I thought I’d time my walk today for lunchtime and, as I thought, I had the place to myself. Being Sunday, I presume most people are eating out or at home tucking into ‘le rosbif’ or even pasta or pizza.
So this is Sandown, Isle of Wight, on a beautiful sunny day in April, looking down from the Cliff Path that runs between this town and the next town, Shanklin, then down a steep path on to the beach. I walked through to the Cliff Path from the main road, it looks quite woody and yes, it is, with hidden niches, wild flowers, primroses and bluebells sheltering under gnarled old trees, and the inevitable folly.
By now, the beach will be full of walkers, the ice-cream kiosks will be doing a roaring trade, and the Pier will be packed with children on the bouncy castle and various other amusements.
The tables that were empty at lunch-time will be occupied with people drinking teas and coffees, snacking on home-made cakes, and perhaps sitting back reading the Sunday papers.
Culver Cliff, the massive white chalk cliff that curves around the edge of Sandown, hiding Whitecliff Bay and Bembridge, catches the light when the sun shines, and out on the horizon are cruise liners and cargo ships bound inward for Southampton, or outward for foreign parts.
Some have been here with me before, but the beaches around the island never fail to please me, and walking on the sands, or on the revetment that runs under the cliff, or even on the pavement where convenient benches make stopping to take in the view even more of a pleasure, makes this my favourite walk – always.