I slept so well last night in the woods, it’s always a little bit warmer and a little bit darker, and I feel more out of sight therefore a bit safer. Obviously there are potential perils such as a badger nicking off with your biscuits but I’d take that over a stern telling off any day. Also, unless it pisses down you’re likely to wake up to a dry tent.
Tarrant was very unhappy about the slug to everything else ratio though. Fair point, really. When I got up for my midnight nana wees I put my flip flops on without checking and squished one between my toes. I had to take a moment to try not to vomit. The slimy little buggers were out in force. I think she’s pointedly refusing to camp in woodland from now on.
The second thing we had to do battle with today after the army of Satan’s spawn was a vat of floor-soup with no obvious way around it. Seriously? How much dry weather do you need to actually just be dry, New Forest? It was an emotional start to the morning, we picked our way through the adjacent woods which weren’t much drier before just accepting our fate and squishing through it, disturbing frogs as we went and hoping the ground didn’t steal our shoes. It was the kind of quagmire where you test the ground with your pole and half of it fucking disappears into the abyss.
The rest of the day was probably more of an exercise of putting as many trigpoints as possible into our eyeholes really. The first one was a quick trespass into a field where we traisped through nettles in an effort to keep to the side before realising there was a much closer, much easier access point. The poor thing was on the wonk and had obviously been battered with a hedge trimmer more than once.
The next one should have been an easy bag on a common. We had a spot of breakfast then headed up the path. Whiiiich had been dug up and the whole area was a pond. I really, really like trigpoints but I feel like I enjoy not being tits deep in muddy water even more. I know I know, no dedication. Dejected, we headed towards the gate leading us out of the common and spied a little path in the general direction of our obsolete concrete pillar so we took it, battling against thick foliage, sacrificing strips of flesh to the brambles gods, emerging triumphant only to find the workmen had caged it in with a fucking JCB and some Heras fencing. Oh you utter prick! It took some creative zooming in with my RX100 to get the flush bracket number but we did it.
Trig number three was an easy bag on the side of the road as we pressed ourselves into the nettles to avoid being spread out across the tarmac by vehicles attempting to cram sixty miles into one hour, and our fourth trig was on another common which we traisped across as a local chap looked on in dismay and told us we should use the footpaths. To be fair it was an utter fucking swamp, he was probably trying to save us from ourselves. We got chatting to him afterwards and he told us that only a couple of weeks ago we wouldn’t have been able to take our chosen route across Winkton Common as it had been pretty much flooded all winter.
God I love trigpoints. It’s all Tarrant’s fault, I didn’t even know they were a thing that existed until she told me what they were and casually mentioned that collecting them was an actual hobby. I’ll fucking collect anything collectable. I have to check myself and ration my collecting. Trigpoints are perfect because I don’t actually have to find space for them on the mantlepiece, which is great because I don’t have a mantlepiece. Or a place to live. Because I’m currently walking across Britain. Whilst staring at triangulation pillars.
Anyway. The fun was over as we got into the outskirts of Bournemouth in our fourth county of Dorset. Or third county if you ask Tarrant, she likes to insist that Sussex is one county. Except it’s not. It’s two; East and West, but it’s a fun way to wind her up and it keeps me entertained for a few minutes a day. It was a dull slog through residential areas until we finally got to the pier and chilled out, hanging out with a mate from Brighton who’s relocated here. Another gloriously flat day. I guess it could be considered boring but we should probably savour it. We start the South West Coast Path tomorrow and people have been taking great delight in telling us what a bastard it is.
We’d booked to stay at Russel Court Hotel. We’d done that thing where you just sort the listings on Booking.com by price and gone fuck it, let’s get the cheapest, it’s only one night. The reviews were pretty shit but nothing we couldn’t cope with, just a bit shabby and run down. Then we read the TripAdvisor reviews and oh my dear fuck, we’d booked a bedbug infested crack den. Yeeaahhh… nah. It wasn’t worth risking getting bedbugs in our lovely but notoriously difficult to clean down sleeping bags. We noped out and booked somewhere else.
That evening we made ourselves as presentable as we could considering we own one set of clothes and walked through a mud pit this morning, then met up with our mates, Andy and Simon, for a lovely evening of more booze than I should have imbibed.
The New Forest, Hampshire to Bournemouth, Dorset, England
Stayed at: Brooklands Hotel, Bournemouth
Useful shit to know…
- There are a few streams to fill up with water if you’re carrying a filter.
- There are no toilets until you get to the Tesco Esso in Christchurch on the A35, unless you detour into Bransgore.