We began our assault on the Wayfarer Walk on Wednesday. This footpath is an old sheep drovers' route, which helps you understand how it starts off in the conurbation of Portsmouth city and habitation gradually peters out as it wends its way into the hills.
We got off to an inauspicious start as a slight drizzle meant that none of the trains were running on time and a problem with the door lock on the train meant that I was unable to board with the others and had to catch a later (even later!) train. We then of course missed our connection to Emsworth. Anyway, here we are at last on the beach at Emsworth, blessed this time with the presence of Jeffers' wife, Gillian.
The walk began with a trek out to sea on the harbour wall. The sun was trying to break through, but those clouds were already ominous.
Further along, the beach became a series of idyllic coastal lagoons with Hayling Island large on the horizon. Still with those clouds also looming large though.
So pleasant was it at that time, that we sat in the sun for elevenses (actually about onesies by then) and admired the view. I don't know where the dog came from.
This is the interesting lighthouse at Warblington.
The path led here through a churchyard, where there was a rather moving children's graveyard. I don't think I've ever seen so many identified child's graves before. Nor was it clear why so many children had died round here.
It was after this that the heavens finally opened. The bleakest stretch of coast was suitably beset with gale-force Arctic winds, torrential rain, hail and streams of expletives.
And it seemed that it was unlikely to get any easier.
As we climbed the hills above Portsmouth, we crossed the motorway, with the sea still clearly visible in the distance.
Having decided, thanks to the South West Trains imposed delay to our start, that we would miss out the customary pub lunch , we sat on a roadside bench and admired the view over Old Pompey and snacked on sandwiches instead.
As we then progressed further inland, the weather cleared and became much sunnier (if no warmer).
Some woodland residents that liked this sort of weather.
There was after that a contretemps with one local resident over rights of way.
The decision not to stop for lunch (taken only with reluctance and regret) was turning out to be sensible as the light began to fade.
But we struggled eventually into Denmead
where we came across the White Horse, which turned out to be a very suitable location in which to tarry a while as a taxi came to take us to our overnight stop,
the Ship and Bell in Horndean. You can see the old Horndean brewery alongside.