6. Blackgang Chine to Brighstone – The IOW Pearl Shop
The travel logistics are worth recording today: the 08:33 train from Petersfield, the 09:15 ferry, the 09:49 train from Ryde Pier Head to Shanklin and the 10:34 Coastal Breezer bus (only one a day in each direction) to Blackgang. We then had to make sure that we were at the IOW Pearl by 16:55 for the return bus journey to Shanklin station, the 18:18 train, 18:47 ferry, 19:15 train arriving back in Petersfield at 19:47, and all for an 8 miles walk which we were able to start at 11:30.
To go or not to go today was another discussion as it was going to be quite hot, but as the forecast was for the sun to disappear behind clouds in the afternoon, we went….but it didn’t! A slight breeze was very welcome.
Today was all about the missing link which unexpectedly turned into the sting
In the tail, with an even further twist to round off the day! The missing link
was the section of the path that we had not been able to complete when we were staying at Freshwater.
Blackgang Chine which is the oldest amusement park in the United Kingdom, having opened in the 1840s, seemed rather sad and empty and we were soon up the hill and onto the coastal path.
Almost immediately we saw what we thought
was the IOW Pearl, in which case the walk
would have been some 3 miles shorter!
For much of today we had the path to ourselves, meeting barely a handful of other walkers. Having said we couldn’t get lost today we promptly did an unnecessary additional half mile as the coastal path wasn’t marked.
Shepherds Chine was particularly taxing to get round, and it cannot be too long before more of this is lost to the sea. We were intrigued to find an unattended mobility scooter parked on the cliff edge – had someone taken Granny there and pushed her over?
The Pearl shop was now in our sights, and although hot, the walking was fairly easy, and we thought it was a gentle slope to our destination. Until (cue the dramatic music) we were faced with a quite horrible descent mainly down steps that had been cut into the path, steps which were not for ladies with short legs. This was not so much a sting in the tail, more like a red hot poker! There was no get out clause here, down we had to go, no wonder we had met so few other walkers today. From here we opted to go up to the road as neither of us could face any more tricky terrain, from where it was a final half mile (the Pearl seemed to be retreating all the time), and probably the most dangerous, on a straight road with all the racers out, ignoring the speed limit.
We sat in the Pearl café and recovered. The glow of achievement was not only from our efforts but from our red faces. AP stated that she had only felt sick once and had had enough of adventures! Even the indefatigable EJ admitted that she was knackered!
We caught the bus and AP decided to check where her keys were……a thorough search revealed that they were not with her. It was not the most relaxed journey home as various possibilities unfolded. On reaching K2EAJ in the car park, there on the passenger seat were AP’s keys, just how lucky was that!
The coastal erosion today was the most significant of any that we have seen on the Island no doubt due in part to the numerous Chines that we passed (the word Chine comes from the Saxon word Cinan which means a gap or yawn).