On New Year's Day, under grey skies, 12 walkers and two energetic dogs set off for a half-day walk from the Avon Causeway Hotel near Christchurch. The hotel was originally a halt on the Christchurch to Ringwood railway line, which closed a few years before the 2nd world war. We set off along the disused line, the dogs splashing and wallowing round in the numerous puddles and ponds on and alongside the trailway. We then left the track to climb up to St Catherine's Hill and walked along the ridge, which affords good views over the valley of the river Avon and the New Forest. By now the predicted rain had started, but was relatively light, so we reached our starting point reasonably dry. Most of us enjoyed a drink and warming soup, watching the increasingly heavy rain, before going our several ways home. Not a bad start to the year, but we'd like a little more sunshine, please!