And the journey is now over, we completed the last section of the walk from Ryde to East Cowes which was a distance of just eight miles.
The breakfast at the Royal Esplanade Hotel was better than I expected, although overall I’d be unlikely to stay at the hotel again. There are though plenty of hotel options in Ryde and it’s one of the cheaper places to stay on the island.
The first side expedition of the day was to Ryde Pier Head, which is the first train line that I’ve seen which runs for the entire length of a pier. There are three separate structures which go down to the end of the pier, the structure carrying the train line, the structure carrying the pedestrians and cars and the abandoned structure which once carried trams.
There’s a small display at the end of the pier about the history of the railway network on the Isle of Wight, now sadly much depleted from its former state. Someone shouted a few things at Richard about his shirt, which caused much hilarity, and then it was back to the hotel to start the walk properly.
The first substantial stop was at Quarr Abbey which is an early twentieth century monastery of some considerable architectural interest. There is also an old abbey, of which we saw the remains, but this was destroyed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries and much of the stone sent to Cowes and Yarmouth to use in their fortifications.
There wasn’t a great deal of coast walking today as most of it was inland. There was a bit more road walking than was ideal, a total contrast to the open spaces on the southern parts of the island. We walked into East Cowes and had a late lunch at the Prince of Wales pub, a former hostelry used by the coachmen of Queen Victoria.
From there it was the excitement of using the chain ferry to get from East Cowes into West Cowes, a strangely enjoyable final section of the coastal journey. From there it was a short walk back into the centre of West Cowes and we had completed the entire coast path.
The evening meal was at the appropriately named Coast Bar, where the pizza was marvellous and the service engaging. With everyone tired from their exertions that is now the end of the trip. Well done to every single person who took part and thanks for their forbearance.