Vibrant. Ancient. Cultured. Could this be a description of the intrepid duo? We do tick two of the boxes………. actually no, it is the strapline of the Visit Winchester website! Home to a world-famous Cathedral with the longest medieval nave in Europe, and Winchester College – one of the oldest continuously-running schools in the country founded by Bishop William of Wykeham, Winchester certainly boasts an impressive array of historical attractions. And two more were visiting today!
Today, we just took the one car, but first of all had to negotiate all the cyclists taking part in the Petersfield Triathalon at Churcher’s College. We would of course have taken part but our walk was already in our diaries. Our destination was Winchester City centre to park (free on Sundays) then we walked round to the Guildhall expecting to see the massed taxi rank, but there was not a single taxi in sight, so we had to phone for one. Our driver checked twice that we really wanted to go to Cheesefoot Head (yes please, that’s correct).
So we were soon walking and what a difference a day makes – to the weather. Yesterday was awful, low cloud and drizzle which never cleared all day, this morning we had clear blue skies, fluffy clouds and quite a stiff breeze which was so refreshing after the muggy days we have had recently.
We continued to walk towards Winchester, crossing over the M3 and through some back roads until we reached the main road into the centre and to the start (or end) of the South Downs Way at King Alfred’s statue.
Today’s walk was a short and easy leg, just 3.5 miles with no ups – because we chose to walk from east to west so that we could finish in Winchester. It would have been a different story had we started in the city.
The views across the city and the surrounding countryside were superb. The luncheon adjournment was taken early as we didn’t want to eat whilst looking over the M3. We had quite a feast – the sandwiches were ham and cream cheese on white, salmon and watercress on seeded wholemeal, then tangerines, grapes and raspberries, Kit Kat and malt loaf!
South Downs Odyssey Odýssey n. a long, wandering and eventful journey!