D88: English Coastal Path


Friday 10th September 2022

Today miles: 22.7 Total miles: 1475.2

As usual I’m striding out at first light and I managed to frighten hundreds of pheasants out of their beds as I walked towards Bosham Hoe. After a mile or so I rejoined the shoreline along Bosham Channel and was loving the beautiful scenery. At Bosham I noticed the tide was out and there’s a cement path across the Channel, I took the short cut saving myself a few hundred metres. Later on I encountered an occasional dog walkers and also a couple of bird watchers. The next four miles towards Southbourne were uneventful and on arrival at Southbourne I had my first break and made myself my standard fare of coffee and porridge. The area was busy and dozens of people in bathing costumes were preparing to go out on their bodyboards and kayaks. One poor girl spent the entire hour I was there blowing up her inflatable kayak with a hand pump. She was very determined and turned down several offers of help.

As I approached Thorney Island I was both excited and a little nervous. Thorney Island (which is not an actual Island) has been a military airfield for many decades and because of this there’s a solid fence across the waterway. At either end of the fence there’s a gate with an intercom and a cctv camera which I used to contact the airfield control room. I’d heard that they can be a bit indifferent about who they let through so I put on my best smile as I approached the gate and hoped I didn’t look too dodgy. Seconds later I was buzzed through. The five mile walk around the perimeter of the Island was very pleasant and I saw very little indication this was a fully operational military base. There’s a pretty little, sandy beach on the far side where I took another long break and made myself another coffee. I negotiated my way through several herbs of cows who were grazing on the path, they were very placid and paid me little attention. Half an hour later I was passing through the second security gate and I arrived on the edge of Emsworth, passing several pubs.

I resisted the temptation to visit any of these establishments for about two minutes before surrendering to my thirst. I used my break to check the map and decided to walk for another hour and stop as the sun was setting. The next section meant moving between several public rights of way, the Solent Way, Church Path and the Wayfarers Walk. I was surprised at how busy the route was with people so before pitching my tent I sat down on the embankment and made myself my new favourite meal of beef pot noodle mixed with a tin of tuna, it sounds awful but actually tastes okay. The tent pitch location was a little exposed for my liking but options were limited. Several people passed close by in the next hour, fingers crossed they don’t contact the local council/police.

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