Day 18 (Again!) 6 May 2013 Southbourne to Portsmouth Harbour

A glitch in my numbering system has been pointed out to me.  This is actually day 18!

In keeping with my decision that river estuaries are not part of the coast, I took a straight line north from the point where I turned inland yesterday, at West WIttering.  This took me to Southbourne, so I left the car there and began walking around 8.30am. The first little village was Prinsted, a picture post card place with thatched cottages and lots of beamed houses.  It is just to the north of Thorney Island.  In the morning light the calm waters of Chichester Harbour showed barely a ripple – it promised to be a glorious day.IMG_3582  I crossed Thorney Island and came into Emsworth, crossing the county boundary into my fourth county – Hampshire.  Emsworth is also a lovely town, with boatyards and little waterways emptying into the Harbour.IMG_3579  I walked along the sea front for quite a few miles – and then decided to have my first proper paddle (not counting the escapade on the Cuckmere!)IMG_3594 The water was chilly but very refreshing on hot feet.  Just by the Hayling Island crossing there is a little settlement with a nature reserve attracting a range of wild fowl.  My bird spotting is improving a bit, but is still not great.  Today, I saw black-headed gulls, coots, moorhens, dunlin (I think) and, very exciting – Little Egrets.  I also saw a family of swans in great distress, as two of the three cygnets had tumbled over the little weir on the millrace under the old water mill.  The parent birds were frantic as the chicks tried to clamber up, but it was far too difficult.  The other cygnet stayed glued to one of the adult’s side.  IMG_3603Apparently, someone had gone to fetch a net to rescue them.  I did not wait, but hopefully all ended well.  Passing Hayling Island (not en route as an island) I walked through Farlington Marshes – again a vast array of birds and wildlife.  I was interested to see a swan on her nest – never seen that before.  Quite a few butterflies as well – painted ladies and peacocks, as well as cabbage whites.

I stopped for lunch at a Harvester Pub – no further comment!- then continued down the east side of Portsea Island.  The sun was blazing and I was actually able to walk in shirt sleeves for the first time.   On the south side of Portsea is Eastney beach, along which I walked – still quite shingly but with enough sand to make it reasonable under foot.  When I got to Southea I was horrified to see that the fun fair was in town – there were literally thousands of people milling everywhere – quite a shock after the almost silent marshes.  Heading up round the west side, I admired Southsea Castle and the fabulous Spinnaker tower as well as the Victory. IMG_3633 I stopped for tea (see review) then caught the train back to Southbourne.  All in all, a really fabulous day.

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