Discovering The Isle of Wight

On this visit it was like discovering the Isle of Wight for the first time

My memory of my first visit is sketchy. I recall, staying  in a converted Mill and was told that E.P Thompson; Historian and Author (The Making of The Working Classes) had some connection to it. What that connection was I’m not entirely sure.  I did feel as if I was discovering the Isle of Wight for the first time -it felt like a distant land, surrounded by sea.  Imagining living there I thought I might feel a bit cut off. Although the idea of being away from a major city like London and having all that space has its’ attractions.

Awesome Plumes Windswept…sea grass magnificent…can you spot the butterfly at back of pic or the great whale diving into  the sea!!!


Discovering the Isle of Wight public transport

Getting to the Isle of Wight from London is easy, take a train from Waterloo to Portsmouth. Then from Portsmouth, a ferry (Catamaran) to Ryde pier. From Ryde Pier there is an old fashioned London tube train and there is one line only.  At this time of year (off peak) only one train an hour. You can pay on the train. Once on the Island, they have a very good bus service.


Rosehips all over the Island


Good enough to eat, we picked a few en route, and they were delicious

On our first day without much of a plan we walked over 15 miles 

Exploring the Isle of Wight, is fairly easy, as the coastal path is well sign posted, and accessible. We started off at Shanklin walking along the top of the beach  and headed  uphill and down towards Sandown bay. We just kept going and hoped for the best.

Sandown, 2 miles into the walk

You are never far from the Sea on the Isle of Wight.

Bembridge, Discovering The Isle of Wight

White Light at Bembridge

Bembridge Discovering the Isle of Wight

St Helens Discovering the Isle of WightWe had lunch at the Crab and Lobster in Bembridge then carried on over towards St Helens and  Seaview where we walked aside the windswept waves, taking care not to get swept away!

Seaview Discovering the Isle of Wight

The coastal path is very well sign posted, but we had to go inland a lot, it was pleasant enough in the woods mainly. Eventually ending up at Ryde at about 7pm. It was a long day, but worth it. We hadn’t made plans for the following day but wanted to avoid the Goth Party at the Hotel later on.!  After that long walk, I might have fancied a spa, or swim followed by a massage and early night, but there was no chance of that!

Ryde Discovering the Isle of Wight

Birds sweeping in at dusk Ryde

Eating out in Shanklin

On the first evening we ate out at The Black Cat a Thai restaurant. The Guy serving us was from London and it was his families business. He was a journalist and had lived in Brixton. This made for some easy conversation; he made us feel so welcome. We had a similar experience the following evening after our 15 mile walk.  We were pretty tired, and ate out in where again the waiting staff were so friendly and welcoming.

Fantastic Friendly service is something unusual these days

On our third night we ate in an Indian restaurant and then went over the road to a makeshift bar. There the landlady kept us amused telling us of her outsider status; she had worked in healthcare but somehow ended up taking over the business from her daughter. We got a 2 for 1 drink and chatted with her.  We told her the name of the hotel we were staying in , The Nightingale which ‘everyone in the village’ has heard of!. She seemed to think there were orgies going on in there due to it’s Gothic Status.


 The Nightingale

Originally it was a private house (a mansion, of which there are a lot on the island) known as Blenhim in the late 1800.s and named the Nightingale as an ode to Keats the poet.  

The murals outside were mainly of dead Rockstar’s! all of whom I have loved, in my time.

It was a bit of an eyesore to see a mainly black painted hotel with: Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Curt Cobain and Amy Winehouse images painted on it. However, the heated outdoor swimming pool was welcome, and the room was small but nice.The hotel did advertise as having a vegetarian restaurant. I had been looking forward to sampling the food on arrival, but we were told it was closed for the season.

Although we were welcomed and invited to the Gothic party on the Saturday, at £40 a head! (that was just to reserve a seat.)When I booked the hotel, I had asked if there were events on and had been told no. So I wasn’t impressed, but what can you do. Perhaps a complimentary bottle of champagne or Prosecco  might have helped! (I think my goth days lasted about 3 months, sometime around 1981! I just wasn’t in to that.)  

