May 6 – Isle of Wight Walking Festival – Yarmouth/Freshwater… and a ghost hunt

Our last full day on the Isle of Wight and a busy one.

We’d selected 2 Festival walks (one in the morning, the other in the evening), and some geocaching in the afternoon.

Our morning Festival walk was a circular walk from Yarmouth to Freshwater and back (broadly following both sides of the Yar Estuary). We had no prior knowledge of the route beforehand, and it was only part-way through the walk we realised our planned caching was on the same path.

Yarmouth Pier - the start of the walk

Yarmouth Pier – the start of the walk

The focus of the Festival walk was Farming on the Isle of Wight. The leader pointed out different types of crops, different farming systems and talked of the problems of being an island. For example, there is no abattoir on the island, and the cost of transport to the mainland, makes any produce less price competitive against mainland prices. Many farmers are diversifying, enabling small pockets of land to be better capitalised.

Yurts - a great way to make money from a small field

Yurts – a great way to make money from a small field

Our geocaching afternoon started at Freshwater Bay. Or more accurately in it !

Stand a few yards to your right and estimate the cliff size !

Stand a few yards to your right and estimate the cliff size !

Our first target was an Earthcache based on the cliffs rising from the bay. However the position where one had to estimate heights, strata levels was on the beach.

It was high tide.

A very high tide.

Blown onshore by gale-force winds.

We were wet just standing on the promenade. Fortunately the answers we submitted were accepted.

Our next few caches were drive-tos. High on the coast road, just outside Freshwater Bay was a simple cache and dash. But the gale-force wind meant we struggled just to open the car door, and when we did find the cache it needed both sets of our hands to prevent the contents being blown away.

We retreated to the village of Freshwater, and undertook a 5-stage Church multi.
Had our brains been blown out by the wind ? Were the co-ordinates really out ? Either way we failed to find too many of the stages to make the final co-ordinates work. This is not the first time we’ve not completed a large multi… we really must improve !

The river Yar, with Church beyond

The river Yar, with Church beyond

Our final caches were on a familiar footpath … from the morning’s walk. Two simple finds to restore confidence to our wind-tossed bodies !

Spot the Bison !

Spot the Bison !

After a quick meal break we went on our last Festival walk. A Ghost walk.
The venue was Arreton Barns. Now an multi-entertainment centre including craft shops, pubs, shipwreck centre and much more besides.

In former times, the site had been a monastery, a manor and thriving village. These historic venues formed the basis of the ghosts, and unexplained premonitions, which were vividly brought to life in our 2 hour ghost walk. Many of the scenes were acted out by three students, but it was one of those nights when things went a little awry. Axe-heads broke, cowls were blown off, music left playing a bit too long. We’re not sure it should have been funny.. but as entertainment – it was different !


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