Sunday, 15 March 2009

Solent Way Day 5 Lee-on-the-Solent - Gosport

Lee-on-Solent Coast
Another nice short section, with a wild section in the middle across a firing range (watch for the red flag flying!). I completed this section in one complete go, taking just over a couple of hours on the day the clocks went forward in March 2007. This enabled me to have a little extra time late afternoon/ early evening on my way to Southampton. I took advantage of the free Sunday parking on Gosport front and got the bus over to Lee-on-Solent picking up where I left off from the last walk. The way along the front soon changed character from a nicely maintained promenade to an army firing range with no path to speak of.

Walking Through the Army Range
Progress along the army range was quite hard work, wandering along the shingle and doing my best to find a way through in the absence of any waymarking or obvious route. It was a strangely wild piece of coast and in places the shingle had formed almost dune like structures. I felt a bit self-conscious as I wandered through the range, like I was being spied on and it didn’t help when I saw some activity offshore by what looked to be landing craft. I kept a close eye on them to make sure they weren’t going to come my way and somehow involve me in their war game.

Fort Gilkicker
Eventually I passed out of the army range and passed yet another coastal defensive battery before finding a nice promenade once again. Even on a late March Sunday afternoon there were plenty of people about and it made for quite a pleasant walk with a good deal of atmosphere, quite unlike the previous couple of miles.

Fort Gilkicker
Along the front were a sailing club and inshore lifeboat station, both of which were open and full of people doing maintenance work and taking advantage of a not so great but dry and mild afternoon to carry out maintenance work ready for the summer ahead. About half an hour later I reached Fort Gilkicker, the latest of coastal defences, which was reminiscent of Hurst Castle but on a much smaller scale. From here I headed away from the coast and back up to the road that weaves its way through the various military installations and residential areas that dominate this part of Gosport. I deliberately kept the camera away especially as there were lots of military personnel carrying big guns.

Spinaker Tower

By now that most annoying March weather conditions had started too – swirling mist so pictures of the Spinnaker Tower on the opposite shore were fairly difficult to come by. I also had a view of the submarine museum in Gosport but not good enough for pictures. I soon came back to the car past the submarine museum for the end of this short section. People going on from here could take the ferry to Portsmouth which leaves from just by the bus station.

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