Wednesday 22nd January 2020
By contrast to yesterday, we woke up to a grey, damp, cloudy day – I know it’s winter but it could do with being a bit more inspirational for walking. I’d woken up with a sore throat and the beginnings of a cold. Also, Caroline and Jim were due to arrive mid-afternoon so we could easily have talked ourselves out of getting those boots on today, but oh no, we wrapped up and set off for a shorter day on that coastal path.
We caught the bus to Mudeford Quay, today’s starting point. Immediately greeted by row after row after row of beach huts as we walked away from the quay along the promenade.
Leaving Mudeford Quay
Along this busy stretch of promenade we passed numerous holiday homes priced from £99,000 and bundles of beach huts, one priced at £80,000!! (madness)!! This was definitely the most populated stretch of coastal path we’ve experienced so far but I still kept up my ‘Good Mornings’ and ‘Hellos’ despite the required frequency. This was generally reciprocated but naturally there were the odd few head down/eye aversions … “who is this woman? Do I know her?…”.
After some promenade walking we were taken up onto the higher paths and through some woodland areas. Spectacular views. Took every choice to stay up at the cliff top level (not going to repeat yesterday’s mistake) … but round about Highcliffe we had no option but to take the zig zag path down to beach level.
It was a short sandy walk before we were presented with the option of going back up … and up we went …. but it was SO easy, there were wooden steps and a handrail and everything!
A left turn took us through an area called Chewton Bunny, pretty woodland – saw two bunnies and a lively waterfall. Then unfortunately we were up on to the Christchurch Road which was incredibly busy and noisy. And all because the holiday parks are unwilling to share their stretch of coastal path! Once we were signposted off the main road, were taken on a trip around the Barton-on-Sea houses literally, an easy off road path that led us to the seafront. And so ended the walking for today – just short of 5 miles.
Caroline and Jim joined us for the rest of the day – a drive and stroll around Lymington followed by a delicious lasagne dinner served up by Steve. And of course lots of playtime with Bugle.
Friday 24th January 2020
(Thursday was a bit of a write off day as my cold and sore throat were taking a hold – hoped that a day’s chilling would pay off).
Unfortunately today I felt much the same but decided I needed to plough on – it would be worth it! No return of Tuesday’s blue skies as yet – still grey but at least no rain.
Today’s plan (and believe me Steve puts in a lot of planning!) was to cover about 10 miles, in two phases. So we drove to Bournemouth and set off from the Pier heading towards Sandbanks. Again we made the decision to take the ‘high road’ which took us up a steep hill past the ‘Marriot Highcliff Hotel’ … speaks for itself. Love a good climb at the beginning of a walk though and the views were spectacular.
The clifftop path came to a natural end and we were brought back down to the promenade, dodging between the many walkers. No hellos today – far too many people and my throat was too sore anyway! For some reason the sand is piled up at the back of the beach most of the way along and the paths swept clear – it looked just like snow clearance.
When we got to Sandbanks the promenade was no more … it was now a case of walking on the shoreline, but still very easy walking. We viewed the amazing seafront properties, ranging from Art Deco blocks to modern architect designed houses.
Kept an eye out for Harry and Doreen (Redknapp) but they weren’t about. To get to the end point of this part of our walk we had to go out into the Sandbanks streets full of swanky houses – oh my …. such home envy!!
Finished up at the Ferry Point where we hopped on the bus back to Bournemouth.
Once back in Bournemouth we stopped for a bite to eat and made the decision to save phase 2 of the walk for tomorrow – best to spread it out!! Another 5 miles under the belt and tomorrow’s another day!
Saturday 25th January 2020
After a sleepless night of having to sit up due to tickly cough I was feeling pretty washed out. So didn’t exactly jump at the chance to join in with the Lymington Parkrun. Steve went of course and came first in his age category and 26th overall, so one very chuffed Rosie. I did manage to get up and take Bugle for his morning walk in the meantime.
After breakfast we drove to Mudeford Quay where we took the ferry to Hengistbury Head. Very efficient little service – pleasant boat crew.
As soon as we stepped off the ferry we were greeted with the inevitable line up of beach huts – they certainly love a beach hut in these parts.
Now today was definitely a few degrees chillier – an icy bite to the wind. I was well and truly layered up – thermals + 2 long sleeved tops + two waterproof jackets, with hoods. It was a pleasant first couple of miles to the walk with some uphills and downhills (for added interest), bit of walking through sand dunes and great views from the high points.
And then it was just about an easy walk alongside Christchurch Harbour and promenading through Southbourne and Boscombe into Bournemouth. But really, just how many beach huts does a stretch of coastline need – I have never seen so many!
In the distance we could see a pier and jumped to the conclusion that it must be Bournemouth … turned out to be Boscombe Pier however, so it was another 3km to completion (mind tricks)! Saw at least 6 swimmers along this stretch of beach – yikes – what is it with these people (I have a mad friend Helen who swims all year round)!! 🤣
So after 6 miles we enjoyed a cuppa and a slice of coffee and walnut cake back at Bournemouth Pier. Then it was a bus ride back to Mudeford Quay, a drive back to our house in Barton on Sea, a walk round the block with Bugle and then snuggling down for the evening with our furry friend.