So day one of my four day Isle of Wight walking caper, began with the coach picking up all of the differing walking groups from Freshwater house to take us on to our start/finish point at Godshill. Now the format of these HF Holidays is that the night before a brief description is given of what will constitute the easy, medium and hard walks, before you are invited to sign up for one of them. Thus for a walk to go ahead, it requires a minimum of two people to go with the leader. However given the advanced ages of the forty strong people making up this holiday, it began to look as if I would be the only one signing up for the hard walk (not hard at all in actuality, but just a walk in double figures). Anyway thanks to one other member, my new found nurse friend for the week, we had the minimum number necessary and the walk went ahead (the two of us forming the core of the hard walks for this holiday).
Having reached Godshill, both us and the medium group initially explored the Church of the Lilly Cross, which had been a feature of the previous night’s slide show. Apparently God had to lug all these stones up the hill to build this church and so I think you can now make the connection. So splitting from the medium group we made our way through a wooded area full of bluebells before catching up with the easy group at a stile among the downs there. Being somewhat hardcore though we left them in our wake, and made our way up to the Worsley Obelisk. By now we were feeling the full force of the wind, which forced me to take my hat off, getting somewhat toasted in the process. However when we got to a point where we could drop down from the wind, we then found ourselves being plagued by a mass of rather large flies.
Anyway undeterred we carried onwards to the outskirts of Ventnor in the process of which we picked up the Stenbury trail. Following another descent we arrived at Ventnor Radar station where we had lunch leaning up against the smiling pillar box (see picture), where we could see the Worsley Obelisk in the distance. In the course of our munchies we also found ourselves being caught and passed by the medium group (who were on a slightly different route to us). Now I have to say the choice of sarnies, baqueetes and all round goodies available for your lunch on these HF Holidays has to be seen to be believed, and one has to hold ones self back from being the proverbial kid in the sweet shop when making up your lunch in the morning.
Once moving again we initially began to ascend Wroxhall Down, before looping over Luccombe Down and then St. Martins Down. Our leader was having a slight tizzy over her instructions at this point, but with the help of my GPS our whereabouts was soon confirmed. So passing the impressive Cooks Castle (ha - see the picture) we then found ourselves descending through an enclosed nettle trail (good luck with this for anyone on next week’s walking festival) before getting out at the bottom on to the road. Presently we passed Appuldurcombe house (pictured) whose park was laid out by Capability Brown apparently, before then moving on to a rare breeds farm featuring Lama’s and woolly pigs among other creatures. Then it was back into Godshill for afternoon tea, a rendevous with the other two groups and the coach home. So not a bad start to the week, although the numbers for this initial long walk had been very low.
Walks since last blog entry:
1 x 15.5 miles – Richmond Stn to Park (outer/inner loops) & back
1 x 7 miles – Grand Union/Osterley Park
1 x 11 miles – Wimbledon Park to Osterley