A walk on the Isle of Wight - 2018

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 an eighth one.  Here are the tales of two recce's.  Why? Well you'll have to read the first to find out why we did a second.

The first recce

It's about 8:30am when Graham picks up Sarah and then drives to Mark's.  Mark clambers into the car but there is no goodbye from his beloved.  The dog, Mollie, is in disgrace.  She has caught two birds and has exhibited them on the lawn.  We drive to the Eastgate car park in Southampton but as there are various roadworks we take a circuitous route to it.  We amble down to the Red Jet ferry terminal and are pleased to discover that a return ticket to Cowes will only cost us £11.40, cheaper than the shorter Portsmouth to Ryde crossing. Our proposed walk is one which Mark has selected (more...). It will take us along the coastal path from West Cowes to Porchfield where we will have lunch.
Two of us have a coffee and we all board the 9:45am departure to West Cowes on the high speed catramaran Red Jet 4.  We get into Cowes just after 10am and start walking along the streets.  Unfortunately a dust cart pollutes the air with rotting smells.  We veer off the street and stroll along the front passing the various yacht clubs adorning the front.  We are now on the Coastal Path and stop at a curious monument.
We walk passed Egypt Point and stop at the Watersedge café where Mark can partake of a large slice of Victoria Sponge and a hot chocolate whilst the others have a coffee.  We leave the café and climb the hill by the side of it.  We come to a boat yard and just after it climb up a hill.  In the field by us are several dilapidated chalets.  We pass a walking couple telling them we'll see them at our lunch-time pub.
Once we get to the top of the hill we arrive at the start of Thorness Bay, a wonderful isolated bay where smugglers probably thrived.  Mark gives us some info on the blue slipper clay which is exposed by the coastal erosion.  There are many orchids in flower.  We make our way to the road at the end of the beach.  Someone remarks that Mark is unfettered when his janetor is not with him.  What can that possibly mean?
We wander up through the Thorness Bay Holiday Village.  We find the Coastal Path but the track is very muddy and frequented by horses so we grope our way through thicket back on to the village site.  In a large open room we ask the way to Porchfield and are told the way but Mark uses his OS map app to find the path.  We rejoin it and walk alongside a large herd of cattle. We traverse a couple of styles and eventually get to the road.  We wander down the road and into the garden of the Sportsman's Rest pub.  There is no food so some of us have pints of Wight Gold, an excellent local brew.  We are chatting amongst ourselves pondering how we are going to get some lunch.  A man in a blue shirt and colourful baggy trousers interrupts to propose that he could take us to a pub which does food.  We accept his offer and top up his glass.
Harris, for that is his name, took voluntary redundancy last Christmas.  He used to work for decades as a type-setter on the Isle of Wight County Press but it was taken over and the typesetting is now done by India.  Harris lives in his own in house half-way up a hill in Newport.  He has a large field with a shed and a collection of motor-bikes. His motto seems to be 'Carpe Diem'.  We learn about the bus and beer weekends, the covens of witches, inbreeding in Wroxall.  Then we are told that Harris is a healer.  First it started with a horse now he'd like to heal Sarah's elbow.  Mark records the event.  Meanwhile Graham is chatting to the walking couple who have come from Derbyshire and are walking around the island in 9 days (more...).   
After the healing session Sarah and Graham squeeze into Harris's white van and are driven to a road junction near to the New Inn at Shalfleet (more...).  We order fish and chips for Mark, who may arrive shortly.  Eventiually he does but announces that Harris will join us.  The patient gasps in disbelief.  Harris arrives, has another pint, and pops out for another smoke.  He will be meeting his mate at 4pm in the Sportsman's Rest in Porchfield where he will continue drinking.
We catch the 3:35pm Number 7 bus to Newport.  Sarah sponsors Mark who has yet to get his bus pass.  At Newport we change buses and get the Number 1 bus to West Cowes and the Red Jet terminal.  We catch the 4:45pm ferry back to Southampton.  Mark is dropped off at his house.  The lady comes out to greet us but not to invite us in for scones.  Sarah is dropped of and Graham returns home, tired and partly disappointed as we all agreed that this has been a non-recce and we will be doing a proper recce ere long.  We have walked 8 miles today.
A Comment from the Janetor: Never in the mists of Recce time has the Recce been pronounced not a Recce. I recce foul play somewhere along the Recce. A very, as ever, entertaining and accurate report of not a Recce. I do notice far less scurrilous encounters with random females since Sarah joined you. A good thing too since That Phone Box Encounter..... (more...).
Click here for all the photos.

