It is a positive feature of CLOG away breaks that there are generally a number of parallel activities. This accords with the tried and tested CLOG philosophy of "multi-activity away breaks". So, on our away break in Totland Bay, apart from a number of walks, our agenda also included cycling and swimming. There were also some "tourist" activities to provide that cultural dimension. Indeed, two of the walks also had a "tourist" element built in. Whatever we chose to do, the weather was always on our side.
Here are some of our party at the iconic "Needles" on our walk on our first full day (Saturday) along the coast from Totland to the "Needles" headland and on to Yarmouth.
There were twenty-nine in our away break party and there was plenty of variety on offer. Indeed, it is likely that there were yet more parallel activities, but you see here the activities of which I am immediately aware. They give a flavour of what we did. The links to more detailed descriptions are for the activities in which I was directly involved.
As you can see here, there were a number of walks, based mainly in the west and the south of the Isle of Wight (IOW). The island landscape is based on chalk and is reminiscent of the South Downs on the mainland. The maximum height on "Wight" is 241 metres but there are some demanding ascents. This is all good practice for those who espouse the "Great Outdoors"!
- Totland - Needles Circular (May 4) On our arrival two of us, Tom and I, after visiting Tennyson's local - the Highdown Inn - ascended to Tennyson's Monument and then headed west along the Tennyson Trail to the Needles, returning on a lower path to the Highdown Inn and back to our hostel. (Tennyson lived at the nearby Farringford House; this has been recently converted back from a hotel to a visitor attraction; it could be on the agenda for a future visit.)
- Totland - Needles - Yarmouth Circular (May 5) This was on Saturday, our first full day. From the hostel, we ascended the downs to Tennyson's Monument and then headed west to the Needles. After visiting the Needles Old Battery (NT), we went to Alum Bay, Headon Warren and Totland Bay. After that we went to Colwell Bay, Fort Victoria and Yarmouth, returning to Freshwater Church on the Freshwater Way. Eventually we returned to our hostel passing "The Vine" which we would visit later for our evening meal. This walk was nominally led by Eric.
- Freshwater Bay - Hulverstone (May 5) This walk started from the Freshwater Bay and took the lower Coast Path. The destination was the Sun Inn at Hulverstone and start and return were by the bus. The walk was nominally led by Jim.
- Hulverstone - Limerstone Down - Brighstone (May 5)
This walk, in the south of the island, was led by Helen. Taking the bus out and the bus back meant that an immediate start could be made in the area of interest. Limerstone Down is an all-round viewpoint on the Worsley Trail.
- Totland - Freshwater Bay - Mottistone
On our second full day, some of us ascended the downs to Tennyson's Monument and then headed east to Freshwater Bay on the Tennyson Trail. We continued above Compton Down to Mottistone, where the old Manor House and its National Trust Gardens greeted us. We combined exercise with a modicum of sightseeing. This walk was also nominally led by Eric.
- Totland - Freshwater Bay - Freshwater Circular (May 6) This walk went from the hostel to the Tennyson Monument, then headed towards Freshwater Bay. The Freshwater Way was followed as far as Freshwater Church and the Red lion pub, before turning towards the hostel.
- Carisbrooke Castle to Totland (May 6) This 13-mile walk was led by Tom. It followed the Tennyson Trail from Carisbrooke Castle near Newport as far as the Tennyson Monument on the Downs, before returning to the hostel.
- Shanklin Circular via St Boniface and Bonchurch Downs
I reached Shanklin via Ryde and the "Island Line". The chalk Downs - Luccombe, St Boniface and Bonchurch - were on my walking agenda. St Boniface Down rises to 241 metres (791 ft), the highest point on the IOW. I returned from Shanklin, cross-country by bus, passing through the picturesque towns of Ventnor and Godshill.
With the Isle of Wight (IOW) being about 23 miles east to west and 13¼ miles north to south, cycling is a good option for exploring the island. Added to this there are a number of disused railway lines (track beds) which have been converted to "cycle-ways". Some of us, especially Melissa, were in their cycling element on both Sunday and Monday!
- Totland - Mottistone and Beyond (May 6)
Cycling was a good way of exploring the south of the IOW, an attractive area with little public transport.
- Totland - Freshwater Bay - Yarmouth Circular (May 7)
A substantial part of this route made use of the old railway track bed between Yarmouth and Freshwater.
The Isle of Wight, as mentioned, is only 23 miles by 13¼ miles, so we were never far from the sea. Added to this there are nice sandy beaches. So, some us of thought, "Why not take a dip in the Solent?".
- Colwell Bay (May 6)
Rob and Tom could not resist the temptation of a good swim, especially in the warm weather. Colwell Bay is close to the hostel and so provided an ideal opportunity to "feel the waters".
The Isle of Wight may - as already mentioned - only be about 23 miles east to west and 13¼ miles north to south, but there is a lot to see as well within these distances. The island has an interesting past which we found well worth investigating.
- Osborne House (May 6, 7, 8)
This was a residence specially built for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and their family. Osborne House exudes British and European history at every pore and we marvelled at the state apartments and the works of art they contained. We visited on three separate days, to fit in with our individual plans, and found our respective visits interesting, educative and enlightening. Jim led the CLOG party on Sunday, 6th May. Some went on Monday before returning to London.
- Isle of Wight Steam Railway (May 7).
(May 7 was chosen to take advantage of the railway timetable.)
The IOW once had about 55 miles of railway. The 5-mile steam-operated heritage line from Wootton to Smallbrook Junction and the 8½ mile electric line from Ryde Pier to Shanklin are all that remains. However, the heritage line, with its well-maintained steam locomotives and Victorian carriages transported me to another, bygone, world when rail travel was king. It was for me a great experience!
So, as you can see, there was plenty to do! We had excellent weather and there was never a dull moment. We all had a good time! That's how we like CLOG away breaks!