I first walked to, but not up, St Catherine's Hill almost 5 months ago. Yesterday I finished the "up" part of the journey, though the further I went the more I realised there were still more places to explore.
St Catherine's Hill was a settlement over 3,000 years ago, long before Winchester was in existence. In 3 BC it was ringed by the ramparts of an iron age hill fort. In the 12th century, a chapel was built at the top. Nowadays it is a nature reserve, with butterflies and birds everywhere.
The picture of St Catherine's Hill which I took last February. The greens looked rather dull at that time.
And I rapidly realise it isn't the right one. I am faced with what seemed like a vertical wall of grass. But I am intrepid. Up I go, attempting to appear dignified at all times, even while sliding back down.
A view of the Hospital of St Cross, but not really in the direction I am expecting. Taking photos gives me a chance to regain my breath.
A view of Winchester, the more modern part. On the skyline from the left: the hospital, the prison, and Hampshire constabulary. The prison is called Winchester Community Prison. I'm still unsure what the "Community" part is supposed to mean. We can all go in for a look?
I eventually make my way right around the hill, back to where my starting point, but still no sign of the correct route. I end up having to scramble back down the bank, through some more trees and clamber under a rail that goes along the correct path.
This was the way I should have gone. Pretty looking steps with a convenient bench half way up. If this stairway seems shorter than the other, it's only because the path itself climbs before reaching the stairs, and the route is more direct and quite a bit steeper here.