The annual Vale of Glamorgan Ramblers Spring weekend away this year was slightly different to any of the others that have been done. This trip had been arranged in conjunction with Cresta Coaches, who did a great job of organising it all with Ian Frazer and Margaret Scott of the Vale of Glamorgan Ramblers.
We made our way down to Portsmouth where we caught the ferry over to the Isle of Wight. Lucky for us, we managed to get on an earlier ferry which gave us time to visit the village of Arreton, a traditional working craft village on the island. After a tasty ice cream or a refreshing pint for most of us, we then made our way to Shanklin which was to be our base for the three days.
Saturday dawned bright and early, and twenty five eager walkers were looking forward to either a 12 mile or a 6 mile walk. The walks chosen were part of the Isle of Wight Walking Festival, so all we had to do was after booking with the leader was turn up and be led.
Saturday 12th May – The Tennyson Trail
On arriving at Carrisbrooke Castle, it soon became apparent that the leader was not turning up at the designated start time of 11am. After a phone call to see what was happening, we were told that the walk had actually started at 10.00am.
So after the instructions on how to get on the Tennyson Way and start the walk, the leader had doubled back to meet us, not sure how he actually managed to miss 25 walkers not turning up. He did redeem himself at the halfway point, where he had made arrangements for us to be met by his aunt, who had baked flapjacks and rock cakes, and we were also able to fill up our water bottles. These were very welcomed at this point, as the weather was on our side and the views were fantastic.
At this point, some of the group made their way back to the local village and were being transported to the end of the longer walk to meet up with the hardy souls who walked on.
The views that were had in the afternoon were magnificent, clear views across the water towards Southampton, and as we made our way to Freshwater Bay, the start of the famous Needles were apparent.
Sunday saw the group making their way to Ventnor for the start of this 8 mile walk. This was also an interesting walk, taking in some of the coastline, and then going through the Botanical Gardens in Ventnor. After stopping for a break overlooking the Channel, we then made our way inland to the village of Whitwell, which in the Middle Ages was a very important village for the Pilgrims.
On our way back to Ventnor, we came across the footpath known as the “Cripple Path”. As we walked down and up the path, our thoughts were with the people who made this journey from the bottom of the cliff to the top looking to be cured of their ails. These days, there are handrails to help us up the steep steps, the journey they must have endured must have been horrendous, lets hope that they found the cure that they were looking for.
Our weekend seemed to come to an end quite quickly, and reluctantly, we made our way back to the ferry on Monday morning.
This weekend had been a great success, looking forward to the next one that’s been arranged in the Autumn.
Author: Gwenda Fitzpatrick