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Isle of Wight
26th to 29th September 2006

I went to the Isle of Wight for a day-trip goodness knows how many years ago, when I was knee-high to a grasshopper, and it was much the same for Katy. So with my having finally kicked the scourge that was EDS out of my life, and Katy about to increase her hours at work, we decided we'd make the most of what was left of the summer / early autumn, and go and spend a few days in the town with some of the best sunshine statistics in the UK, namely Shanklin.

Our ferry crossing from Portsmouth was simple enough, and indeed we got on to the ferry before the one we had booked for, so we really did have plenty of time to spend before we planned to check in at our hotel. We stopped at the rather scenic Culver Down, enjoying our lunch as we watched the light aircraft taking off and landing at the nearby airfield, and also at the somewhat bleak St Catherine's Point - though we gather the latter has its own micro-climate and almost always bucks the trend of the rest of the island.

Our hotel was of the "simple but effective" variety very close to the picturesque Shanklin Chine, and had a perfectly reasonable attached restaurant. However the evening menu was a bit limited so we only dined there once in the end, instead going to an excellent little Thai restaurant and a generous pizzeria in town for the other two evenings we were there. The pool was small but luxurious, and we had virtually sole use of it for some reason. I'm not sure if we got as far as dipping our toes in the sea, but the hotel pool was definitely our preferred aquatic haunt.

We got out for healthy walks every day, including one to Sandown and back, and the obligatory toddle round the Needles and Alum Bay, and the weather was (contrary to the forecast) very kind to us. It so often seems to be that we go on holiday to places where the forecast is foul, and everyone we talk to is consolatory on our return, and we have to explain that in fact the BBC were wrong as usual and we had however many days of wall-to-wall sunshine. Not that it was quite that warm, but pretty good nonetheless, and we only had a few spots of rain as we were finishing off a round of pitch-and-putt at Ryde on the way home.

Ah yes, the golf... We could have been cheeky and described this as a golfing holiday, because we managed to get a round in every day. However given that those rounds comprised (apart from the pitch-and-putt) one on the putting green and two of crazy golf, we might be pushing it!

Overall, we really enjoyed the Isle of Wight. It's a clean and friendly destination, and some of the coastal scenery really can't be competed with without travelling considerably further. It's all a bit dated, but that means it doesn't appeal to the rowdier elements perhaps, making it a very civilised place to stay. We've had a few friends who've been since, partially on our recommendation, and none have been disappointed.

Watching the planes from Culver Down
Watching the planes from Culver Down
Towards St Catherine's Point
Towards St Catherine's Point
Katy on Culver Down
Katy on Culver Down
David on the beach at Shanklin
David on the beach at Shanklin
Sandown Pier -
Sandown Pier - "A whole day's fun in one!"
David having fun nonetheless!
David having fun nonetheless!
Cliffs at Alum Bay (sadly cordoned off)
Cliffs at Alum Bay (sadly cordoned off)
Alum Bay chair-lift
Alum Bay chair-lift
The Needles
The Needles
Katy near the Needles
Katy near the Needles
Breakwater near Shanklin
Breakwater near Shanklin
Alum-rich cliffs near Shanklin
Alum-rich cliffs near Shanklin
Shanklin Chine
Shanklin Chine
From Shanklin Chine
From Shanklin Chine
Shanklin Chine
Shanklin Chine
Almost (but not quite) our only red squirrel
Almost (but not quite) our only red squirrel
Arrival back in Portsmouth
Arrival back in Portsmouth

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