Isle of Wight

Seven intrepid Gromils celebrated the partial relaxation of Covid restrictions by heading for unfamiliar terrain in search of sun and salt water. Leaving on Monday 14 June there was lots of sunshine as we travelled over White Hill, down the Test Valley, then up through the Wallops (Nether, Middle and Over) to the independent youth hostel at Cholderton Rare Breeds farm.

More sunshine on Tuesday as we skirted Boscombe Down airbase to find their way into Salisbury via the Avon Valley. On the map this looked like an easy day – mostly down the valley, with a relatively small amount of bridleway to give a traffic-free route across the A35. However the ups and downs of the valley road were quite steep, and parts of the bridleway were very steep and loose. It was a pleasure to get to the YHA hostel at Burley, where we were met by the very friendly Aussie warden.

Wednesday really was an easy day, and still sunny. A 10 mile saunter through the New Forest to the ferry at Lymington, then a short ride along the old railway from Yarmouth to Freshwater. One Gromil (Rory) went for a swim at Freshwater Bay. After a lazy coffee and lunch, we carried on to Alum Bay to get a view of The Needles before returning to the ferry and back to the hostel.

After rain overnight, Thursday was overcast and cooler but still dry. Rory and Chris each had their own plans for getting home, but the remaining five of us took the train to Basinstoke (lots of space for bikes on the Wessex Electrics), then cycled home via Bramley Bakery.

Friday it rained hard all day, and we were glad to be home.

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