Instead, we stayed out in town sampling the local beers till as late as possible, there was a bit of live music on in town. We returned later for a couple of dances in their private bar later. Who knows what was going on behind closed doors in the early hours. I was past caring at that point

Walking from the Needles to Freshwater Bay
Freshwater Discovering the isle of wight

Looking from the Needles Battery to Alum Bay Isle of Wight, beautiful colours in the cliff side.

The following day we jumped on a coastal route bus

You can jump on and off the coastal bus for a 24 hour ticket for a tenner. I was a bit disappointed with the Needles, we jumped off there and were faced with a tourist trap. So walked a bit further until we came across the Needles.

We visited the National Trust Exhibition at the Needles,

Followed by a walk up to Tennyson Monument and down to Freshwater where we sat at the seafront with an ice cream watching the sea

Freshwater Discovering Todland in the Isle of Wight

Somewhere in Totland! Possibly Freshwater!


 I liked the look of Ventnor and would visit again

We picked the bus back up to Ventnor and considered walking back to Shanklin and decided against it as time was running out; as the days draw in. It was just as well really, as the following day, we walked from Shanklin to Ventnor and 4 miles of the walk was in woods. I wouldn’t want to get stuck in there late at night.

Ventnor seems to me to be an interesting little town. However the train does not go there. As we were heading up and out of the town, back to Shanklin.  I looked back and noted a plaque to `karl marx, turns out he lived there for a period of his life.

Our last walk was from Shanklin to Ventnor


en route to Ventnor Discovering The Isle of Wight

Window to garden with flower “A thing of beauty is a joy forever!’ KEATS.


We really didn’t have a clue about the island, so it was a real treat to find this walk. Mainly in the woods alongside the coast. It felt so refreshing with hardly a soul about. What with a cold coming on and a hangover, we were feeling somewhat fragile at this point.  We arrived at Ventnor and had lunch on the seafront. It was a bit late to get to the Botanical Garden, & we felt like we were done with  walking.  We were travelling back to London the following day.The only thing left to do was have a rest before going out for out our final meal in town.

Ventnor Discovering The Isle of Wight

Seafront at Ventnor


Photo Gallery for more photos go to my photo gallery.

The many benefits of walking

Recently I have walked on average about 30 miles a week

There are many benefits of walking; I walk to work and back daily, which is under 4 mile. On top of that, I  add on a little lunchtime walk. With the occasional meeting to attend, this gives me the chance to get out of the office and walk down the hill and back. My frequent short (4-8 miles) weekend walks, can vary.

There are many benefits of getting out walking with a group;

Meeting up with other people and seeing new places, can be a real boost. Switching off from my own internal dialogue and having the opportunity to chat with a group, can be very relaxing. Sometimes, I do enjoy a bit of solitude and walk to unravel. As well I walk to discover new routes and short cuts. Taking the back road to avoid traffic, and look at architecture, landmarks, statues, and gardens.


The Benefits of walking

The benefits of what I call off the cuff walks are when I don’t know exactly where I’m going but I have a vague plan. These are my favorite walks. Walking in London you never know what you will come across.



Last Sunday was unexpected, as I turned off the Kings Road Chelsea, to walk along the embankment. I came across a bike race, hundreds if not thousands of cyclists, zoomed along the embankment, which was traffic-free, the sound of them all was great. They were wearing various bibs, stating which charity they were raising money for.



The sound of the bikes racing along made a real nice change from cars, lorries, and coaches. Wardens helped pedestrians make a run for it over the road.

I walk therefore I am!

I am currently reading a book called A History of Walking, by Rebecca Solmut. My favorite chapter so far is –The Solitary stroller and the city. Will Self, quotes it as ‘Magisterial’. I love this snippet that says it all, taken from a radio interview with Patti Smith (Rock Poet/Singer)  when asked about what she did to prepare for her performances onstage -she came back with.

I would roam the streets for a few hours”

Rebecca Solmut goes on to say, how this summoned up her own outlaw romanticism and the way walking might toughen and sharpen the senses.  Meanwhile, back in Kent.


Moody and magnificent TEYNHAM CIRCULAR – KENT

Walking along the Swale, Kent.


