Click here for the photos, here for the places where the photos were taken, and here for a map of the walk.
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. Well we did the first one in 2011 and now we have planned a fourth one.
On Tuesday, 17 June 2014 at 7:15am Graham leaves home and drives to Shedfield Grange where Mark invites him in to have a cup of tea. The walls in Mark's kitchen have ears for our conversation is interrupted by the dulcet tones of the lady of the house who is still upstairs and not publicly viewable.
We leave the disembodied voice and drive to the M27 and then via Beaulieu to Lymington. At Lymington we drive through the town and just past the marina we turn into the car park. Moored across the river is the Isle of Wight ferry. Back into the car we get and drive out of town and across the river cursing the poor signage on the road from Beaulieu. While Graham is buying a car park ticket Mark goes in and buys two return tickets and another car park ticket. We quickly board the 9:00am ferry. We buy two coffees from Blondie and settle down for the journey. The sea is calm and the sun is shining.
We dock at Yarmouth at 9:36am and make our way around the harbour wall and cross the bridge over the river Yar. We walk on the road for a bit and where there's a nasty bend in the road we cross it and make our way down to the coast. We are now on the coastal path with magnificent views across the Solent.
After a short walk along the coast we turn up through some woodland and walk along a track through the Fort Victoria Park. We walk in the shade up the gradual incline. At the top we meet a man sitting on a bench who is out for a brisk walk. His boat and wife are on the harbour in Yarmouth. They have sailed from Newhaven and as a force 6 wind has been forecast for today they are resting. We admire the view.
We make our way to the Cliff End Battery where we join a lane which takes us to the outskirts of Totland.
We find our way to the bridle path to Freshwater. Just before we get to Golden Hill Fort, Mark decides to change into his shorts. Suddenly the path becomes busy. A young maiden on horseback dragging an older man on horseback with his partner on another horse comes into view. They leave Mark unscathed. Two elderly ladies with their elderly dogs go past Mark. We make our way clockwise around the fort and admire the views. We are joined again by the maiden and the horses as they descend the hill towards Freshwater. They leave us and we continue on past a school to the high street of Freshwater.
We ask a man where there is a café and he tells us there is one past the Co-op. We make our way to the Co-op where Mark espies an ATM from which he wishes to draw money. Mark allows another lady to go ahead of him. The tattoed lady at the machine thanks Mark for his chivalry. Tracey, as we call her, tells Mark that she does not often come across chivalry these days. She just gets a text from a friend asking for a quick one. Tracey has been single for six years and her best friend is a pooch called Bobby who is tied up to the Coo-op wall. Tracey points us in the direction of the End of the Line café and we make our way there.
It's now about 11am so while Graham has a coffee, Mark has a hot chocolate. They both have a piece of carrot cake. The old railway track is just at the bottom of the café's lawn. We walk on it back to Yarmouth along the estuary of the Yar admiring the bird life.
At Yarmouth we find our way to the George Hotel where we are told we can drink as much as we like till 1pm when we may order food as they have a large party to serve first. We take up our seats under an umbrella in the garden overlooking the Solent. We sample the Shipyard Ale shipped in from Maine in the USA. The large party arrives and takes over the tables by the edge of the sea. Unfortunately a strong breeze blows up and knocks one of the umbrellas over together with the table and the glasses and crockery shattering some of them. We order our crab sandwiches at £11.50 each. There's a Michelin Star chef here called Robert Thompson (more...) and his wages have to be paid. I'm glad we are able to help.
We boarded the 2:05pm boat back to Lymington and regale our stories to Janet, now dressed is a very fetching tennis outfit, over a cup of tea in the garden with no sea in sight.