After a few drinks on the friday night. The idea of 'wasting' away this glorious weather was dispelled and a plan hatched. The misses understood. It's guaranteed there would be plenty of wet weekends to come.
We drove down to the New Forest and after a lovely lunch went for a walk and checked out some spots for me to stay. One was perfect. So after heading back to the car and picking up my gear, saying goodbyes, I headed back to my campspot.
After clearing my site up and collecting firewood, it soon became apparent that I was neighbours to a few billion midges. Now I wont be able to escape these totally but maybe there was a better, dryer place to camp. So I walked around for an hour or so, I did have a load of time to kill and after an exhaustive failed search I went to check out one last outcrop of forest which fortunately had an idle setting. So I went and collected my things for a second time and set up my second camp. Cleared the site and collected firewood again. All this was timed perfectly as it then gave me a little time to watch the glorious sun set.
Once this was down I then had a fair amount of time to myself. So I got the fire going and chilled out. It wasn't long before the peace and solitude was broken up by a far away party with the DJ screaming COME ON COME ON to the revellers to the tunes of Niki Menaj and Rhianna.
At this point I decided to test out my new torch and go for a 20min run in the dark. I love the torch (Petzel Nao) and would of run further but didn't want to get into bed too sweaty. With a few fresh logs burning on the fire I settled down to bed and star gazed for the second time in a week to a stunning Milky Way et al.
Although I didn't really get spooked over night it was a strange feeling being on your own in the middle of no where. I did though get startled in the morning with a couple of deer wondering into my camp. Who was more scared? Looking around the view was astounding with an early morning mist surrounding the countyside interspersed with the grunting/warning call from the deer. I soon nodded off for an hour but, awoke with the sun burning off the morning dew and as I slowly cleared camp I was joined by half a dozen wild ponies whom seemed set on sticking around and joining me for breakfast.
With the camp cleared and a full belly I set off on my way home. The main theme being getting lost but, this only added to the adventure. After navigating my way out of Bramshaw woods I was a lot further north and so looped back to Canada common and over several 'quaking bogs'. For some inexplicable reason I took a southward direction over Half moon common and ended up in Newbridge, way off course. Then decided instead of taking the looped tracked back on course I went off route and made my way cross country through farmers fields and over rivers. Just when I was thinking I was completely lost I could hear the screams of children far off. This was Paultons theme park and after a few more corn fields I was running through the golf course and back on the map. I took a deserved break in the local petrol station here and treated myself to a cold coke and chocolate bar.
After crossing the dual carriage way and somehow losing my sunglasses in the grass verge I got myself lost again in the small corpse. By now I think I was getting good at getting myself out of these situations and duly found a road to take me down to the Test Way. Following this path until it veered south after a bridge I starred agonisingly at the refreshing river with all access points signed 'Private No Entry. Sod that, I needed a dip. It was the hottest day of the year, over 30'C. So I snuck in below the bridge and jumped in to cool down.
Back on my way I negotiated a couple of minor roads to get me to Romsey Golf course and the path taking me through Nightingale wood and onto familiar territory. No more getting lost for the day as I ran known routes back home feeling surprisingly good.
Another cracking wild camp and run home and by myself. This was a nice test to see the night out on my own as if I end up doing some longer runs then these will entail overnighters and with my new torch I cant wait to hit my local trails at night.
Stats: 23miles in a little under 4hrs.