Waxwing

Waxwing
"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Saturday, 21 July 2018

Isle of Wight - Day 3 Sunday 8th July - Part 1: Ryde and Shipwreck Isle




Sunday was even hotter about 32 degrees centigrade.

We had discovered there was a free Pirate Festival at Appley Beach, Ryde. My family love Ryde and decided they would make their annual visit there to coincide with the Festival. (I must be honest here and say that, although I have nothing against Ryde as it is a lovely seaside town, there are far many things
on the Isle of Wight I would rather be doing!)


We could only find a parking space some distance away from the beach in question and we walked back along the seafront.








B and E were not pleased to find their favourite seafood cabin closed!




Timothy was feeling the heat in his jumper! and



here he is with Tennyson who was also too hot!









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The Hovercraft which travel backwards and forwards between Ryde and Portsmouth. A few years ago we caught this and went to visit the Mary Rose and HMS Victory at Portsmouth Historic Boatyard.

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The Spinnaker Tower at Portsmouth


















Finally we reached Appley Tower and Shipwreck Isle on the beach.

The Tower was built by Sir William Hutton in 1875 - the gothic tower (also known as the Watch Tower )is all that remains of his mansion. It was designed by Thomas Hellyer of Ryde, a local architect, and constructed by Isaac Barton a local builder. Sir William Hutt also arranged for Hellyer to design and construct the coastal revetment protection followed by a coastal promenade for the public.






The pirate festival was good although by this time I was feeling very hot and bothered! The festival included live music, stalls, Punch and Judy, a pirate play and hidden treasure to find. It wasn't easy to take photos as there were so many people around.






Thankfully clouds were developing which did cool things down slightly.












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After a packed lunch we made our way to the peace and tranquility of nearby Quarr Abbey which I will write about in my next post.


*D - Photos taken by D with the Canon SX50hs bridge camera

All other photos taken by me with the Panasonic Lumix FZ330 bridge camera



Thursday, 19 July 2018

Isle of Wight - Day 2 Saturday 7th July : Walks around Niton and Compton Beach







It was sunny and hot on Saturday (too hot to be honest around 30 degrees which is unusual, in our experience, for the Isle of Wight as usually the sea breeze keeps temperatures lower!).



An early morning walk around Niton to see the lighthouse at St Catherine's Point.




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The Buddle Inn is a 16th century Smugglers' inn - we usually have a meal here but last year we found prices had risen and there seemed less choice on the menu. It is well worth a visit though as it has a great atmosphere and sea-views.



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St Catherine's Lighthouse

A small beacon was first lit at St Catherine's (see later in the post) in about 1323 by Walter de Godyton. The present lighthouse was erected in 1838 by Trinity House following the sinking of the ship Clarendon on nearby rocks. A very sad incident took place in World War Two when a bombing raid on 1st June, 1943, destroyed the engine house killing the three keepers on duty who had taken shelter in the building. R T Grenfell, C Tomkins and W E Jones were buried in the churchyard at Niton.

The lighthouse was automated in 1997 and an automatic weather reporting station has been installed sending information to the Met Office.

We have in the past been on a tour of the lighthouse which is very interesting and well worth doing.

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Can anyone guess what is shown in this photo? Answer at the end of the post.

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Another photo of "Ye Olde Cottage"




Gatekeeper

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On the way back we stopped off at a small village fayre - there was a lovely display of embroidery showing various aspects of the village in the hall.


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I couldn't resist buying this Swallowtail bookmark.




We then drove along the Military Coast Road to our favourite beach at Compton.

Looking towards Freshwater Cliffs (chalk)


Saturday was the day of the "Round the Island Race" and colourful yachts were racing around the island.









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After watching the yachts for a while we went down onto the beach (last year you couldn't access the beach from here as there had been a small landslide and the steps had collapsed - they have now been repaired).

