Tuesday on the Isle of Wight began early, with my morning walk down to the Cowes marina, and the “floating bridge” that was just drifting in out of the mist (check out the first picture in the “gallery” below).
Before long Rebekah and I had consumed another massive “farmhouse breakfast” before driving along the north coast, through Yarmouth and on to “The Needles” (a prominent row of chalk cliff stacks that rise about 100 feet out of the sea off the western end of the island).
Originally, there was an additional “needle”, but one collapsed several centuries ago. I have thought it might be fun to tell my grandchildren that, “Grandma told me not to skip rocks in the ocean so close to such an important landmark. But I couldn’t help myself, and my rock just wouldn’t stop skipping. Anyhow, now there is one less needle; I hope nobody notices….”
It really is a spectacular geological formation, and right round the corner from Alum Bay, where the famous multi-colored sand is harvested.
So, first, we took the chair lift down the cliff to Alum Bay. It was an interesting ride, especially the way it suddenly drops directly down the sheer cliff! The sand on the cliffs is truly remarkable, and there were enough rocks on the beach to keep Rebekah hunting for a long time! (Click below for the first of two videos).
Then we made our way out to the peninsular. It’s an interesting location, having been a restricted Department of Defense site until the 1970’s due to its strategic importance guarding the eastern end of the Solent. Large scale guns were first deployed at The Needles in the mid 1800’s, and have been critical to England’s defense ever since.
It’s also the place where the strongest wind speed in the UK has been measured.
Now, thanks to the preservation work of The National Trust, one of the old batteries is an interpretive site – with a tea house, of course – and also an excellent viewing location for the spectacular cliffs as well as the famous Needles.
So Rebekah and I got a good dose of history – check, amazing landscape – check, and also a hot cup of tea and scones – check; and all at the same time. Good stuff.
Here’s the second video short:
We capped another remarkable day by driving the entire perimeter of the Isle of Wight. I have to tell you, there is some amazing scenery along the south coast of the island too, so I guess we have to come back again some time.
It was a good drive in my sporty Audi A-3, along narrow windy roads with jaw-dropping views. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the day with Rebekah.
There was one extra serendipity at the end, when we found the Bembridge Windmill, built in 1700 and now the last remaining example on the island. Too late for the tour, yes, but not too late for a walk around the site and a few photographs.
Enjoy both videos, and then don’t forget to look at these photographs too. Peace and love – DEREK