Vectis Trail, Isle of Wight - 22nd-25th October 2019

Walking the Vectis Trail - led by the wonderful Jill Green and Jim Catchpole.  All superb; the walks, the views, the sea, the leaders and their knowledge of the Island, the hotel, the food, the entertainment (the rain is already forgotten). A really great trip.

14 walkers, two cyclists, one photographer and Dave the minibus driver.

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A figure-of-eight route. Vectis was the Roman name for the island. The trail was devised by Iris, a friend of Jill Green, in the 1980s and the route was checked by Jill.
From Yarmouth the trail heads south, turns towards the western edges of the island near Alum Bay, then east to reach the Tennyson Monument and the coast near Freshwater Bay. Then come downland ridges eastwards, crossing the returning figure-of-eight near Brighstone Down, to Carisbrook Castle. The trail then continues easterly to Brading, and returns through Whitwell, touches the south coast again at Walpen Chine near Chale, then heads north west to Shorwell, crossing over the outward route, to return to Yarmouth.

How we did it:
Day 1 Shanklin to Shorwell: Highest point on the island, morning break at Soap Suds Alley above Ventnor (where the laundry used to be done), Whitwell and St Rhadagund (White Well, a place of pilgrimage in mediaeval times, the well is still dressed and blessed each year), St Catherines Down and Oratory, glimpses of dinosaurs, Phacelia (green manure) near Gladices, boardwalk through woods.  Finish with a drink in the sunshine at Shorwell.
Day 2 Shorwell to Totland: Downs, morning break at Winkle Street, so pretty, a row of thatched cottages and a lovely chalk stream. The estuary at Yarmouth, Totland Bay
Day 3 Totland to Carisbrooke Castle: The Needles, Tennyson Down and some verses from the Lady of Shalott (it could have been a re-enactment of the Charge of the Light Brigade!), Freshwater Bay, walking near the sea, a diversion to the pub to dry out, dancing round the Long Stone in the rain, Carisbrooke Castle
Day 4 Carisbrooke Castle to Shanklin

Merrian's photos and maps are here:
Day 1: Tuesday       18.9  miles   2,700 feet of ascent
Day 2: Wednesday  17.4 miles    1,900 feet of ascent
Day 3: Thursday      17.9 miles    2,500 feet of ascent
Day 4: Friday           15.3 miles    1,700 feet of ascent
           Total:             69.3 miles   8,800 feet of ascent

and Dave's photos:

Day 1


Day 2


Day 3


Day 4