I find a small patch of heaven on the Isle of Wight.

Saturday 03 August 2013 – Isle of Wight.

It was the last couple of days of El’s holiday and she had arranged to visit someone who lived in Ryde on the Isle of Wight. I have memories of visiting the island from when I was a child and was keen to go back and have a look around. This plan was sort of taken over by new found need to go for a run so I planned on running while El did her visiting, a turned out to be a good plan !

A few weeks ago I had bought a new casual use day pack, but being the brand snob that I am I bought an expensive Osprey pack, one that also seemed to be quite good for running with…. I loaded it up with my running gear and a towel and we headed off to Waterloo station to catch the train down to the coast at Portsmouth. This weekend there is a big cycling event in London with tens of thousands of people expected to attend, it was a good time to get out of town, and loads of people with bikes were arriving at the station as we left.

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It was also the first weekend of the new football season – except for the top ranked premier league which starts in two more weeks. Portsmouth were at home to Oxford United so we were aiming to time our travels to miss any potential rowdy supporters – and by rowdy I mean singing and shouting, not drunk and violent, though I definitely wanted to miss any of thosetoo, if they still existed.

I was a bit pensive on the way down as I planned on attempting a couple of hours of running, not something I have done in a good six months, and this only on the back of a forty minute jog last week, my first in over a month.

Once in Ryde I farewelled El, got changed in the public toilets and then went to seek advice from the tourist information office, where I met the most unpleasant tourist guide I have ever met, a rude little angry man. Luckily once he thrust some maps in my hand I was able to escape unlike the poor woman after me who actually needed advice…

However I was soon on my way, calmed down and ready to enjoy some fresh air, some fresh sights and some nice running. I decided to keep it simple and just jog out of Ryde in the direction of Seaview, go for an hour and turn around and come back, no need to worry about maps or having to find my glasses to be able to read them. Most of the run was along a sealed path alongside the sea front and I stopped to take pictures all the way along, sadly my camera had a big smear on the lens so the photos are not as sharp as I wanted… Apart from the concrete path it is a lovely spot for running and the conditions were near perfect.

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After about forty minutes the path ended at a set of steps up into…. heaven, I guess.

Starting at Horestone point was a lovely little bit of muddy, rooty single track that ran above Priory Bay, a lot of seemed to be private track and I had to skirt around some holiday homes a couple of times, but it was the sweetest bit of trail I have run in England, twisty and turny, short ups and downs and just like home.

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I loved it and had a smile on my face all the way to the end.

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And then all the way back again…

It was so cool to run in the dirt again, and the twisty muddy track suited my slow plod so much more than the road ever did. But it was soon over and I took a slow jog back along the water front to Ryde.

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I love this sign…

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When I got to Ryde I discovered the tide was about five hundred metres further out then when I started. I was planning on a cool swim at the end of the run, but ended up with a knee deep splash, just out of the hovercraft lane, it was not quite enough to refresh, but at least I could wash my feet 🙂

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Once I had cooled down enough I took a walk into Ryde and had lunch and a well earned pint in one of the local pubs where I met El and we made our way back down the long long wharf.

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And caught the ferry back to Portsmouth, and the train home.

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It was a nice wee run, I surprised myself by getting two hours done, slowly and with lots of stops to take photos, but then again I wasn’t racing anyone, and the pack was awesome to run with too 🙂

About wheresphil

Originally from Auckland, New Zealand, now living in London.
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