England Vacation 2009 -- August 17

The hike today was called The Northeast Coast & Bembridge Trail. It was a medium walk and covered 15 km (9.25 miles) and 115m (375 ft) of ascent. We started at Ryde Pier (SZ593928) and walked along the coast to Bembridge and then inland to Brading.

The bus dropped us at the Ryde Pier and we walked out past where two hovercrafts were parked. We stood at the edge of the pier admiring them. The military became interested in developing viable hovercraft after D-Day because they needed a better way to land troops on beaches. According to the leaders notes, one of the first commerically operated hovercraft ran from Portsmouth to Ryde starting in August 1962. It takes 10 minutes for the hovercraft journey. The catamaran journey is 18 minutes. If you are coming by car, its 40 minutes on the car ferry then 10 minutes drive back to Ryde. While we were standing there a hovercraft arrived from Portsmouth. We got a little damp from the spray.

Up the beach a little ways was a coastal Folly called Appley Tower. It was built in 1875 by Sir William Hutt. He called it The Watch Tower. Across from the tower is a brass relief of HMS Sirius. According to the plaque, the Sirius was part of the first fleet which sailed for Australia in May 1787 arriving in January 1788. The Sirius also sailed to Cape Town to get supplies for the new colony in South Wales, saving them from starvation. In 1790, the Sirius sailed to Norfolk Island where she sank. The relief was commissioned by Mosman Council in Australia to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the settlement. There are similar plaques in Mosman and in Norfolk

We walked along beaches; walking along hard wet sands was easiest the choices were rock, dry sand and wet sand. The rock had a lot of sea shells in it. We had our morning break on the beach. The two camera's were sitting between us. We thought perhaps they were plotting what photos they should take.

We wandered up through some woods to skirt areas of beach we couldn't cross for various reasons. Part of the path had recently had work done on the stairs and railings. The Pathways fund (that HF Holidays raises money for) supplied some of the funding for that work. At lunch, we stopped at the Tower that is all that this left of St. Helen's church. The tower dates from 1220. The church was closed in 1703. The church is gone -- sailors took the stones as Holy Stones for scrubbing the decks!After eating, Karen wandered up to the cafe and got drinks for both of us. The cafe was on the route we were to follow.

We had to circle to a crossing point over the Duver and crossed a tidemill causeway to do that. The tide was out and there was all sorts of green algae and moss to see. We turned inland and went to the Bembridge windmill. It was the only windmill on the island but no longer works. We had a short stop there. The windmill was built about 1700 and used until the 1890s. There's a Turner painting featuring the windmill. From the windmill, we continued across fields to the Bembridge airfield which we had to cross. You just never know where these walks will take you. There were caution caution signs to walkers to look both ways for planes. We crossed runway 23 but they were using the other runway so no dodging planes for us.

We then wandered through woods and across fields to get to Brading. We had a detour because part of the path was closed for maintenance. There was enough time in Brading for a quick break - we had afternoon tea but with diet coke. We both wanted a cold drink. The scones were good but they don't get full marks - they weren't hot and it would have been better with more clotted cream and jam. Helen thinks there was enough clotted cream (she might not be feeling very good) but not enough jam.

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