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Archive for the ‘Coasting2012’ Category

Cool misty start then ever hotter. 15.7 miles.

Leaving on the early train had me passing the local horse race course with a very picturesque low misty covering, then it’s reach London and walk to St Pancras station as there was time only to find i’m in the midst of a huge crowd queuing for the olympic station en route, luckily i got on that train (many didn’t), when they got off at Stratford i almost had the carriage to myself all the way to Faversham.

Now head straight down the middle of Faversham which was a picture in the early morning sunshine, the local church has a fabulous spire, anyway it was market day so the main street shops were joined by numerous stalls selling most of what one might wish for and more, the weather had brought many people out to browse and the town sure felt good with a relaxed atmosphere, i stopped at a tea shop thinking that being ahead of getting thirsty was going to be a problem today so lucky i was carrying water as well. Once i moved to the bottom end of town the people numbers dropped and i soon found my way to a little bridge over the muddy little inlet that was to be seen as the tide was obviously out.

 

surprisingly, despite the long hot weather off late, mud featured quite a bit today (not on the trail).

The river bank walk was beautiful under trees by old houses and then a short detour around some private area and back onto the embankment that keeps the land behind dry from the twice daily tide. I’m soon looking across at the boat yard i walked through on my way into town a few days ago and i’m in fact looking across to that last creek walk for quite a while, all the way around ham marsh and then i turn down another creek to Oare which has an old windmill sadly without sails, i also spotted a board pointing the way to a tea/snack van that was open according to the sign but when i found it there was no body home (bah humbug), luckily i had rested under a shady bush for a drink and on i went.

Yep passed a whole lot of muddy creek edge which included the sad remains of boats long abandoned.

 

When finally the creek reached the sea shore all was rather busy as it seems to be a popular bird watching area, some big scopes were being eye balled with the keenness that people passionate about their pass time exude. Then it’s back to miles of sea embankment with the only people seen being the occasional fisherman,

 

yet again a lonesome bush provided shade for a drink/rest as the heat was getting really noticeable. The path after a few miles turns inland at conyer creek and i walk down to the village of Conyer that has a pub, orange juice and water in a pint glass (heavenly) then around the forked inlet past a marina full of yachts and i came upon a cycle route sign.

 

Now cycle routes are shorter than walking routes as they can’t stick to the coast line quite so well as foot paths, this sign indicate Inverness is 1151 miles away by cycle route (why they chose Inverness is a question i don’t have an answer for), so as footpaths are longer i sense it will be some time before i reach Inverness that’s assuming i do.

Another lovely walk up conyers creek to the coast and more miles of embankment where this time i actually happened upon two fishermen removing a hook from a fish so that answered the though of will it be possible to catch anything today in this heat. along this section looking out to see gave fine views of miles of mud and i was still passing abandoned boat skeletons.

 

 

This lead me to milton creek where i turn inland again for the walk to Sittingbourne and train home, it was hot, but a marvelous day .

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Dry, chilly breeze, warm in sheltered areas.

Wake in our huddle of tents under an oak tree on field margin, well the dog was up.

It was a very good spot to camp with no overnight rain packing a dry tent is always good, so it’s the usual brew, pack and go out into the sunshine which is illuminating the island nicely though low on the horizon as yet the shadows are long. It’s only a short stroll to the finnish but boy was it a good ending, the path goes a little inland from here crossing fields and following wooded lanes, by the time we reach Bouldnor copse it is just as lovely as anyone could wish for.

From the high points a hint of Yarmouth harbour can be seen but the path descends through forest to the waters edge for a while then up to a short road section before returning to the concrete sea wall which provides easy walking into town for the big breakfast and a little sorrow that it is over, tempered with the certainty that as fun holidays go this was top drawer.

It’s then back on the ferry to mainland and head home to plan the next adventure (s).

The official isle of wight coast path site gives the distance as 68.7 miles so this is what i will add to my coast total.

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Dry breezy.

Well there was one shower in the night i heard and it did get a bit windy at times, no matter the hedge row we were against provided shelter and better than that was in the morning to my great joy along the hedge row came a red squirrel, it took some time to get Andy out of bed to see it in a nearby tree to confirm i was not imagining nice wild life.

The kite hill camping and caravaning club site is on the southern edge of Fishbourne and can be recommended to any prospective coast walkers (£6). It was a short walk to cross the bridge into Wotton bridge where a supermarket provided supplies and a small shop had take away coffee, then side streets and small roads north west inland from the coast to get around Osborne house and grounds (once holiday home to royalty, this had us passing some very nice architecture in road side dwellings and then the magnificent church near Whippingham (which had a tea shop).

Curiously this was the result of our decision to not follow the coast route as per map which is on the (A) road, we choose (b) roads and didn’t regret the choice, this got us scenically into east cowes crossing a park where quite a selection of bolete fungi were growing and down to the very short and free (for pedestrians) ferry across the river Medina. In Cowes it was back to the shore line and carry on around until we happened upon a snack kiosk about the time a rest was needed, this led on to Egypt point for which the names explanation was not found but this looks like the most northerly point of the island.

