Walked from: Soberton, Hampshire
Walked to: Emsworth Harbour, Hampshire
Distance: 19 miles
Total distance walked: 70.1 miles
When: 4 June 2022
Threats of a soggy, stormy walking day proved unfounded – the rain passed through during the night, and by late morning it was unexpectedly hot and sunny. Truth be told though, I knew the best of the walk was behind me – seven miles or so into my hiking day, I entered the familiar territory of the very south east of Hampshire. A built-up place, I left behind the rolling hills that accompanied me from Soberton to Denmead, and hit the suburban sprawl that starts at Widley and goes all the way down to Langston Harbour, with just a bit of scrubby land at the side of the A27 to break up the concrete.
I started the day in my waterproof trousers, knowing how wet the fields and hedgerows would be after a night of rain. It was the right call, but by late morning it had dried out and the unexpectedly hot, if slightly windy weather took an increasingly tired me through the area I grew up in. On I went, past the signs for the college where I studied my A-levels in the early 90s, past the road I lived on until I was nine… none of it picturesque, all of it too familiar, I didn’t have the interest of anything new to keep me entertained.
Still, the last stretch of the walk, along Chichester Harbour to Emsworth, is very pretty, and it helped speed me along the final few miles, where my mum arrived to collect me at the same time as I reached the most glamorous of long distance hiking end points… the supermarket car park where we’d arranged to meet. And while much of the final 10 miles or so of the Wayfarers Way isn’t much to write home about, at least not as far as this ex-local is concerned, overall the walk was excellent: lovely countryside, some spectacular dawns and dusks, good weather and catching up with old friends – all wrapped up in the red, white and blue of a country revelling in a rare, four day Jubilee weekend. Memorable – and for all the right reasons.