Family Comes First

When deciding where to begin with my first blog, I was running through so many different walks I’ve done over the years and my mind came to rest on a walk I’d done recently with my Mum. We don’t get to see each other as much as we’d like – she lives on the Isle of Wight and I live in Essex. A couple of weeks ago we decided we’d do something we hadn’t done for a while – we’d meet in the middle and go for a walk.

I drove to Portsmouth and met her off the boat. The weather was looking bright and we headed off in the direction of Arundel, West Sussex. A sunny Sunday meant a lot of people had the same idea, but a favourite pub of mine had plenty of space for us. We parked up and popped in for a pre-walk coffee and route planning session.

Fuelling up on the amazing carrot cake with a nice view of Arundel Castle…

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The Black Rabbit with it’s lovely outdoor area which overlooks the River Arun, towards the castle. Well worth a visit.

I used Ordnance Survey’s OS Maps app to help us choose a route. We knew the rough distance we wanted to do, so it was as easy as opening it up and choosing one of the pre-mapped routes shared by another member. The app is a perfect way to explore new places if you haven’t got paper map versions of the area. It shows route elevation, expected duration and has a feature allowing you to follow the route which will send push notifications if you stray from the path. Nice and easy to use!

So with our route chosen, we were off. We started off following the river, which gave us some great views of the castle in the distance. I also really enjoyed watching the trains go by – mainly because I have spent many journeys between London and Portsmouth waiting to look out of the window towards Arundel. I’ve always loved the views of the river and fields, so I really enjoyed seeing it from the other side of the glass.

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After spending some time in the open, the route began to head into some woods and up into the South Downs National Park. The climb wasn’t especially steep on this route, but there were some lovely views from the top and the sun came out to pay us a visit.

What I really enjoyed about this walk was the variation of scenery we had along our route. From walking riverside, into the woods, up onto the downs and back through a gorgeous valley. The path also passed down Arundel high street with its quaint shops and guarding castle walls. There really was something for everyone.

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Our route in total was about 11 miles. It gave us a lot of time to catch up with no distractions, something I think a lot of us miss out on now. There weren’t any screens involved except for the odd photo opportunity, and I really enjoyed taking a step back from technology and our busy lives to do something as simple as going for a Sunday stroll. We both said afterwards how much we enjoyed it and that we should do it more often. And most importantly, it wasn’t difficult to organise! It was spontaneous; if we lived closer to each other, it would have been as simple as stepping out of the front door and choosing a direction to walk in.

 

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Making friends with the locals…

With the day drawing to a close, we made our way back to the pub for dinner. Sadly there were no roast dinners left, but we didn’t mind too much…

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A short drive back to Portsmouth Harbour and our meet was over. A day of being back to basics and clearing our heads, thoroughly enjoyed by both parties. We said goodbye with big smiles, happy hearts and a beautiful sunset.

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Sunset over HMS Warrior

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