United Kingdom
Itchen Valley

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    • Day 1

      Winchester to Alresford

      November 20 in England ⋅ ☁️ 12 °C

      The beginning of a long, long journey - The Pilgrims' Way followed by the Via Francigena (God willing!) 😊. Having walked a few caminos in Spain and Portugal, we thought it was time for a change. And so begins a journey of about 2000 kilometres (1242.742 miles to be exact) that's likely to take us to 2035 or so if we're lucky enough to live that long!
      Every journey starts with a single step, so they say, and ours started at the shrine of St Swithun in Winchester Cathedral. It'll eventually, over 9 sections, take us 141 miles to the tomb of St Thomas Becket in Canterbury. Then the rest of the journey will take us to Rome. That's the plan, anyway!😂
      And so the adventure began...
      Monday started with rain, but by the time Julie and I stepped out of Winchester Cathedral it had stopped, and we even had some sunshine! Over the past few years we've walked the vast majority of today's route from Winchester to Alresford many times so it was very familiar. From Alresford onwards, it's not so.
      It was fabulous to be back on pilgrimage and have a final destination, however long it may take us to reach both Canterbury (2024) and Rome (who knows?). On today's bimble we passed a few churches where we were able to stamp our Pilgrims' Passports (I thought one stamp was rubbish until Julie pointed out I hadn't opened the ink pad🙄🤔😄), meandered with the River Itchen, climbed a few very gentle slopes and had to skim a rather large bull who was standing right on our path and refused to move, but the countryside was delightful and it was a perfect walking day, albeit a tad damp underfoot.
      We were met in Itchen Abbas by Emily and Nelson, and stopped for lunch at Ovington - we'd bought lunch in Winchester (days are short and we weren't sure how long a pub lunch would take!) and it was good fun to sit in a field and dodge Nelson as he desperately tried to eat our sandwiches, despite having his own snacks😄.
      Just another 6km or so took us into Alresford and, having parked one car in Alresford and one in Winchester, we were mobile. We didn't have to rely on public transport this time round, but that'll be impossible as we walk on, which promises to be fun!
      Day 2, Alresford to Alton, soon!👏👏👏
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