Coastal Route

Day 152: Sandown to Freshwater England, Monday September 18th

I was so happy that Brenda in Newport let us leave some of our heavy stuff behind after seeing what this day had in store for us.

The Coast Route around the Isle of Wight has some hilly sections, and the section we did today had the biggest of all. In fact, we briefly considered going back up the Red Squirrel trail (a flat rail trail) and cutting west on roads through the middle of the island. I’m happy we didn’t.

We started out beside the sea riding on a beautiful flat trail between Sandown and Shanklin.

Then we had to climb up inland, and we got a little turned around. It worked out well though, because we accidently ended up at a grocery store, and we needed lunch supplies anyway.

Next was the Sunshine Trail, another rail trail, and eventually some roads. We saw some more classic cars cruising around.

After a quick lunch stop we tackled the biggest hill, from Niton to way about Blackgang. It turned out to be a long slog, but the gradient wasn’t too steep. We were treated to a nice long descent as a reward as well.

Even better, when we got back close to sea level we found ourselves at the Wight Mouse Inn, where we had half pints of ale in the sunshine.

Deb had a pamphlet on the route, so we knew there was another climb in our near future. We had a good ride on quite farm roads for awhile, then the route dropped us back on the Military Road, which is an A road (busy) close to the coast. We stopped at the Brook Chine to admire the view, and to prepare ourselves mentally for the big, big hills we could see ahead.

We conquered them, no problem, then cruised down into the pretty town of Freshwater. Google had some trouble figuring out where our Airbnb was, but we got that sorted fairly quickly. Our hosts had three English Springer Spaniels, all well-behaved and friendly. It was a really nice place too, with a truly fantastic shower (boiling hot and with enough pressure to strip paint).

We strolled around the neighbourhood, but returned pretty early, worn out.

These plastic balls of greenery (occasionally purple) are very popular in the UK. We saw them everywhere.

Distance: 46 km

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