One of the (many) things I like about the Isle of Wight is that it works well for a completist, like myself. It’s feasible to set yourself a challenge such as sailing around the entire 70 mile-ish coastline, walking all 500 miles of footpath or shopping in every Poundland. Such things are less practical on the mainland.
Our current challenge is to complete all nine of the Treasure Trails on the Isle of Wight. Last summer we completed Yarmouth, Ventnor, Cowes and Godshill, so we are nearly halfway there.
The issue is that we’ve now done most of the shorter and more accessible Treasure Trails. We are still at the pushchair and whinging stage so clambering over styles and along muddy tracks is a little tricky.
For trail number five (not to be confused with Mambo Number Five) we attempted a route around one of my favourite parts of the Isle of Wight – Freshwater Bay and Tennyson Down.
The trail started at the Freshwater Bay pay and display car park. I was raised to spend two or three hours looking for free parking to save 50p, so we parked on the road nearby to begin our hunt.
For newcomers, the idea is that you pay £6.99 for a list of clues and then spend two or three hours wandering along a route and learning some local history. If you find you’re spending too long staring at a brick wall in the search for an answer, you can text a number and they’ll reply with a clue.
On this occasion, there were three adults, a two year old and a five year old taking part. The two year old was in a pushchair and after the first three clues decided that she would very much like to begin her lunch. It was half past ten, which in my book is practically 11 o'clock, which is basically lunch time if you're waking up early.
So, we picked up the pace and rattled through the first few clues whilst child two tucked into some overpriced, salt-free snacks contained in conversational packaging.
The route took us along the seafront, then towards the Island's only thatched church and on to Dimbola Lodge.
By this point we had completed half of the clues in about an hour. Child two had eaten her entire lunch and child one had just realised that she was on a walk and that, as such, her legs should feel tired right about now.
We looked at each other, looked at the steep climb up to Tennyson Down, and pondered whether we could make it. The route ahead wasn't the familiar path, so there was a high risk of a scene where we ended up with a pushchair stuck in the mud and tears all round.
On the other hand, we had already done half the clues pretty quickly and it wasn't even noon.
We mutually concluded that this was the end of our Treasure Trail for today.
We returned back to the beach and ate the remains of our lunch whilst listening to the stones being dragged up and down the beach.
Still, we had made a good start to trail number five, and no-one had had a tantrum. Sometimes you just need to know your limits...
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