There are several Isle of Wight beaches which I have no memory of visiting. My mother will tell me that we did a full tour when we first moved to the island in 1990 (and will produce photo evidence) but from my point of view I still have a handful to tick off the list and add to our beaches guide.
And so we headed to St Catherine's Lighthouse with a view to exploring one of the beaches nearby before it got dark.
The path down is pretty steep but mostly tarmac for pushchairs and wheelchairs, although on this occasion I was without the darling daughters and was with an old school friend.
We decided to head left across the fields and weighed up whether we were more intimidated by the herd of cows on the cliff path or the squelchy grass which had endured a wet week.
I went for wet feet instead of death on jagged rocks and we started looking for a route to the next field. In hindsight, sticking to the path would have wise and I soon found that my legs were covered in a brown liquid which I hoped was mud.
By the time we reached the path to take us to the beach I was looking like I had scored badly during an outdoor challenge on the Krypton Factor.
A few minutes later we were at Reeth Bay, also known as Castlehaven which has a few twee caravans, a bench and not a lot else.
When we first arrived there were two other people on the beach (plus a dog) but they soon made their exit, presumably feeling the whole place was getting a bit crowded. I may have even heard one of them mutter "It's not like it used to be here".
The tide was very high, so we resorted to clambering along the rocks.
Reeth Bay is a great example of the diversity of the Isle of Wight's coastline. It is only about 9 miles from Shanklin (and much closer to Ventnor) but the two feel completely at-odds with each other. Shanklin has mini-golf, amusement arcades and ice cream huts (which I love, by the way), whilst you'll sometimes have Reeth Bay all to yourself.
Sure, Cornwall and Devon do things on a grander scale, but it's nice being able to wake up in the morning and choose the kind of beach you'd like to visit rather than being limited to either one beach or an hour's drive.
We returned to the car along the road rather than through the muddy field and ticked another beach off the list of places-I've-been-but-have-forgotten-about.
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