A couple of years ago Mercy and I plotted a route around all the National Collections on the Isle of Wight and a plan to cycle around them. We ran out of summer that year and didn’t have a summer last year, so we resurrected the idea as part of my training for the Silverwood Challenge.
Six collections, five locations, thirty eight miles and a few hills – a nice day out. We met at Portsmouth Harbour, home of HMS Warrior, seen here from the station platforms, and took the catamaran to Ryde.
Our first stop was to be Springbank Nursery home to a NC of Nerine. Wrong time of year to see the plants, but our visit was recorded for posterity
and we were amused by the topiary shark in the adjacent Funeral Director’s establishment.
The next Collections (2 x Hemerocallis) were the most distant, down in the south of the island near Ventnor. We were furnished with detailed instructions from Jan and Andy Wyers about how to find them up on St Catherine’s Down, 300ft above sea level and along a series of private roads and stony tracks. As this was a prime time to visit the Collection I will write a separate post about our visit rather than squash it into here. Here’s a taster to keep you going.
Next back up to Newport to visit Isle of Wight Lavender. At this point our map reading skills went a bit wrong and we climbed a very, very, very steep long hill up to Newport Golf Club, only to find that we should have taken the left fork in the road, not the right. The descent, at speed, even with the brakes on, was the most unpleasant part of the day.
As a commercial establishment we reckoned IoW Lavender would have a tea room and we were salivating at the prospect of tea and maybe even a slice of cake. Imagine our distress when we arrived 10 minutes too late.
But while Mercy made friends with a passing cat
Ruben Abbott organised some refreshments for us. After the recent cold winters and wet summers Ruben told us about his plans for a two year period of redevelopment to keep the Collection a star attraction for the island.
Only two Collections to go and as we knew there would be no-one there to meet us, it was a case of just visiting the sites. Almost to up to Cowes for Barton Manor, home of a NC of Kniphofia
then down to Wootton Bridge for the Collection of miniature and dwarf Pelargonium. Our energy levels were getting low by this point, so a fuel stop at a garage was needed to buy some chocolate. “Shall we share a Snickers duo?” Silly question. “Two duos please”.
Sorry Mercy, but I just had to put this picture in – if you look at the name of the garage and search in the Directory for directions to this Collection it says ‘Opposite Harwoods Garage’. We couldn’t have been closer.
It was now after 6 and although we had promised ourselves ice creams in Ryde, the island closes early on Sundays, so we took the closer option and went down for the car ferry from Fishbourne. This is Mercy waiting to get onto the boat
while some rather tasty cars drove onto the car deck.
Our trusty steeds parked up at the back of the boat
Before the battery ran out on Mercy’s on-board computer near Barton Manor , it recorded the following statistics;
2,708ft gain in elevation
and most importantly calorie consumption of 3,328. That Snickers duo was a drop in the ocean (2 x 244 calories) when it comes to replenishing energy stores.
A good day out. And if you would like to sponsor me on the Silverwood Challenge, here are the links
one to PH
and the other to MNDA.
I am paying all my expenses for the trip so everything raised through sponsorship will go to the two charities.