In the mists of time, Mark said he would organise a walk during the summer on the Isle of Wight. No one can remember the auspicious occasion or when this statement was uttered. It was probably some time in the latter part of the last century.
Wind forward to Thursday, 26 May 2011. At 8am Graham picked up Mark and drove down to the Havant Street car park close to Portsmouth Harbour station. We purchased our tickets and boarded the 8:40 am catamaran to Ryde. Mark looked at his ticket and proclaimed that Janet will not be happy to know this. At Ryde we got on the train to Shanklin. At the station we got out and started the walk. The time was now 9:40 am.
We walked west of the station along the old railway line, reminiscent of the Meon Valley railway. After going under two bridges we turned off left and walked on a narrow path towards St Boniface down. We passed two ladies walking their dogs. It started to drizzle.
We got to some steps and clambered up them. We will find a diversion for the gang walk as it would not be fair on some of the party to climb all these steps. At the top we looked at the map and made our way through a copice and strided up to a trig point announcing it was at a height of 235 metres. By now it had stopped raining but was blowing a hooley. We marched to the radar station in the distance. On the way Graham took a photo.
We skirted the radar station and arrived at St Boniface Down. The views were magnificent. The downward path was rather steep and another diversion may be proposed for the gang walk.
We walked down past St Catherine's School and into Ventnor High Street. We stopped at the Thistle café which had been frequented by Janet and their daughters. We discovered later that this was a terminal logical inexactitude. After a cup of coffee and a toasted tea cake we strolled down to the beach.
On the way to the Spyglass Inn we stopped to admire the blue plaque to Ivan Turgenov. It was now nearly noon. At the inn we partook of a beer and a crab baguette. Both were delicious. We checked out a barn where up to eighty could eat. Mark is forever hopeful.
The return journey was familiar territory for Mark as we took the coastal path. Part of the way round we were disappointed to discover that a place at which Mark suggested we had afternoon tea was closed. Dehydrating we strolled on into the outskirts of Shanklin. Mark pointed out where they used to stay at the Bourne Hall hotel.
We walked past the Rylstone Gardens and through the Tower gardens. We stopped at the Harrow Lodge and had tea and shared a toasted tea cake.
We walked to the station and waited several minutes for a train. On the train we were surrounded by school children. Mark had a short zizz much to the amusement of the young ladies. It had been an exhausting time for our new senior citizen.
The boat was waiting for us and was a bit more crowded than the journey over. The car was awaiting us in a puddle of water as it had rained during our expedition. Mark was dropped off at 5pm.