Black-headed Gull









The geology of the Isle of Wight is very interesting. The rocks along this stretch of coastline are the oldest exposed rocks on the island formed in the Cretaceous (125-140 million years ago). The gently sloping, and in places almost horizontal, Wealden beds consist of red, green, purple and grey mudstones containing bands of limestone and sandstone. The top of the cliff is composed of a layer of gravel deposited in more recent times (at the end of the last Ice Age) by rivers. The harder more resistant layers run as parallel ledges to the sea .

Chalk further along the coast at Freshwater and the Needles was deposited 80-90 million years ago in clear warm seas. The rocks in places are almost vertical. Chalk is made up of miniscule fragments of tiny algae (coccoliths) which formed spheres only 1/100th of a millimetre in diameter.

The Isle of Wight is often known as "Dinosaur Island" because so many dinosaur remains have been found here - many on Compton Beach or on the cliffs at this location. There are several examples of dinosaur footprints on the beach (we were once shown these years ago on an organised fossil hunt we attended but I have only ever found one since and not on this holiday)! Other fossils to be found on the beach include lignite (fossilised wood), oyster shells and amber is occasionally discovered.

A pine raft can be seen at Hanover Point when the tide is completely out.

(It should be noted that this area of coast is subject to rapid erosion and you should not go too close to the cliffs because of rockfalls. Digging into the cliffs for fossils is not allowed although I understand you can pick up fossil finds from the beach).






Pebbles - I discovered a few days ago that a book on Pebbles on the Beach is about to re-printed (I suspect it will be a book I will not be able to resist!).




Is this part of a fossilised shell?




Meet Compton - Isle of Wight Bear Number Three who did not make the journey last year.





The National Trust car park had been busy (many were watching the boat race) and the beach right by the car park was busy but the further you walk the quieter it becomes until the beach is empty.















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Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa) seen in a pool as we left the beach at Brook Chine

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A grasshopper/cricket seen on the cliff path by D.

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We walked back to Compton Beach car park via the coastal path.











I think this may be a chine developing?

Chines are steep-sided river valleys formed when rivers erode the soft clays and sand as they enter the sea via coastal cliffs. The word chine comes from the Saxon word "cinan" meaning a gap or a yawn. The exact number of chines on the island varies as the ever-evolving coastline means that over time some are created and some are destroyed. Lush vegetation and steep sides provide shelter in what is usually an area of exposed cliffs so they are often good for wildlife. In the past they were frequently used by smugglers.





Six Spot Burnet Moth




We saw many butterflies on the coast path - Marbled White, Skippers, Gatekeepers, Meadow Brown, "Whites" although no photos as they were far too lively in the sunshine. This is a good area to see the rare Glanville Fritillary although I have never succeeded and I suspect we were too late this year.






Finally, back at the car park for an icecream.




We returned to the cottage early afternoon as we wanted to watch the England game and some tennis.



St Andrew's Chale (seen on the journey) - we used to stay in Chale and I have visited this church many times.


A distant view of the Pepperpot (a medieval lighthouse) on St Catherine's Down.





Along with Compton Beach the Pepperpot (or St Catherine's Oratorary) is my favourite place on the island. We didn't walk up to it this year but here are a few photos from last year's holiday.



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The tower is all that remains of an Oratory built in around 1323 by Walter de Godyton (see above), Lord of Chale, who, according to local legends, stole wine from a shipwreck in Chale Bay. The wine had originally come from a French monastery and he was fined and then threatened with ex-communication unless he erected an oratory with a beacon on Chale (now St Catherine's) Down. He paid a priest to tend the light and to say prayers for those who had drowned at sea. When the monasteries were dissolved in 1538 the oratory was no longer used for religious reasons but the beacon was kept lit until the the 17th century.






In the evening D went a walk on public footpaths around Niton. I didn't go but will share his photos as there are some lovely effects with the evening light.



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Day 3 will include a trip to the Pirate Festival at Ryde and then a visit to Quarr Abbey


Mystery Photo - D was amusing himself trying to capture flies in flight!




*D - Photos taken by my son with the Canon SX50hs bridge camera.

All other photos taken by me with the Panasonic Lumix FZ 330 apart from last year's photo of the Pepperpot which was taken with my Olympus dslr.