We left camp with happy hearts for today held the promise of being the best on the trail. The forecast was great (again), there was very little tarmac, we had only hiked a little of this section before and tonight we would be wildcamping! But first shoes!
At the end of the road from the campsite there was a Lidl, which occasionally carried cheap hiking stuff, at the very least we might be able to get Lil some trainers that would have to do. If we’re out of luck we’ll have to go around the charity shops in town before getting back on trail. Turns out, Lidl had one pair of hiking boots left in stock. In Lils size! Amazing luck. We also got some nice pastries for breakfast and made our way back to the trail.
The trail took us twisting and turning through the landslip at Luccombe and the woods had a unseasonal humidity to them for late October. The kids ran ahead through the trees and down onto the sea wall at Bonchurch. From here we followed a scaled down version of the solar system all the way to Ventnor and lunch at the Island shaped paddling pool opposite the little harbour.
We hiked along another esplanade and climbed the path leading up the headland and onto views of blue skies and shiny seas. The path went from headland to cove and back again until we got to the beautiful, hidden beach at Steephill Cove. After climbing the (unsurprisingly) steep hill we stayed up on the cliff tops for a couple of miles of stunning hiking before heading inland through St Lawrence and up onto downs.
From up her the views only got better, and as we found our stride we covered miles without stopping, past St Catherines Lighthouse, along the edges of fields and down hedgerow lined lanes with the sun starting its descent to meet the the sea once again. We were just heading towards Chale when the sunset began and it was truly magnificent.
As the sun dipped away, so the moon rose behind us and illuminated our path along the cliff tops where, as it was now getting chilly, we stopped to make some dinner. It was also at this point we discovered Evan had left both his woolly hat and his warm coat in the shower block at last nights campsite. Obviously he didn’t go cold. Hazel gave him her jacket, which lead to me giving her my brand new down jacket (unworn to this point) and Evan my hat. What a Guy!!! To speed things up I just made us all some instant porridge for a quick bite and we hiked on in the moonlight for another hour or so before setting up camp on the cliffs.