Yesterday I walked from Linwood in the New Forest to Romsey – it is the 5th stage of The Games Way and the last stage I need to record walking instructions for.
With Felix in Estonia and other walking friends otherwise engaged I was on my own. I enjoy walking alone so this isn’t a problem, but it does mean I sing to myself and talk to an awful lot of animals along the way! Consequently this blog post will consist mostly of photos of all the animals. Excluded from the photos are dogs and their humans. I met a beautiful 2-year old black labrador called Bertie in these woods:
…but he was a bit camera shy and didn’t want to be in the photo. Young boy black labradors are my absolute favourite – I love the way they approach you full of bravado and then at the very last second chicken out and run back to their human. This one was very handsome, even with a big lump of doggy drool on his nose!
Before I got very far into the walk I saw a deer about 20m away.
Clearly we were going in the same direction and I wasn’t presenting much of a threat because I was buzzed by the same deer for about 20 minutes. This has never happened to me before, they usually scarper as soon as they get a whiff of human.
Then another deer rocked up and we all parted company as I entered an enclosure on the way to Hollyhatch cottage.
After a bit of a climb I found myself on Fritham plain and eventually Fritham itself, home of the most excellent Royal Oak pub. The pub is famed for its real ale, ploughman’s and I’ve been reliably informed by @happy_rambler – its pork pies!
After a refreshing pint of Beach Blonde I carried on towards Nomansland, surrounded by ponies and their lovely foals.
Despite my very best efforts I managed to get lost in the woods (this happens *every* time) and so was about half an hour away from where I wanted to be.
I wish I knew the secret of successfully navigating through woods. So, although the official route goes down a certain path, I don’t think I’ve ever quite managed to get it right!
I followed a path that crosses some fields by a church and then through Deazle wood (without getting lost) out onto Plaitford Common. I had never heard of this spot before I started walk2012 but it has become one of my favourites.
As well as all the ponies, there are cattle and a herd of donkeys, including this very friendly one who thought he might be able to help me with a banana.
From Furzely the walk goes across Half Moon common and up a long gravel path (Bricky Lake Lane) past Paultons golf centre and down the A36 for a few hundred metres. This bit of road is unpleasant and I’m hoping that Paultons golf club will let us use their road instead, it will be much queiter and feel safer.
A half-hour or so walk through a bluebell edged path in more woods on the edge of a farm and then I joined the Test Way, which heads due north in a straight line with trees on the left and fields on the right all the way to Romsey.
Thoughout the day’s walk I had been serenaded by hundreds of birds (think Snow White x 100) including this little fellow:
…and if young male labradors can be boisterous, they’ve got nothing on these young lads who greeted me most enthusiastically!
Its not just young boys that show off though is it? Even grown up dads need someone to impress:
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