We had something of a one-off summer this year. I took several weeks off work and we spent the time swanning around the Isle of Wight, eating out when we could and general living it up.
Sorry, I know that’s a really annoying thing to be harping on about in November when the summer seems a long, long time away.
Hang on in there guys, the sun will shine again.
One of the final evening outings of the summer season was one of the best.
Normally we default to Hanover Point when we aren’t sure which beach to visit, or when time is tight as it’s one of the nearest to us. At one stage we referred to it as The Beach, as if there we no others.
On this occasion, I was without the family so took the opportunity to visit the Compton end of the beach with an old chum. Back in the day we had a bit of routine, which may reveal where my money saving ideals come from.
My Dad would drop us all off at the gate opposite Compton Farm and we would start the walk down to the beach through the field of cows and down the many steep steps.
Dad would continue driving to the car park at the top of the Military Road, since it was free, and would then walk through a different field and meet us on the beach.
The whole thing probably saved us a quid each time (this was the 90s) but over the years it paid for my wedding.
And so I felt overwhelming nostalgic walking through the field and down the steep steps, thinking of my Dad (who is no longer with us) and realising that the main reason we took this odd route rather than parking at Hanover Point was only partly because of the money it saved.
I can now appreciate that the Compton end is far superior, with glorious views as you walk down the steps which are dangerously distracting. At the bottom, the beach is far quieter and the cliffs more spectacular. The beach is sandier without as many rocks on the seabed to trip over.
It was a lovely summer’s evening and there were three other people on the beach, including one person I knew (this is the Isle of Wight after all). We pondered where everyone was, why there weren’t huge crowds capturing the sunset and the waves on their smartphones – or perhaps even enjoying it with their eyes.
The extra effort of reaching Compton Bay (as opposed to Hanover Point) is certainly part of the reason, but I think it’s also because the Isle of Wight has quite so many glorious beaches considering its relatively small size. My top 5 beaches is almost entirely different to my wife’s, and to be honest, mine changes pretty regularly anyway.
You can be fairly sure that if you head over to the Compton end at this time of year you’ll have to yourself. Just take care on those steps…
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