Isle of Wight - Monday 23rd April
When I retired to bed last night I was pondering about the Isle of Wight trip tomorrow, and illogically started thinking in French as if preparing for a a Grande Randonnee trip.
I set off In good time for the 10:05 crossing and had the first time experience of driving through the New Forest. Here ponies and highland cattle seem to wander at will with potential danger on the roads. Arriving early I caught the 9:25 boat.
I felt I would regret it if I didn't try and seeThe Needles. I drove to the car park where they wanted £4, and the privelege of following a dreary looking tourist path to the view. The OS map inficated a good view could be achieved by a ten minute walk on the headland of Headon Warren starting at SZ 329 863, which proved to be very rewarding
By the time I had driven halfway to Ventnor for St Boniface Down (SZ 568 785) I had gained what I am sure will be my most lasting impression of this island - their roads are badly laid with erratically undulating surfaces scattered with serious potholes, and eroded edges with dangerous drop offs. It was like having a prolonged session on a faulty Waltzer at a fairground.
St Boniface is apparently the patron saint of Germany, but what the connection is I do not know. I was able to drive to the trig on a proper road. There is also a plaque commemorating a Dakota air crash in 1962 but I couldn't easily find a reference via Google (may try harder at home).
A cross country drive on jarring, perilous lanes took me to Brightstone Down and couple of miles there and back of pleasant heathland walking with skylarks which I have not heard or seen for some time. Unfortunately the Dartford Warblers boasted about on information boards were not apparent.
The Needles from Headon Warren
St Boniface Down trig. There is also a large mast which was part of radar defences in WW2 which was extensively bombed. It is now bristling with modern tech
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