Isle of Wight Trip – Day 5 (Sandown to Ryde)

Day four of walking was our most exciting as we knew that Richard May, our county’s most senior Rambler, was walking with us. Richard was arriving by train from Ryde whilst the rest of us were located within Sandown in a collection of hotels near to each other.

Breakfast for Susan, Clive, Liam and myself was in a bigger breakfast room than we had anticipated, and all ran to plan. There was a particularly wide selection of teas available, not that that’s much relevance to anyone. Although for anyone who does like lots of tea for breakfast, then Chad Hill is recommended.

The excitement of the walk started with a walk through Sandown along the front, where we were fortunately able to replace from shops all the items which Ross had lost in his hotel room. Katherine’s lovely parents collected some bags up ready for onward service and the first hill of the day came into the horizon soon after. It was actually the only real hill of the day, which was unfortunate as we wanted to see just how fit and healthy Richard was.

On another note, we walked past the Isle of Wight Zoo, and under normal circumstances I’d have rather liked to have gone in there. It wasn’t really the best option for our walk though, but that reminded me that I think I’d like to come back to the Isle of Wight in the near future to see a few more of the attractions.

Before we arrived into Bembridge we came across Sandhills Holiday Park which had some giant deckchairs. Liam looked even smaller than normal, and Richard looked rather graceful and elegant in his. The rain also started at this point, but fortunately it didn’t last for too long. The Isle of Wight seems to have its own micro-climate going on, even when part of the island has a tornado other parts can be sunny.

Our lunch stop was the Crab & Lobster pub where the real ale selection wasn’t dreadful, so I also had some lovely Mini Cheddars to go with my drink. This pub holds some special memories for Susanna, but it wouldn’t be for me to post about exactly what they are. Some things are best not written down.

Richard ordered a delightful cheese and pickle baguette, but was bemused to find that the majority of his snack consisted of pickle. Everyone laughed (well nearly everyone) and much amusement was caused by this. On a side note, and I’ll post about it separately later on, it was a decent pub and it had a long and interesting history.

Then disaster struck. In a bid to get Ross a long sit-down we decided to stop at a seafront cafe, near to the remains of St. Helen’s Church. The church nave has entirely disappeared, although the tower remains, and there was an interesting board which noted that sailors used the holy stones to scrub down the decks of their ships. That wasn’t the disaster though, I got distracted writing about churches…

Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond my control, Ross and Bev didn’t make it to that stop as they marched off down the route to look at a horse. Ross did get his stop though after we located them thirty minutes later and he seemed delighted at his Crunchie Bar. The cafe was Baywatch on the Beach and it would have been disappointing not to experience such an interestingly named location.

I haven’t mentioned Gordon much yet in today’s post, but he was majestic as ever and was brightly dressed in the most yellow waterproof trousers that I’ve ever seen. He looked like a very grand fisherman, so very elegant and brave. He remains on course for winning the person of the week for his sense of humour, presence and intellect.

Everyone was very brave as we’re reaching the end of the walk now and some people are fraying in a few places. Fortunately my health is superb, that’s what happens with my healthy Greggs and dark beer diet. I have had some sort of allergic reaction in my eye, but I’ve hardly mentioned that and it’s nearly entirely cleared up. Ross has some hurty ankles and battled on very bravely indeed, and Clive and Richard also excelled themselves against the odds. Absolutely everyone has been marvellous this week in their walking and keeping up.

We arrived into Ryde and checked into the Royal Esplanade Hotel, and after I had a minor argument with the receptionist we were ready to check in. The hotel is located by the seafront and is a grand affair which seems to have had some money spent on it. It’s one of those places which seems well managed but has a few irritating glitches, but more on that another time.

Then something lovely happened, we went to Wetherspoons in Ryde and they had a decent beer (they actually had a few decent beers in fairness). This is the first really interesting beer that I’ve managed to get on the Isle of Wight, and given all the independent pubs I’ve visited, it’s partly disappointing that it’s Wetherspoons that has offered the best choice. The beer was a black IPA, with a decent depth of taste without being over-powering. Anyway, more on the Wetherspoons visit another time, but they didn’t disappoint me.

The evening meal was at the Monsoon Indian restaurant and although they had some habits which were irritating, yet again more on which another time, the food and drink was excellent. We were surprised and delighted that Gordon was able to do his impressions of Bev once again, his swimming and drinking impression combination is a delight to behold.

Bev disappeared under the table at one point and discovered some pants of some description, but the least written about that the better. Goodness knows how she does it, it’s quite magical. I will say that Gordon looked particularly pleased and delighted when he discovered where Bev appeared from though. A holiday without Bev just isn’t the same……

I was tempted to return to JD Wetherspoon after the meal, but I don’t think there were enough takers after our long walk, and it was likely a visit most of us would have regretted in the morning. But I remain delighted at finding a beer in there which showed some thought and application from the pub.

All in all it was a rather lovely day, and there are only around eight miles left tomorrow before the entire walk is finished. We’ve been fortunate with the rain so far, so perhaps we’ll remain fortunate enough to finish the walk without getting wet.

The main event will take place tonight, it’s the post mortem meal (not literally) where the route and leadership is discussed. I can’t wait to hear what Bev has to say about the walk leadership team…..

And, I can announce now, that the awards will be the following (there might be a few more added):

WALK LEADER OF THE WEEK

BRAVEST MALE OF THE WEEK OTHER THAN JULIAN

BRAVEST FEMALE OF THE WEEK

BRAVEST PERSON OF THE WEEK OTHER THAN JULIAN

BEST COMMENT OF THE WEEK

MOST RAUCOUS PERSON OF THE WALK

BEST IMPRESSION OF THE WEEK

BEST LOCAL KNOWLEDGE OF THE ISLE OF WIGHT

MOST EXPENSIVE FERRY CROSSING OF THE WEEK

PERSON WHO HAS LEFT THE MOST STUFF IN HOTEL ROOMS

BEST TROUSERS OF THE WEEK

BEST SUPPORT TEAM OF THE WEEK