It was a lovely sunny day last Wednesday, but very cold. We decided to go for a country walk. I left it to Tim to pick a place, find a walk, print off a map with directions. I always find it best just to let one person in a pair be responsible for organising things, and this time it was Tim’s turn.
We drove about six miles to Otterbourne, south of Winchester. We parked the car, and strode off on the Otter Trail, which was 3.4 miles. There was a good footpath alongside what used to be the Itchen canal.
You can read more about the Otter Trail here. The river views were stunning.
There were some fabulous reflections of the trees in the water.
There were several small bridges crossing the river.
The next bridge had some old steps up to it….
About halfway round the walk, it was obvious that we had – a) either gone wrong and read the map incorrectly, or b) a new fence had been built since the map was printed. Guess which my husband blamed? Correct! It’s impossible that he had made a mistake, so clearly the route must have been changed when a new fence was erected.
We retraced our steps, walking an extra mile, but still couldn’t find the path on the left that we were looking for. I resorted to looking at GoogleMaps on my phone, but it wasn’t much help as it didn’t show footpaths. We kept ending up at a recreation ground, but we didn’t find the church we were looking for. I spotted a notice board that had an ordnance survey map on it! It had our footpaths on it, but we were way off course. We decided to walk through a housing estate, on to the main road for a short distance, and aimed to rejoin the path.
We traipsed across two large fields, and into the ancient woodland. I was flagging at this point and cursing under my breath. The woods were incredibly muddy and hard going. It was easy to drift off the path, and at one point I we got lost again. “Look at that amazing fungi growing on that log…” exclaimed the husband. “Well, after you’ve built me a wooden shelter and lit a fire, you can come back and pick me some to eat for supper”, I replied. “Look, a squirrel!” he cried. “Likewise…..” I said, “it looks like we might be here all night…..it’ll be dark soon…..”
Finally we reached civilisation, and returned to the car. I’m not a great walker, every bone in my body was aching. I checked the distance walked on my phone – 5.1 miles. When we got home, the husband admitted that we took the wrong path under a railway bridge – we should have carried on a little further and gone under the second bridge!
Next time, it’s my turn to read the map……..