers (i.e. another type of expensive odour eaters), but also new boots as there is not enough room in the old nicely run in boots for the shock absorbers.