If you ever find yourself at Emsworth train station and there is a bus-replacement service, here is a map of where to catch the bus. Don’t make the mistakes that I made of either expecting it to leave from the station or from the bus stops just outside the station. I waited outside the station – no bus came. I waited at the bus stop just outside the station on the main road – no bus came. Interestingly a man in one of the houses by the bus stop came out to point out that on several occasions he had told people that the bus replacement service didn’t leave from the bus stop! He told me where he thought they left from – he was quite correct though I actually ended up catching a local bus service from the town centre.
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…..
A 2-day stay in Matlock in Derbyshire to see family and friends showed considerable promise when I spotted the Oxfam bookshop directly opposite our Airbnb! And just a few shops down there was another second hand bookshop, too!
Picked up from the station, we had a light lunch at the home of our relations for the first reunion. But it was downhill from there onwards as a violent sickness bug took hold at the end of the day. Earlier in the week little Iris had been unwell and it looks as if I had picked up her bug. The next fifteen hours were the worst of the worst and we were unsure whether I would be able to travel home the following morning. Fortunately I was.
St Pancras looked magnificent – the photo below was taken on the way up.
However I never got to see much of Matlock or get to visit the bookshops or participate in the main, family reunion. Next time….
A fortunate goal scored direct from a corner was the difference between two poor teams. Pressure from Rochdale in the second half might have given them at least a draw, but it wasn’t to be. Without the goal it would have been a dire game, but instead it was just poor.
The 7th of the 8 sections of the Solent Way walk was, on a lovely, sunny and warm November day, uninteresting and tiring . Starting at Portsmouth and ending at Hilsea, the almost 10 miles was mainly along the seafront.
Nothing of interest once I had left Portsmouth other than a Hovercraft service to the Isle of Wight – I didn’t realise hovercrafts were still ferrying passengers. Sadly I missed out on taking a picture.
I’ll be glad when this walk, the Solent Way, is finished – only one section to go!
Last year we visited Chartwell, Churchill’s home, on a day when it was entry-free to everyone not just National Trust members. It was packed, the car park was full and we and others were driving around looking for a space to park. We gave up! Today was completely different and it was almost empty despite the glorious, late Spring day. Churchill was a keen, self-taught painter and his studio is well worth a look. We had a lovely day.