A mostly flat walk following Saxon Shore Way along the sea wall of The Swale, with views to the Isle of Sheppey. This wild and wonderful 5-mile stretch is rich in birdlife and, in the Oare Marshes Nature Reserve, rare Konik horses have been seen grazing. We walked back to Teynham station via Oare Creek and village and then an inland route through orchards.

Teynham is a large village and civil parish in the borough of Swale, Kent, England.
The parish lies between the towns of Sittingbourne and Faversham, immediately north of the A2 road, and includes the hamlet of Conyer on an inlet of the Swale. The channel separates mainland Kent from the Isle of Sheppey.


Wild, n dry Thistle, Oare, Kent.




We walked about five miles looking out along the SWALE looking out, towards the Isle of Sheppy.  The sky was hazy, but the breeze was much appreciated. After we left the waterside, we headed back inland towards Oare, which is based on the edge of Luddenham marshes.


Walking through the apple orchids, some beautiful looking apples.


My Best walks see some old favourite walks.


Good reads page, see some of my inspirational books.


Until next time; keep on keeping on.


Travelling on Trains

Travelling on trains can be extremely frustrating.

Buying a train ticket in advance has its advantages, but also limitations. ‘Going for a walk,’ just ain’t that easy!  Public Transport at the best of times can be tricky. I was looking forward to, the Hassocks to Lewes 10 mile linear walk in Sussex. If anyone left on the planet thinks that travelling on trains, is fun, they must be under 10 years of age

 Travelling on trains, for pleasure! is a thing of the past. It’s ok, if you get super off peak, tickets and travel mid week. For future reference folks, don’t bother buying advanced tickets, just pay the extra few quid for the super off-peak ticket. My last train journey to Chichester was also complicated, due to the return train being (the only one I was ‘permitted on’) was cancelled.

If you get a  super off-peak, you have a lot more flexibility and can travel on any route.I purchased one advanced train ticket and one super off-peak saver for the return journey. However, due to a back injury, I wasn’t able to make the journey, I got £2.75 back from my £24 purchase. Small mercies indeed! ( I will spare you the complex details )

Bob and Brad, my new online buddies, it’s time to look after my back.

OSTEOPATH BACK STRAIN, and being immobile

 In the last month, I have forgone the jogs, and long walks, due to painting a bedroom, among other distractions.  Additionally, I have started a new job which I hadn’t really taken into consideration as being a stress factor.

The osteopath talked me through my recent activities, then pushed me about a bit, until a couple of bones cracked in my spine. He also did a bit of acupuncture on my back. It did help a bit but I am a great believer in time healing, and not paying excessive amounts of money for advice.! I found these guys online who have inspired me to do back exercises daily.

Tai chi as mediation and exercise?

It has taken 3 weeks to be able to do a very easy yoga routine. A new approach to looking after my health is on the cards. Tai chi is something I may try again.

I learned the art of Tai Chi at the City Lit Adult Education Centre based in Covent Garden around 1985. Around this time I was living in a squat in Brixton. It was a few years after the 1981 riots, at the time my only real ambition was to play bass in a band, and to read books! Tai chi was regarded by some people around me as bizarre!

Then again a lot of what I got into certain people found strange. !

I found a teacher called Beverly from New Zealand. At a guess, she was probably in her 70’s. Her aura was calm personified! Thinking back I recall, she said my aura was pink or I need to be more green or something like that. My interest in this art form came about after having an ectopic pregnancy. I was rushed off to hospital in an emergency and it scared me. I needed to heal it helped and it worked.




This is the first proper long walk I have been on since I led the Seven Sisters walk at the beginning of June.

It is a flat, moderate-paced walk around Chichester Harbour with views of the estuary, passing through open countryside, a marina and with a ferry crossing (£2.50) at Ichenor before heading back to Bosham.


Got ya

Walking with a group, you do not always get a chance to take photographs, usually, most groups walk at a fair pace. The photos look somewhat hazy but I still think they are great. If I had more time it would have been better to have made a video. Next time.!

A large and conspicuous waterbird.