There now followed several miles of sometimes minor streets/roads sometimes the shore line and sometimes cliff top walking so a real variety that never got tired, we then have to turn inland at Thorness bay to go around a military area, no great problem but the shore does disappear for a couple of hours, its on minor roads or across farmland and nature reserves which where once again extremely nice in places.

Reach Shalfleet evening time was just about perfect for the pub which did tea and a rather good meal, we were joined briefly by a hiker who was travelling in the opposite direction. A short bit of road from the pub put us across fields and woods to get around/across Newtown harbours many creeks, this involved some interesting bridges.

 

We reached the shore as darkness was falling so it was an interesting challenge to pitch the tents without loosing pegs ect, and we seemed to manage that quite nicely so everyone just fell into sleeping bags as a full moon took over the sky.

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dry then rain then dry.
An early start saw us on minor roads onto the coast with easy going to turn the easterly point resting near the long life boat launch site.

 

It was already apparent that cafes would not open until tourist time (late) but coffee from a small shop helped.
the going was pleasant shore line around Bembridge and the harbour causeway when another case of the map being invaluable occurred (a few more coast signs at such points would be handy), any way found the path to old jetty and the official path cuts a corner, we stuck to the shore which was fine.
Then luck prevailed, a cafe opening up, they would make tea and breakfast would be 10 minutes, wow an excellent huge plate full with real sausages.
Now feeling good we set of along the sea wall and came to church ruins followed by a lovely beach,

 

The sky was already starting to look black (ish).

the beach ended in rocks and we had to climb up through woods, oh it went up and down and it sure was muddy in parts which was proving real difficult for the couple with two children and folded push chair we met trying to find a beach, eventually we all got to the excellent small beach and enjoyed the lapping waves, at the end we had to climb out again on a reasonable path passing a rather delightful folly.

 
small roads back to coast and the rain started, , this persisted to Springvale where a pub provided tea, the pub had captain manering and friends in the garden.

 

then we walked in water proofs into Rye passing the Appley tower

 

and around in nice time to see the hover craft go out which was quite impressive as it left land and straight out onto the water with no change to its forward speed or hight.

 

and still it rained so we had chips and carried on the path slightly inland for a while which soon became rural passing some old abbey ruins (Quarr Cistercian abbey), first sheep seen on the island and a pen of pigs which are always fun to talk to (Ledog didn’t seem to know what to make of them (friend, foe or curiosity).
Another pub provided tea and the rain stopped so we could wander into kite hill campsite and set up in the dry, good end to a good day.

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Dry, warm and breezy.
Quite a bit of rain in the night but dry to pack, this involved a lot of slug removal (they were abundant).
Path closure meant staying inland a little for a while then onto the shore line to Ventnor where the breakfast was available which was very pleasant so close to the sea.
It was a really good day finding a neat little church and some time through the land slip area which was steep at times but home to real wilderness and much wildlife including a jersey tiger moth.
just before Shanklin there was a tea shop followed by a steep stepped descent into Shanklin.

 

 and in Shanklin we found a co op for supplies followed by another tea stop.
The coast path now climbed back up limestone cliffs and we could now see across the Solent with Portsmouths spinaker tower clear to see, then a dawdle down hill and find a campsite just before Bembridge town. A pleasant day along miles of coast.

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Morning world

really must pack these tents and get moving.

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warm breezy one shower.
great night on the cliff top and we were awake in good time as the sun climbed the eastern horizon, cook pasta and packed time dog walkers were appearing on the paths.
up to Tennyson monument for enormous view in all directions then carry on to Freshwater bay  in hope of cafe, no chance but small gift shop had coffee machine and chocolate bar and there was a sea shelter in which to enjoy them.

 
Most of the day was along cliff tops that were grazed short and just about as nice a walking as one could wish for there were great views back along the high chalk cliffs all day. The one episode of rain was a case of it persisted long enough for everyone to put on water proofs only to remove them half an hour later (good result).

 

 Although staying on cliff tops  we moved onto a very long section that was sand and clay which is eroding fast with masses of land slips, some of the sections look pretty precarious so be warned below and approach the edge with care.

 

The day also crosses or goes around Chines which are water worn gullies, they ranged from small scrub covered gullies to one which was impressively deep with vertical sides.

 At the pearl centre we enjoyed bacon rolls with tea, this proved to be the only food source for many a mile until we reached  Chale, where  the white mouse pub  provided good meals then its back up high chalk cliffs  at St Catherine’s point where finally we had a good view of the blinking light house (the description had started the night before when we could see the light blinking in the dark and had set it as a rough goal for the day to pass that blinking light house).

 

This left a short walk to just past Niton where a camp site symbol was on my map but not Andy’s, it turned out to be just fine for us, grass paddocks and a tap so definitely minimal, as we aren’t at a site long (just long enough for a brew and sleep) this was fine.

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