D89: HAVANT to PORTSMOUTH
Sunday 11th September 2022
Today miles: 14.1 Total miles: 1489.3
An uneventful but restless sleep. I was on my way just after 6am and I could still see the bright headlights of the many vehicles crossing the man made bridge to and from Hayling Island. This particular Island isn’t part of my route as it’s not tidal and can only be accessed on foot by the aforementioned bridge.
The first few miles is adjacent to the A27 and even this early it’s still busy and very noisy. I had planned to walk the two miles around Farlington Marshes but there’s a large notice informing me that the route is closed due to ground works. I stalled next to the sign considering whether to continue as planned but I could see several large bits of yellow machinery and high fencing not far away and decided it probably wasn’t accessible to pedestrians.
I eventually turned away from the A27 road and was now on the quieter Solent Way which took me through Anchorage Park and then towards Portsea Island. The sign on my map suggested there was a cafe on the route close to Portsea Island however more building works on the footpath prohibited me from gaining any access. Instead I just grabbed myself an expensive, lukewarm coffee and two cereal bars from a nearby garage and sat on the side of the road eating the meagre breakfast.
I eventually rejoined the Solent Way at Milton Common. The sun was beating down and on arriving at Eastney I popped onto the public toilets to fill up my water bottle. The next section of the English Coastal Path between Eastney and Portsmouth was thoroughly enjoyable and also very, very busy. There’s lots of nice shops, cafes and views. It was still early so I took my time to walk the three miles and took a couple of long breaks, on the many benches stretching along the beach front.
I had noticed a few WW2 memorials along the beach and found out thousands of Canadian soldiers were stationed around this area in the months prior to Operation Overlord (the D-Day landings). Over 44,000 Canadian airmen, sailors and soldiers died during World War Two.
Just beyond the South Parade Pier there’s the Southsea Castle and Lighthouse, unfortunately once again there’s ground works happening and I have to divert slightly inland. Soon after back on the coast path, I noticed a male walking in the opposite direction, he was carrying a big backpack. We initially looked over at each other quizzingly and then both gave a quick nod and a smile before continuing on our way. I spent the next few minutes wishing that I’d stopped to speak to him and found out more about him. I carried on passing right through the ancient Napoleonic Garrison before arriving at ‘The Point’ and was surprised to see that dozens of people were swimming in the choppy waters in the mouth of Portsmouth Harbour.
I stopped for a quick pint (see above) before heading the final mile to the Portsmouth ferry station. On arrival at the ferry station I paid for my return ticket and then looked around the area. I got a great view of HMS Warrior (circa 1860) which is docked nearby and was shocked at how big the old ship actually is. Must have been a scary sight for any French/Spanish sailors 160 years ago. The short ferry trip took about three minutes to travel the half mile across the harbour. I then jumped on board a bus and arrived at the Gosport travelodge around 4.30pm. I’d completely forgotten that the shops closed early on Sunday, so missed out on any ice cream and beers. Did however get myself two large meals from McDonalds, then ate them both in less than an hour. I watched a little TV before dropping off tired just before 9pm.