The cormorant has an almost primitive appearance with its long neck making it appear reptilian. It is often seen standing with its wings held out to dry. Regarded by some as black, sinister and greedy, cormorants are supreme fishers which can bring them into conflict with anglers and they have been persecuted in the past. They love to fish! 

Read more

All said and done it was a good walk. Getting back, however, was an ordeal. I won’t bore you with the details, but it took three hours, and several train journeys.

Highlights of the day
The highlights were; the short ferry crossing, seeing the wild birds and duck island. Also, there were lots of pubs and oh a delicious vegan caramel ice cream in a cone at Bosham! (pronounced Bosam apparently!)



A feast of walking & strange weather!

What a feast of walking & weird weather was June.

During the course of the walk from Eastbourne to Seaford, I endured: hail, sunshine, wind, (against me) rain, some more sun then back to hail. Like a full wash, I was put through the whole cycle. Although I describe June as a feast of walking ;the weather wasn’t quite what I expected.  I managed a 12 mile walk from Seaford to Eastbourne enduring some extreme weather; some time galivanting in Newcastle Upon Tyne, a 10 mile walk in the city of Edinburgh and attend a map reading course in London. 

I needed to feel fit to lead a group walk along the Seven Sisters

After all my cliff walking and jogs around the park, I felt more than prepared to lead the Seven Sisters Walk in June, but nothing could have prepared me for the unexpected wild weather.

Darkness looms over the Seven Sisters.


I had been jogging around the park, since December 2018 there are a couple of small hills in Brockwell Park, so running up and down has kept my ankles strong, as well as my legs. They can handle hills and cliffs.

I am aware that not keeping fit, will mean each time I do a strenuous walk, such as The Seven Sisters, or Eastbourne to Seaford, I really feel the pain. If I do enough exercise on a regular basis, I can almost take it in my stride. 


Majestic sun and sky, ending the day at Seaford  before heading back to London


Another year leading the walk for The South Bank Walking Group

 I thought this would be a doddle!  I checked the weather report which said high winds but I didn’t give it too much thought. 

Walking into a Storm called Miguel, just along the Seafront at Seaford.


As the train was pulling in at Seaford, I saw the sea was looking wild. There were 13 people waiting outside the train station for me. One of them was keen to advise me, that the wind was blowing in a southwesterly direction. She further warned me, if we walked over the Seven Sisters from East Dean we would have the wind against us. There were predictions of gusts up to 50 miles an hour. They weren’t wrong. I took heed and suggested we walk from Seaford to East Dean instead but this was also problematic.


Walking up to the Seaford reserve with the wind blowing us sideways

 Many of the group were forced to sit down. I made an executive decision to go inland away from the cliffs. With the help of some very experienced ordnance survey map readers, we headed in and through Friston Forest to walk towards East Dean.

The sunshine came out and everything calmed down. No more howling winds, only a bit of a rustle through the trees. The walk turned out well. We were in a lovely part of the South Coast and we started to enjoy the rest of the walk.

At Cuckmere Haven, the other side of The Seven Sisters there is a fabulous cafe and a tourist centre, with toilets, and places to sit. I found a little spot where I could eat my packed lunch and feel the sun on my face.

Afterwards, I spent some time browsing in the tourist centre and was very tempted to buy a collection of their handmade cards, alongside other interesting items. I didn’t really want to carry them around in a rucksack and get them squashed, so I resisted purchasing anything. Another time.

Now that I have experienced the other side of the Seven Sisters, I shall explore a little more and find some new walks.

Escaping from the cliff edges, going in Land to The Sussex Downs



Two Blondes Walking have a website, like me, they write about walking. They also run courses in map reading, among other things, The major point I learnt that day, was that Stanfords’ the Map Shop has moved from Long Acre, Covent Garden, and has now relocated to Mercer St WC2. I hadn’t checked this out before leaving. It was upsetting to arrive, faced with a scribbled note on a closed boarded up door saying it has closed down.

Still, the show must go on. I found Stanford’s‘ new venue and met one of the two blondes. As well we had help from The Ordnance Survey Group, they were really helpful. Using a compass and a map, we practiced how to find our way back if we got lost in Dartmoor surrounded by fog!  I understand the concept, but my map reading skills are far from expert, and it is unlikely I will have much opportunity to test out in Dartmoor anytime soon.

