XXX – Seaton to Exmouth

Hasteful MammalTHE actual Bank Holiday Monday began with me lying awake in the small hours wondering if the drunken youths in Weymouth would ever, just for one minute, stop shouting at each other. The cheap and cheerful hotel was rather more central than the previous week’s B&B and in consequence was subject to external noise. All. Bloody. Night.

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XXVIII – Weymouth to Burton Bradstock

Hasteful MammalSATURDAY morning saw me up with the lark, by dint of having already been up with the bat and the night owl, ready to take advantage of whatever fun, frolics and inevitable rain the late summer bank holiday weekend could throw at me.

I duly squelched aboard the last night bus, having been treated to some of that rain between my front door and the bus stop and proceeded to dry out to merely cold and damp by the time I reached London Waterloo.

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XXVI – Durdle Door to Weymouth

Hasteful MammalSATURDAY’S walk marked the first occasion on these coastal perambulations on which I have not completed a section purely as a day trip. A friend, whom we shall here call ‘Alice’, has asked me several times when I’ll have to stop day-tripping and start staying over, and the answer is apparently now.

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XXII – Lymington to Bournemouth

Hasteful MammalWEDNESDAY’S walk began with an almost traditional start insofar as, having set off to catch the last night bus at just before four am, I got to the bus stop just in time to watch its rear lights disappear down the road. While this did throw my timings into disarray, it also felt reassuringly familiar. Also, In the end, it made just an hour’s difference.

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XXI – Southampton to Lymington

Hasteful MammalMONDAY’S walk is perhaps best characterised by ‘fun and failure’, which, if it wasn’t a phrase before, might well become my walking motto.

Failure number one was on the part of South West Trains, whose service over the bank holiday weekend was looking to be less than Sterling.

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XIX – Emsworth to Portsmouth

Hasteful MammalYESTERDAY saw what I now consider a ‘short’ walk even though not that long ago I would have considered it a sizeable distance, i.e. twelve miles. The length of the walk was determined by a moment of unexpected synchronicity – it just so happened that I would reach a handy station (Portsmouth Harbour) twelve miles on from Emsworth and that twelve miles from Emsworth would, quite coincidentally, also be my three hundredth mile.

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XVI – Bognor Regis to West Wittering

Hasteful MammalIF LAST week’s walk was brought to you by the words ‘flat’ and ‘dull’ then yesterday’s walk was sponsored by the noises ‘brrr’ and ‘thud-clang!’ The latter is of course the sound of a metal alloy simian undergoing meteorological castration. The Met Office had promised, more or less, that the day would be bright and sunny but only sunny enough that the ‘brisk’ wind (their adjective) would elicit surprise as one’s sunglasses froze to one’s face.

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V – Whitstable to Westgate-on-Sea

Hasteful MammalORIGINALLY, yesterday was not going to involve any walking as I already had plans. But then I got to thinking that my plans mostly involved the evening and, if I got up really early, I could also go for a walk. Which is how I came to be catching a train at the ungodly hour of not quite six in the morning. Even with this early start, the complications of a Saturday service and multiple connections meant that I only arrived at Whitstable at about 8 am. I immediately made my way back to the harbour, which is where I left off last time.

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III – Swale to Faversham

Hasteful MammalYESTERDAY, I was up with the metaphorical lark and, in a break with recent habit, actually caught the very same train that I had intended to catch. The world didn’t end or anything, which was slightly disappointing.

A series of trains carried me away across North Kent to Swale with enough time between connections to buy a coffee and some breakfast, which I sorely needed. I arrived at Swale halt by twenty past nine and stood in the shadow of the colossal Sheppey Crossing.

‘It looks big in daylight,’ I thought. ‘I wonder how small it will look later?’ And so, I set off at a suitably brisk pace…

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