Monday, May 26

SUNny DAY - Burbush, Burley & Holmsley Ridge

"The name of the Colombian train driver was Diablo (Devil) He had the ability to find a cold beer wherever we stopped across the lawless rural countryside" Manu Chao/Times Interview Podcast

The MP3 player provided an interesting contrast soundtrack as I set out from Burbush Car Park, part way between Bransgore and Burley, following the less hazardous tracks of the rural New Forest.

The car park was surprisingly quiet for a Bank Holiday Sunday lunchtime. Perhaps the poor weather forecast was to blame? Within a few minutes my waterproof was rolled up to remain tied around my waist as the sun watched my progress from a clear blue sky during the next couple of hours.

Today was a 'follow my nose' wander. Originally setting out along a familiar circular route, I started to branch off, moving easily onto adjacent circular paths eventually forming one large 5-6 mile circuit of the area. I only realised this along the way as at each turn-around point I ignored the beckoning return path. Happy just to extend my enjoyment of the weather, my easy movement, my personal soundtrack and the lack of others wanderers, except in the distance.

A couple of small hill climbs to warm up before wandering away from the tourist track to slip into woodland and reappear behind Moorhill House Hotel. The small houses hereabouts always a visual delight.

At the foot of the tarmac hill, once again veering off into mixed woodland. Carefully picking my way along the unmarked track to avoid the broad area of deceptive bogland. My route developed by trail and error through many seasons past.

Up now onto Burley golf-course, trying not to laugh at one of the more unexpected obstacles on the course. Wonder what number of strokes should be dropped for this encounter on the tee?

Back in the valley, a pause by the stream's natural pool for the dogs to take on some water. But hopefully not including the local aquatic wildlife.

Onto the Holmsley Cycle Track,for a short period, before swinging back up to Holmsley Ridge. To wander peacefully along its length. All to quickly coming to its end and seeing the distinctive twin pools near the Bransgore/Burley Road.

Time to pause. Excused movement for the moment to rest the older dog, now starting to lag behind. But really a chance to drink in my surroundings and savour.........well just being alive really. These paths are ones I've trodden scores of times, in all weathers, and across many years. But today somehow different, and to be valued.

There's something unique about walking across the wilder terrain that is just so mood enhancing at times. Ignore any fitness benefits. This type of thing just cannot be bought, or forced to happen. Just appreciated when it comes along.

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