Isle of Wondrous Spring…in January

Back in January, I trooped off to the Isle of Wight with a bunch of strangers for a walking weekend. Today I am remembering that mild, sunny weekend with great fondness, as sit in my living room wearing a huge jumper, with a woolly scarf wrapped around my neck. For here in Britain, as we head toward the end of March, it is a shudder-inducing 0ÂșC outside.

I had only ever been to Cowes before, in the height of summer, sailing for the day with friends who own a lovely boat. I wasn’t expecting much; I didn’t think the Isle of Wight would wow me given I’m from Scotland and have been many times to the Peaks and Cumbria.

I recommend this lovely pocket island for a weekend visit. The walking was superb – strenuous but across chalky clifftops with big wide skies.

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We were all delighted by the sheep dogs who leapt up onto the back of a quad bike to hitch a ride rather than run:

Even working dogs need a rest.
Even working dogs need a rest.

The sun was glorious – it looks cold here but it was beautiful.

iow02We spotted a red squirrel who stayed still for ages but even so it was hard to get a decent photo among the spikey branches.

A twinkle in his eye
A twinkle in his eye

And I loved the cattle; reminded me of being in Scotland.

iow06 iow07I like this view for its perspective and the feeling of the unknown waiting behind the crest of the ridge.

Do you know where you're going to?
Do you know where you’re going to?

At the end of the first day’s walk, we passed by a crazy little garden. It’s a bizarre way to try and raise money for lifeboats!

iow10 iow11We stayed in a FANTASTIC manor house; Northcourt Manor. Our group was so large that we rented out the entire house but it’s possible to stay as an individual as a B&B guest. I will be returning, as it was a little haven.

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After a Burns’ Night Supper and Ceilidh on Saturday night, I was well and truly ‘grouped out’ by Sunday morning. Rather than going on another walk, I decided to explore the garden in the crisp winter sun. It was so warm that after I had taken enough photos to fill a book, I sat in a sunny spot, coat and jumper flung to one side.

The garden was full of contrasts – the remnants of winter mixed with the promise of spring.

iow13 iow14 iow15 iow16 iow17 iow18 iow19 iow20What other little pockets of secret loveliness can people recommend in the UK?

By Carole Scott

 

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