Date : 9th July
Travelled : 81 Kilometres from Newport to Havenstreet then on to Freshwater
Visited : Carisbrooke Castle, Newport, free with English Heritage Pass. Isle of Wight Steam Railway, Havenstreet £26 double.
Stayed : Stouts Farm Camping, basic amenities, no wifi. £16 N50.67305 W01.54085
The castle carpark proves to be a nice quiet spot for the night and once again at Pam’s favourite price. The Castle doesn’t open until 10 am so there’s plenty of time for breakfast and catching up with the Sydney newspapers. Greyhounds, what a wet liberal our Premier has proven to be. Speaking of dogs and their owners they have been coming and going since 6.30 am. The grounds around Carisbrooke have numerous public footpaths and its obviously a popular spot.
It’s almost midday and time to keep moving, so we point the Hymer east toward Ryde for some fresh bread and then on to Havenstreet to visit the steam railway museum. Like most places on IOW signs to attraction are hard to find. We stumble our way along a series of narrow lanes to Havenstreet Station.
We escape Havenstreet enduring another white knuckle passage along the laneways of IOW. Returning to the A3055 at Sandown we spend the afternoon driving the south coast of IOW. We find little access to the coast, although the road is only a hundred metres from it in most of the way. The coast is lined with large houses for many miles, the villages just merge into each other along the road. At the southern most point of the island, St.Catherine’s Point the topography changes. The houses stop and the coastline appears more windswept.
We stop in a small carpark at Freshwater Bay and have a chat to the couple parked in another camper car. They recommend a small farm campsite just up the lane, the fact there is a pub across the road adds to the lure. 15 minutes later we have paid our £16 and I walk over to the pub and book a table for two. The fish’n’chips with mashy pies proves to be a success. We meet up with the young couple who recommended the Highdown Inn and have a good old motorhome chit-chat.
Date : 10th July
Travelled: 16 kilometres from Freshwater to Yarmouth IOW
Visited : Tennyson Down, Western High Downs and The Neddles
Stayed : Fort Victoria Park, a free carpark adjoining the exhibit, clean toilets and bins N50.70691 W01.52079
We have felt the wind rocking the Hymer once and twice during the night. A heavy sea mist is sweeping across Stouts’ farm. Occasionally the mist turns to drizzle, its not falling but blowing past almost horizontally. After breakfast and some chores the mist is heavier than ever. Our plan today was to walk the high downs from the Tennyson Memorial to the Neddles along the white cliffs than line this area of IOW.
Not famous for taking the easy road we set off in our hiking boots and gortex jackets. After half an hours walk up the downs, the memorial rises out of the mist. We turn for the needles and walk along the chalk cliff tops for another hour. They say you can walk the Downs or you can look at the Downs, not both. It doesn’t take long to work out why, there are rabbit holes everywhere and the odd sink hole big enough to disappear into.
We make the Needles but can barely see anything in the mist. We visit the Old and New Gun Batteries but head back to the Hymer a little disappointed but we gave it our best. It’s mid afternoon and we return to Stouts Farm for a shower and clean up before saying goodbye and heading to Yarmouth to find a spot for the night. It looks like the Fort Victoria carpark will do nicely and we settle in for the evening. We have a ferry to Lymington at 7.50 am.
Michael and Pam