Saturday, 30 June 2012

Isle of Wight - Ryde & Sandown

A very early start to get to a 'gloomy and cloudy' Portsmouth to catch the 'Cat' across to Ryde on the Isle of Wight (IOW as it will be known from now on). There are two very noticable features at Gunwharf Quay. Firstly the majestic HMS Warrior (1860). It was the first iron hulled armour plated warship. Warrior was the largest, fastest, most heavily armed and most heavily armoured warship the world had seen.Warrior never saw battle in her time in service, although, when launched, she and Black Prince were the biggest and most powerful warships in the world. Naval technology advanced so fast that both ships were removed from the front line within ten years.
The second eyecatching feature is the Spinnaker Tower. Soaring 170 metres above Portsmouth Harbour and the Solent, the Spinnaker Tower is taller than the London Eye, Blackpool Tower and Big Ben. The Tower stands proud over one of the busiest sea passages in the world. There are amazing 350ยบ panoramic views of Portsmouth Harbour, the South coast and the Isle of Wight, with views stretching out for up to 23 miles. The Viewing Deck 1 boasts a glass floor, where visitors can dare to ‘walk on air’! I've never been to the IOW so the chance to escape for a couple of days was too good to miss. The 'Cat ' took about 20 mins and dropped us at Ryde Pier, a major gateway for passenger traffic to and from the IOW. Ryde Pier was made a Grade II listed building in 1976. In May 2011 existing lighting columns on the Promenade Pier were fitted with Victorian-style brackets and lanterns. It was still very murky but fine to walk along the coastal path and look back towards Portsmouth in the distance. Ryde is actually the most populated town on the IOW with 30,000.
One of the Hovercraft that operate out of Southsea/Ryde and quite spectacular. We continued our walk in search of a Tea Shop and spotted lots of 'Black Headed Gulls' searching for worms on the sand. Then who should we discover on duty but some of the Home Guard from Walmington on Sea led by Captain Mainwaring.
ARP Warden Hodges, Corporal Jones, Capt Mainwaring, Sargeant Wilson and 'Stupid Boy' Pike.
From Ryde we caught the Bus to Sandown where we were staying. 'Superbly situated beside the sparkling waters of Sandown Bay, the twin resorts of Sandown and Shanklin have delighted generations of holiday-makers for over 150 years. Not my words but those of the IOW Council. Must have caught it on a bad day as no sign of any sparkling waters here. In fact the High Street could have been any UK holiday resort with the usual array of tea shops, rock shops, novelty and souvenir shops and arcades. I've constantly got the Morrissey lyric 'How I Dearly Wish I Was Not Here" In the seaside town That they forgot to bomb' circling in my head. But this is what it is like, some drab childhood Sunday confined to play in the garden with only Songs of Praise to look forward to before school the next day... Maybe Morrissey was in Sandown when he penned 'Every Day is like a Sunday'?? Escaping the High Street and the obese ice cream eaters and Pensioners trying valiantly to look alive we made our way along Northwards past the Zoo towards Culver Down. A chalk down where chalk cliffs to the north and east are important nesting places for seabirds.opes over the cliff. It was also known for breeding Peregrine Falcons. It is believed that its name derives from "Culfre" - old English for "dove".
Looking back towards Sandown from Culver Down, well almost as it was a long walk and I was struggling with a mucle starin from playing cricket.

No comments:

Post a Comment