Making the most of the island

I paid a brief visit to the Isle of Wight last weekend, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Isle of Wight Ramblers.  In the short time I was there, I fitted in two swims and two walks.

I love the journey from Lymington to Yarmouth, and I was particularly thrilled when the announcer on the boat told us there was a peregrine nesting in the harbour.  I saw it on the way back, perched on a pole.

9 peregrine spot

Peregrine in Lymington Harbour (not visible)

E M Forster’s description of the Island from the hills above Weymouth, from Howards End, is apposite as one travels across the Solent:

Seen from the west, the Wight is beautiful beyond all laws of beauty.  It is as if a fragment of England floated forward to greet the foreigner—chalk of our chalk, turf of our turf, epitome of what will follow.

10 Needles from boat

Headon Warren and the Needles

I arrived at Yarmouth at about 6.40pm and was met by the Ramblers’ chairman, David Howarth.

1 Yarmouth

Arriving at Yarmouth

He whisked me to Freshwater Beach, on the south side of the island, for a picnic supper with Ramblers Mike and Marie Slater, and Doug and Beryl Kelman.

2 picnic

Picnic on the beach: Marie and Mike Slater, Beryl and Doug Kelman

In no time I was in the sea.  It was quite stony and rough but so exhilarating.

3 Freshwater Beach

Freshwater Beach, evening

We had pizzas from the van on the beach

4 pizza van

 

and chatted in the gradually failing light.

5 Beryl and Marie

Beryl and Marie in conversation

The next morning before breakfast I walked from Totland on the coast path to Headon Warren.  It is largely heather and gorse, with fine views over the Needles.

6 Needles from Headon Warren

The Needles from Headon Warren

Then I went down to Totland Bay on the west coast, for another swim.  This was quite different from the one the previous evening.

7 Totland Bay

Totland Bay

The beach is sandy not stony, and it slopes gently so you can stay within your depth.  The water was calm and warm.

8a Totland Bay

Totland Beach, early morning

Totland Bay is close to the stretch of coastal path which was closed by a cliff fall and we won the campaign to get it reopened.

The second walk of the day was with the Ramblers as part of the 50th anniversary event.

I was on the Island for less than 24 hours but I felt I’d made the best of the time.

 

 

 

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About campaignerkate

I am the general secretary of the Open Spaces Society and I campaign for public access, paths and open spaces in town and country.
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