Two dozen wild horses roam freely on the lanes. Most of the occasional vehicles passing are Land Rovers which have to wait as the horses saunter past. Flocks of pheasants rise squawking from the side of hedgerows as I walk past.
Pylewell House grandly isolated with its private shore is still in aristocratic hands with a thatched cricket club house adjacent. Damp bonfire smoke wafts across the lane.
Otters Crossing, Drive Slowly. In Lymington a lot of the men wear boating brands and wander about looking tanned and leisured even though it’s off season.
At upmarket Lymington Yacht Haven a ‘Danger of Death’ sign replete with a skull and cross bones leaves me unsure as to what danger could possibly exist here different to any other harbour. Too many Gin and Tonics prior to an impulsive sail across the channel perhaps? The next notice around the corner “Don’t forget your Kill Cord” adds to the feeling that Lymington residents like to be regularly reminded of their mortality like a Victorian Memento Mori.
“There’s a Dowager over there, you’ll want a photo of that”
“Err I’m not a bird watcher” I reply
“Oh sorry assumed you were a serious birder ”
This has happened so many times now I’m starting to get a complex – definitely need to get a “NOT A BIRDER!’ t-shirt printed!
Hurst Castle is only accessible on foot via a two kilometre shingle spit giving it a particularly forbidding countenance. Originally built by Henry VIII and enhanced for both Napoleonic and the World Wars for its strategic position in guarding the Solent. Outside the main gate a large plastic bag of machine gun blanks and spent parachute illuminating flares, it’s not a military site today so I wonder what they are doing here.
At Milford on Sea gulls are fighting over bread in a car park. The bird that commandeers the largest crust isn’t the biggest but certainly has the most attitude.
Shingle cliffs eaten by erosion. WW2 metalwork has been emerging as a result of erosion making the beach unsafe for swimmers. My stride has no power and my mind feels numb. I lay under a browning chestnut tree on a dry bed of fallen leaves which feel good against my bare feet – I could easily fall asleep but the sky is already darkening.
First I loose sight of the silhouette of the Needles on the Isle of Wight and ultimately of the horizon itself. Stabbing pains in knee – just keep going a bit longer.