It was an eventful final section of the Solent Way that I walked on a sunny but sub-zero, January day. Starting at Hilsea and ending at Emsworth, the walk is supposed to be just 8 miles, but my 12.4 miles also included the stretch from Hilsea train station to the actual Solent Way path as well as extra miles caused by some unexpected backtracking (see below).

From what I saw of Emsworth I would hope to return to explore what looked to be an attractive, small town. Lots of small pubs and independent shops, a bookshop, a Victorian cafe on platform 2 of the station (charming), and a large harbour which I’m sure would be more interesting when the tide is in.

An eventful day had began with a fallen tree blocking part of my route, threatening a cancellation of the whole day. Fortunately, using my wonderful phone app, I found an alternative route. Whilst on the walk, flooding had swept away part of the Solent Way, requiring some backtracking and rerouting across fields leading to lots of mud as well as a face-off with cattle (one with horns) blocking my way. I couldn’t face more backtracking so by making a lot of noise I managed to create sufficient space to be able to dash past the now rear-facing cattle. Phew.

To top it all, my return journey home began with a train bus-replacement service from Emsworth station. It didn’t turn up, neither did the next one 30 minutes later. I was almost certain that I was waiting in the wrong place – it clearly wasn’t the station.

In the end I found a bus stop where I could pick up a local bus service, though not the rail replacement. The rest of the journey happily went to plan.

What a day to finish off the Solent Way, long-distance path. Now I need another challenge…..

The 60 (actually 71!) miles of the Solent Way

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