Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Southampton and Bournemouth

When I arrived in Southampton on Thursday 15th I had no Idea what to expect. As the train pulled into the station the first thing I noticed was the large number of boats moored nearby and a very very large cruise ship docked in the near distance. I began making my way west along the A33 and got as far as Millbrook where my back and shoulders began to really ache. Stopping to rest at Millbrook station I began to doubt whether I will be able to carry on. I went to the ticket booth and bought something called 'permit to travel' and sat down to wait for a train.
As I sat there waiting on that very uncomfortable metal bench I began to think "what is the propose of this trip of mine? Is it really worth it?" As the 13:20 to Redbridge approached the platform my mind was made up. My bag was so heavy that I began to loose all hope of walking more than a few miles before collapsing. With a sharp whistle the train pulled out of the station. A quick look at the map and I discovered that I was only a few miles from the New Forest. Had I taken the train I would have completely missed it. A few hours of walking and I saw the first sign indicating that I was approaching the New Forest. As I entered the town of Ashurst I began to notice more and more forest and less artificial lighting. I bravely stepped off the A35 and headed into the heart of Woodlands. It was very boggy and not as dense as I initially thought. As it got darker I quickly looked for a good spot to set up camp. 
I walked for about half an hour through the forest before I finally decides on a place to pitch my tent. It was cold, wet and dark and even though I was completely immersed in forest the night was as silent as death. Only the occasional sound of cars whizzing along the highway and a few creepy footsteps were what reminded me that I wasn't alone. I woke up just before sunrise to the sound of rainfall against the tent. I had a very comfortable night sleep and quickly realised why. I had chosen a very wet boggy location to set up camp The spongelike soil was the equivalent of a very comfy mattress. One end of my sleeping bag was soaked as was my ground mat, which luckily was waterproof. I waited for the rain to ease up before attempting to pack up and head south towards Lyndhurst. After walking for about two hours I managed to get a lift to New Milton and from there I  slowly made my way to Bournemouth. I wandered around the outskirts of Bournemouth for a bit and then suddenly got my first glimpse of the ocean. I headed towards the sound of crashing waves and the smell of salt and ended up on the edge of the East Cliffs of Bournemouth. It was amazing to see the horizon once again. a sight I hadn't seen for some time. Once I had my fill of tumbling waves and soaring gulls I went into the town centre, had some breakfast and shortly after found a nice abandoned four bedroom house very close to the seafront and the city centre. After checking out the property I managed to find a way in without breaking any of the very clever deterrents that were put up to keep people out. A quick nose around the two storey house and I concluded that it was safe and hadn't been in use since April. I cleared out the basement and made this my home. This is by far the most insane thing I have ever done.


  1. Merry Christmas Randy, I enjoyed reading this,I nearly cry lol this is a real adventure and I am praying all goes well,just be careful and try avoiding getting too much wet,,try to keep warm,and PLEASE BE CAUTIOUS OF HITCH RIDING,and also where you sleep at nights.Well take good care of yourself now.

  2. Randy your mom just told me about your walk,this is good,you are very brave though to do this in winter,keep safe and hope to meet you some day,oh by the way Merry Christmas and healthy and safe walking for the New Year.

  3. Enjoy your journey & trust your instincts :)

  4. You are amazing! Keep going...

  5. GO RANDY !!!!! The heights that great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight - but they while their companions slept were toiling upwards in the night ! Guidance.