Straight away the track I was walking started to ascend...that's the ironic thing about 'downs' they're always up. A few minutes into my walk I was surprised by a small furry creature who jumped out of the hedgerow just a couple of metres in front of me...apparently the feeling was mutual as the little stoat dived back into the bush...curiosity got the better of the little critter though and it was soon inching it's way back towards me....I have a feeling it could smell my pasty. As I attempted to get a hold of my camera, having never seen a stoat in the wild before, I was aware of movement behind me...two cyclists, slightly insane, taking on the steep incline and making much noise with it...which had the stoat promptly diving for cover and myself flattened against the bank....As I inwardly cursed the bikers....and spandex is not a good look on anyone...the stoat disappeared from sight.....I didn't get the picture but it looked something like this:
The track soon evened out to open fields and showed some stunning views across the island. I caught sight of Carisbrook Castle which dates back to the 12th century.
The great thing about the island is that it's very difficult to get lost, well on foot anyway, the paths, tracks and bridleways are well mapped, maintained and in the middle of nowhere, when you reach a 5 way junction, there are signposts. The route I was on, Tennyson Way, would eventually lead all the way back to the Needles.
I stopped for lunch in the sunshine at around the halfway mark then ventured into Brighstone Forest....where I freaked myself out, with my stupidly over active imagination, at every snapping twig, rustling leaf and dropping conker.....dork.
Luckily the Blair Witch didn't disembowel me and I was soon exiting the wood onto Brighstone Heath...at 214 metres it's one of the highest points on the island, though the banks of bracken made it difficult to see the view from the top.
Wandering back down the hill I was greeted with an amazing sea view....the white cliffs to the right of the picture is Tennyson down, where I had walked the day before.
I continued to head down the track and in front of me saw Mottistone Down, which was the end of my walk...it didn't go unnoticed that the path I was on continued a fairly steep descent and the hill in the distanced was most definitely....up.
Climbing Mottistone Down....The view looking east.
Looking back towards, the ever-so-slightly freaky, Brighstone Forest from the top of Mottistone.
Luckily at the top of the Down there was a bench where a couple and their cute black Lab pup were sitting, well the couple were sitting the pup was kinda bounding, jumping and rolling in rabbit poop in an attempt to be cute enough to scrounge some food...she succeeded.
Walking down Mottistone Down with Tennyson Down in the distance
I wandered back down the hill through a woodland path, by which time my feet were beginning to protest all the activity...I had just returned to the car park and was in the midst of a well earned rest when the parentals pulled in to give me a lift.....
Above, my route....I later worked out that my 'shorter' walk had turned into an 8 mile hike....meh.....calves of steel baby!