The second recce

The photos are here.
At about 8:33am on Monday, July 30, Graham picks up John Wills.  Mark is not able to join us this time, for some reason or other.  Perhaps it was Mark's turn to walk Toby.  We pick up Sarah and drive to the Eastgate car park in Southampton.  It's a short walk to the Red Funnel terminal, through the fine drizzle, where we purchase off-peak return tickets and a coffee.  The 9:45am ferry departs promptly and we arrive in Cowes at 10:10am.  The walk we have selected to do is the Medina Estuary Walk (more...). It claims to be a nine mile walk which will take four hours if walked briskly.  We leave the terminal area and it is still spitting a bit.  We walk south towards where we think the walk starts.  As we near the floating bridge we ask a man, who had been on the ferry, the way to Arctic Road.  There is a slight incline as we make our way to Arctic Road.  On looking more closely at the map it turns out we could have walked down York Street to get into Pelham Road.  At the end of Arctic Road we turn right and enter the Cowes to Newport Cycle route which is a tarmac'ed path along the route of the Cowes to Newport railway (more...).  It closed in 1966.  We are hoping to see the river but are disappointed as the route is lined by trees.  Eventually we get into the open.  There is a large factory called Vesta Blades which is building blades for turbine windmills. We stop to admire the remains of the Dodnor Cement works.  There is a sign to Newport via the river side.  We ask a lady with a purple top emblazoned with 'Olly' if it is a good way to go.  We are encouraged and walk down the side of the diisued cement works. We have a short chat with a lady who has a dog if the path will take us to Newport and she told us we may have to swim.  She had only been down to the river and was returning. We plod on. Olly was right as the path by the river is much more interesting than the railway route. We pass a couple of houses which should be rebuilt and then pass some houses that remind Sarah of Solent Breezes.  There is a debate about what the large white initials NRC scribed on a roof by the river stand for.  All is made clear as we see the inscription above the door - Newport Rowing Club.  We walk on and come to a photo opportunity of a mermaid with a statuesque quality.  We rejoin the railway route and give way to a bunch of cyclists as we make our way onto the road which will lead to lunch.  We arrive at the Bargeman's Rest (more...) and have a leisurely lunch, rehydrating ourselves. It has taken us about two hours to get here.  Inside, the pub is like a museum with stuffed animals on display and an array of naval photos (more...).  We leave the pub and circumnavigate the Quay Arts Centre (more...).  We are now walking north again.  We walk alongside a large recreational space and follow the riverside walk.  The walk is made of a plastic hexagonal grid filled with pebbles - something which should be used for the central Swanmore car park.  We pass the rusting remains of the Paddle Steamer Ryde (more...).  We walk though the boatyard and across a lock gate shut for us by a man in the building overlooking the Island Harbour Marina.  We continue on for a short while till we arrive at the Folly Inn.  Some of us have icream and others prefer Rosé wine.  We make a decision not to walk back all the way.  We walk to the end of Folly Lane and catch the 4:04pm bus to East Cowes.  Sarah has been composing a limerick about a young lady from Whippingham.  At East Cowes we alight the bus outside Waitrose.  A car ferry is filling up.  We walk on to the boat and are taken back to Southampton where we arrive at just after 5:30pm.  On the way home we agree it will be a good gang walk and the pub is big enough to hold us all though we should warn them ahead of time.
The photos are here.  
The walk

The actual walk on Sunday, 7th October, 2018

The photos for the day are here.
Thirteen of us (Mark, Janet, George, Sue, Richard, Suzanne, Bryan, Caroline, Keith, Sarah, Tricia, John, Graham, plus Maggie the dog) gather in the Red Jet terminal. Graham phones the pub to give the exact numbers for the reserved table. We board the 9:45am cat to West Cowes. Mr Google had helped us find a shorter route to the start of the walk so we follow his advice.  We walk to the pub and get there for 12:05pm.  It was such a lovely warm day that we decline the reserved table indoors and sit outside.  The food comes very quickly. Janet composes a limerick (with some minor tweaking by Graham):

There was a young woman of Whippingham
Whose way to trap men was by tripping 'em
She tripped and she tripped
Till they gave her short shrift
But soon she was no longer gripping 'em.

A member of the staff takes a team photo and we restart the walk. Graham points out to those who are not too bored, the interesting brick bonding patterns on the walls around the port. We pass the SS Ryde and cross the lock gates just in time to let a boat through. Some have coffees and ice creams at the Folly Inn.  We walk to the Whippingham Church to view Queen Victoria's memorabilia but the church is closed.  We walk to the bus and, after a short wait, board the bus to East Cowes. As we approach the bus stop we see that the ferry is about to leave. We rush to the terminal.  One of the staff says that up till now they were on time.  Many go to the top deck but those with the dog have to go to a pets area.  We dock in Southamton at 5:30pm and say our goodbyes.  Another good walk has taken place.  According to Graham's iPhone he has walked 11.2 miles today. Thanks to Richard for this map of where we have journeyed today.