Today my partner Damian is joining me for a walk and as usual when I walk with other people I don’t take many notes so this will be a short post.
Once more we rattle along in the pier train to the start of the walk at Hythe. Just before we set off left up the High Street I pop into the public toilets and am amazed to see that behind the toilet is a recess marked “needles” – Hythe Town Council providing a dry, private space for junkies to shoot heroin? Very forward thinking…..
Anyway, after Damian has finished shooting his particular drug – a double espresso – we walk out of Hythe following the Solent Way. The first part of this route is on the main road past huge aluminium sheds housing glittering motorboats but there is not much else of interest.
Walking on the right hand side of the road we come to a field which is home to two hairy black and white pigs, a llama, some fluffy footed chickens, ducks, geese and goats – a seemingly happy co-existence.
Here we leave the road and turn left onto a narrower tarmac road that then turns into a bridleway taking us through fields and pretty woodland until we hit the main road at Hardley. We are a long way from the coast now but this is the only way to skirt the huge spread of Fawley oil refinery which lies off to the left.
Off we go down the busy road, me thinking I should have chosen a nicer walk for Damian as the cars roar past and the sun beats down. Luckily, the road walking is not so bad – there are wide pavements for pedestrians and we are not too close to the traffic.
Eventually, we turn off the road onto a footpath that takes us down to Ashlett Creek and a pretty pub where people are sitting enjoying the sunshine.
There are a lot of small boats bobbing on the water and a frantic cocker spaniel entertains us all by leaping into the water from the harbour wall, clambering out and immediately diving in again – it must have repeated the trick at least 7 times. We watch fascinated but a silky grey Great Dane standing on the shore is obviously unimpressed – not even a paddle for him nej tak………
Leaving the pub we wander around an area of common land trying to find the path that will take us down and around Fawley Power Station. We follow a track through woods and open land until we come to the heavily reinforced fences that surround the plant. Ahead of us groups of people are strolling along in the afternoon sunshine, others out walking dogs, overlooked by the inhuman face of the plant and its chimney – a strange contrast.
At the corner of the fence the map says right but in the distance we can see what can only be Calshot so we decide to walk straight on. As it happens we are lucky because the tide is out – otherwise the path would be flooded.Approaching Calshot we spend some time watching wind surfers fall off their boards and their attempts to get up again – I am secretly pleased to see the girls doing better than the boys. We then both collapse onto the shingle in front of a line of colourful beach huts and I attempt a paddle to cool off my aching feet.