Live Theatre- The Cheviot The Stag and The Black Black Oil

Live theatre tucked in a side street off the Quayside; is a small independent theatre. This was my second visit and I hope not my last.  I hooked up with an old friend to see this Scottish theatre group. The play was about the Scottish Clearances, as well as each actor playing multiple roles, they were also multi-talented musicians, and the Fantastic Live Music made this a great fun production.


The Magnificent Bridges overlooking the River Tyne at night.

Out in the ‘toon’ at night!

I decided to go on a day trip to Edinburgh from Newcastle

After an early start waking at 4.45am!  My energy levels were a bit low. However, I still managed to walk 10 miles that day.

I had no real destination as such but I was looking for a vegan cafe called Holy Cow, which was situated off Queen Street in a basement.  Eventually, I found it and got the chance to sit down somewhere relaxing. As I arrived from Waverly Station, there were numerous tourist places where I had picked up a map up of the town centre and wanted to get my bearings. I realised I wasn’t too far from the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and popped in for a tour. See link below.


Until next time keep on keeping on.


Hiking along the Jurassic Coast

A weekend hiking along the Jurassic Coast

Hiking along the Jurassic Coast is something I have been looking forward to since December last year. Funny how time flies and all of a sudden here it comes.

I had heard a lot about how stunning the Jurassic Coast is.  I was told, it isn’t as steep as The Seven Sisters.  They were wrong, it was every bit as challenging if not more so. 

The Jurassic coast is a world heritage site; stretching over  96 miles long, from Exmouth in East Devon to Studland Bay, Dorset.  


I had deliberately not read too much about the camping arrangements. It might have put me off!

 Both nights were freezing. The second night I couldn’t get to sleep, I heard; owls, cuckoos, giggles and snoring. I tried reading with a torch, but it was too cold to keep my face and hands out of the sleeping bag. I slept with all my clothes on.! There were glamping options; If you felt the need to upgrade.

One of the group from Discover Adventure did give up a night of camping for glamping and reported back that it was lovely and warm. I reminded myself that it could be worse I had managed to raise £550.00 for War Child already, so all I had to do was relax, this was only for 2 nights. I wasn’t a refugee and I did not have to live like this. 

We were only going to walk 26 miles or so over two days.

It wasn’t as tough as I thought and I gathered, the jogging around Brockwell Park had made me stronger.  As well I had hiked from Eastbourne to Seaford the week before under the duress of hail and wind! 

There were a lot of places and names new to me, such as Lulworth Cove and Durdle door that we visited over two days. We visited Kimmeridge Bay and Tyneham Village, a deserted village, partly left standing and never restored.

I find it difficult to recall all the names and the exact order of the walk, there was so much to take in. Focusing on putting one foot in front of the other and plenty steep climbs kept me focused on doing the walk.! I need to visit places a few time to really get to know it.

Wild Garlic in abundance at this time of year.

WILD GARLIC was out in abundance here it is, making a home in a derelict house. It smelt divine.

Discover Adventure

DA as they were known to the travellers, took care of all our needs; from putting up the tents to bringing us food and snacks. 

It’s somewhat a bit of a strange setup, but I had signed up for it now and there was no going back. Only three of us were fundraising, and I was the only one who had raised funds for War Child. Going uphill, one step at a time, take it easy, steady and slowly gets you there in the end.

BLUE HAZE.. people from the group taking a break on a hilltop


Fundraising for War Child.

Some of that fund went tot he organisers, who did all the work; from picking us to up, to cooking dinners, providing tents, and dropping us off at the Coast. I couldn’t have done without them.

Everyone was extra friendly, and it was just like going out walking with any walking group. I forgot to take my War Child Teeshirt, for the publicity shot. I’m obviously not a publicist! The main thing to me is that I raised the funds.

The walk ended at Duddle Door, which was stunning but full of tourists.



More information on walking the entire South West Coast Path including the Jurassic Coast can be found in this link. 

My next walk is  (Yes again!!) East Dean to Seaford, I’m leading this for the South Bank Ramblers on June 8th. Please see Up and coming walks page for details.