Monday, 22 October 2012

12 - St Boniface Down, Isle of Wight - 22nd October 2012

On the ferry to the island
My 11th high point is St Boniface Down, on the southern part of the Isle of Wight it is just 18 miles from my house and one of the more local high points but it proved to be a bit more difficult to get to. Joining me today was Nat, then Andie once we reached the Island.

To get to the island we chose to take the Passenger ferry from Portsmouth to Ryde and set off ready to catch the 10:40 sailing, arriving nice and early we walked down to the ferry only to find out that the 10:40 ferry had been cancelled, now ferry cancellations are a common occurrence and we had check the website to see if there were any cancellations but they had failed to advertise this change so we had 45 mins to wait to catch the next ferry.

After a walk to the Co-op and a bit of a wait near HMS Warrior we made our way back to the ferry to get our tickets, £34 later (yes £34 for 2 adults to travel a total of 10 miles) we had our tickets and boarded the ferry for our 15 minute trip to Ryde. The weather crossing the Solent was pretty foggy, there was nothing to look at during our trip and when we arrived at Ryde Pier Head we couldn't actually see land, just the pier stretching out into the fog ahead of us.

We found Andie waiting for us at the entrance of the pier and we piled into here little car for the 25 minute drive across the island, we drove from Ryde, thro Brading, Sandown, Shankling and then on towards Ventnor. Our original plan was to park just outside Ventnor but the car park was closed due to roadworks so we carried on down into the town and parked in the town car park instead.

The fog, look out for zombie pirates
Leaving the car park we walked along the road and up some very steep steps to another road, then along to the start of St Boniface Down, when we passed through the gate onto the downs we were presented with a decision, either left or right, Nat was heading left but looking at the map this path just led back down towards the town, where turning right meant going up the hill, so we went right and up the hill, first following a wall then climbing steeply, and then even more steeply, it was near impossible to climb but we managed and came out onto some open land.

We followed the contours of the hill for a while and saw a sleeping fox not far away, he woke up and ran away but was nice to see, after this we worked our way up the steep hill and through the ferns eventually coming out at the top path, this path ran alongside a fenced off area, the location of several radio masts and the location of the highest point on the island, we walked along this path a while and took some photos, we didn't stop for too long as the view was non existent, the fog was so thick we couldn't more than a few tens of meters.

Rob, Nat and Andie on St Boniface Down

Shortly we started to make our way back down the hill, this time following the path towards the west end of Ventnor, we were hoping to see some of the feral goats which the area is known for but sadly they were hiding today. We soon went through a gate and were back in civilisation where it was a short walk back to the car park.

Once we reached the car park we had all decided we were hungry so continued down through the town and onto the seafront where we walked along the promenade to the Spy Glass Inn where we all had a fantastic Lunch, I had a Cheddar and Stilton ploughmans, Nat had scampi with chips and Andie had a cheese and coleslaw jacket potato, It was all very yummy and highly recommended.

Once lunch was finished we headed back to the car and then Andie very kindly drove us back to Ryde Pier where we managed to catch the ferry through the thick fog back to Portsmouth.

It was an excellent day with excellent company and I hope to do it again sometime soon when its not so foggy. Thanks to Nat and Andie for joining me on the adventure today.

No comments:

Post a Comment