This Sunday we decided to head out for a long, slow run to get our mileage up this week. As the weather was looking gorgeous, we decided to test out the Solent Way. We chose the bit from Lymington to Bucklers Hard (and back).
The Solent way is 60 miles in length (a bit long for a Sunday) and spans from Milford-on-Sea to Emsworth Harbour. The section we ran ends nicely at Beaulieu but I wasn’t quite feeling a full 20 miles, so we cut it short a little and went for 18 miles instead.
We parked up in Lymington town centre and headed off over the river towards the first bit of woodland. This leads up to a very obvious 75ft obelisk, erected in Memory of Sir Harry Burrard Neale. Soon after there is a little bit of road until you are taken to the next bit of trail.
Skirting around the edge of a golf course, the terrain is a little tricky this time of year with the long grass forcing you to do a bit of leaping and dodging of dips.
The scenery is very pretty and it isn’t long until we see the first glimpse of the coastline.
The trail then continues through an area called Solwey Estate, most of it is private land, but there are a few points where you should stop and take in some of the scenery. We also found out there was a Bull in one of the fields, after we had run through.
Once out of the woodland and farms, there is a fair amount of road to run along. It is about 3 – 3.5 miles of road running before you hit the turning for Bucklers Hard. The roads were fairly quiet from traffic but my bottom was starting to feel the affects of the hard surface! Not quite the soft, bouncy trails I’ve become used too.
We got to Bucklers Hard at around the 8 mile point.
Bucklers Hard is a picturesque village with cute brick cottages leading you down to the river. More importantly, there is also a lovely pub. We wanted to up the mileage a little more so continued past the village and onto the trail that takes you all the way to Beaulieu. Once we hit 9 miles, we turned around and started to head back.
At around 13.5 miles it started to get hard; I could start to feel the road running taking effect in the tops of my legs. It was pretty hot still (around 23 degree I think) so we were taking on lots of water and keeping fuel levels up with SIS gels and nakd bars. At about 15 miles the discomfort started to fade into the background and I was driven by the purchase of an ice lolly when we got back.
We finished back at Lymington at around 3.5 hours. Not too bad. I was quite happy with my mile splits – these were averaging around 10:15/10:20 which is much faster than the 11:30/12:00 min miles I was doing a year ago. There are a few spikes on the graph where we we walking for a bit or I was stopping to take photographs.
Of course, the run ended in the pub with some serious refuelling. Apologies to the Empress of Blandings for our stench.