January has been sensible. A month of quiet, healthy weekends – lots of cinema, running and eating home-cooked, mostly nutritious, food. After finishing my last blog (on the lows of blogging for a year) Elaine and I decided to do something a bit different this weekend.
We packed a bag and headed out towards the New Forest. By the time we arrived at our gorgeous hotel in a village outside Southampton, there was very little daylight left. We made the most of the facilities and headed to the gym and swimming pool to unwind after the busy drive. Lounging in the sauna, we promised that we would do this kind of getaway more often.
Today, after another swim, spa and brunch, we set out for my first proper walk of 2016.
After a failed walk in the New Forest during our first break together, the rain was not going to put us off today. Wrapped up and excited, we set off through a campsite overrun with wild horses and onto a muddy sand track. The first section of woodland seemed abandoned except from horses lurking rather magically in the trees. When we came to the first Heather plain, it was obvious why as the path turned into a series of islands to jump between in the bog. As we forgot the canoe, there was a lot of sinking into muddy puddles.
Once we’d navigated the first stretch of the route, which was like the bogs of Mordor with dead people lurking in the puddles, we were able to properly stretch the legs. Then the dog walkers appeared out of nowhere and our route passed over undulating hills, gnarled trees and lots more Heather. We became rather nimble at island hopping and experts at spotting a solid piece of ground…or so I thought until I ended up calf deep in a puddle.
We took a few wrong turns and ended up jumping across burns to get back to the car, but I heard a quote recently that I love:
An adventure doesn’t start until something goes wrong.
After a couple of falls and slips, we were muddy, wet and rosy cheeked from the slog of the route. But I’ll be taking the peace of wide open spaces and nature’s soundtrack back to London with me.