Isle of Wight Trip – Day 3 (Totland to Chale)

Bev has commented in a positive manner that this blog has become far too tame. There is perhaps some truth in that and I shall bear her very important feedback in mind. I won’t go so far as to publish the photo of Gordon doing things to a teddy bear that was being circulated this morning. All I’ll say is that I’m entirely shocked and disappointed in him, and I hope that Gordon will be paying for the stuffing to be put back into the teddy bear.

The day started, for me (and since I’m writing this, that’s the most important thing to mention) and three others. The pub, which I think was haunted, served breakfast and there was a selection of food laid out including a single mouldy strawberry and a banana that had seen better days. The rest of the cooked breakfast was though entirely satisfactory and we were given more than enough food. The staff engaged in a positive manner, so it felt a comfortable environment, and I left happy with the stay. With that, it was time to wave goodbye to the Highdown Inn, where the welcome had always been friendly and I probably should have found time to have a pint.

Then, just as we were leaving, the others arrived. I could hear Bev coming down the road and shortly after we heard her, we could hear Gordon complaining about how far he’d already walked. He had walked around 600 yards, and it was clear that he had thought about getting a taxi. Gordon decided to put some blister plasters on his manky feet and Ross had already spent some time bursting his blisters and bandaging them up. This walking is a dangerous affair…. My feet are in perfect condition, but that’s what you get from having a decent diet.

We started our walk, which went up the hill, and then I heard a female voice complain that Liam and myself weren’t waiting for the group. I called back who had said that and Gordon said it was him, so we just carried on up the hill. A hill at the start of a walk really isn’t what I want to be doing, but it didn’t last too long and before we knew it the coastal path was beckoning.

Bev tried to take a group photo, but it was all too faffy for me, so I rushed off to begin the walk. And I rushed off for some hours, ensuring that everyone maintained a fast and furious pace. It’s good to get the blood flowing through the body.

Susanna shocked a poor cow by walking past it closely, and then the rest of the group also meandered around this little collection of cows. Liam and I wondered why they walked by the cows and how they hadn’t noticed the big path through the field that went nowhere near the cows. But, we didn’t want to upset them by interfering with their choice, so we didn’t say anything.

A few of the group then decided to use the bushes as a toilet, but the competent ones of us knew that there were public toilets 50 metres up the track, so the sensible ones of the group used those ones. We soon rejoined the coastal path and I was disgusted to see that there was an adder just slithering about with absolutely no supervision. I took numerous photos before I remembered that I’m meant to be really scared of snakes. I’m just naturally brave and I forget these things…..

Gordon then won man of the day by buying some ice creams for his favourite members of the group. He made it clear that anyone he bought an ice cream for he liked, so I felt very pleased to get an ice cream and a flake. The ice cream was very lovely, and, just for the record, so was the flake.

The views along the coast were excellent and we were fortunate with the weather once again. It was surprising just how much of the coast has fallen away recently, with numerous path diversions and some extensive reworkings of where the paths now go.

Ross was being very brave with his hurty feet, and indeed everyone was doing well. Clive hadn’t had any incidents today and Gordon’s toes were in good working order. So, that meant before we knew it we had arrived at the Pearl Cafe in Brighstone. Gordon and Bev tittered about making immature jokes about the name of the cafe, but I decided to just let them get on with it. It’s like taking out a school party sometimes….

After we had walked around the shop six times looking for the cafe, we found the cafe, and then had a snack in it. Gordon purchased the cream cheese and salmon sandwich, or something similar, whilst I ate my two packs of Space Raiders I had purchased from the shop the night before.

Gordon then decided to shock the entire group by lying on the bench and exposing part of his body. I considered reporting it to the police, but apparently the bits he showed weren’t a crime to show. Bev had a good look and gave her critical judgement on what she saw, which she wasn’t entirely displeased with. Susanna really missed out there.

The walk in the afternoon to the hotel went quickly and everyone enjoyed the calm and competent way that the leadership team were dealing with the organisation. I also was very pleased with just how well the leadership team were doing, very impressed indeed.

Everyone was staying at the same location, with the exception of Clive. Clive instead was staying at an airbnb down the road, a rather thrifty option. The door was answered by a man with no shirt on, which I can’t imagine thrilled Clive.

Our hotel, the Wight Mouse, offered a friendly welcome and the room was clean and tidy. There are lots of drying facilities which is marvellous and there’s a decent view of an historical school building over the room. The interior has character and it seemed perfectly acceptable.

I’m having a total failure with dark beer or craft beer in the Isle of Wight, it’s been the longest run of disappointments that I can recall in any UK county, US state or northern European country. But, I had a feeling that tonight would be different, as the pub mentioned it has a range of different real ales, so I was confident they’d have something.

Did they hell…..

The barman made a recommendation which really wasn’t anything like what I asked about and it was clear the pub had neither dark beers nor craft beer. I must admit to being bemused by this, but I’ll just have to keep hunting. It’s certainly saving me money though, as for the second night in a row I just gave up with the pub’s beer selection and just had water.

Anyway, that complaint aside, the food was served promptly and the staff in the pub were friendly. The food was average, but it was reasonably priced and served as a large portion. The curry I had lacked any real depth of flavour to the sauce and could have been hotter both in temperature and spice level, but it was entirely adequate as a meal. Katherine’s parents came along to the meal and I do hope that our most raucous members didn’t upset them, namely Bev and Gordon. Although Ross can get a bit loud at times, but he was very professional tonight.

That’s enough of the negatives. Liam, Bev and I went back to walk a small part of the coastal path we’d missed to ensure Clive got to his accommodation, and then returned to the hotel. There was some live music on which reverberated around the rooms upstairs, and initially I thought it was surprising the pub thought the live music was a good idea given this, but it seems others have complained about it and the owners don’t much care. It’s nearly 11pm and the music is still rebounding around the hotel bedrooms, or at least the one I’m in. I shall tell them in the morning that I’m not entirely impressed, but I doubt it will matter.

So, that’s it for another day. I’m not sure that I’ve met Bev’s suggestion of being edgier, but it’s at least a permanent reminder for everyone of their marvellous achievements. And best of all, tomorrow is the big day, it’s the day that Richard P. May, one of the most senior Ramblers in the country, comes to join us for two days of walking.