Tuesday, July 5

She's Got A Ticket To RYDE...

Toward the far end of Ryde Pier, Isle of Wight, England.
Sign says "No Parking - No Fishing - No Swimming".
The wake is from a Wightlink passenger ferry just
arrived from or going back to Portsmouth on the
mainland, the land mass on the horizon.

(NOTE: Unless otherwise attributed, all images in this post
were made by, and therefore the property of, the author.)

Something about a heat wave with no foreseeable end makes me want to look at water. Lots of water. With the mercury hovering at 105 or so, no way am I leaving the house to drive to any lake. Instead, I dug out the photos of my trip to England in 2003, settled back in the AC, and wandered down Memory Lane. The new banner (sans Yours Truly as a baby...sorry...or in a hat) is the result.

After six days of sight-seeing in London, I reluctantly left what had become my favorite city in the world and boarded a train from Waterloo Station to Portsmouth on the southern coast. Specifically Portsmouth Harbour, from which a Wightlink passenger ferry carried me to Ryde on the Isle of Wight.

My ticket to Ryde, with combined train and ferry fares,
always brings to mind the Beatles' song "Ticket To Ride"
from which the title of this post is (loosely) borrowed.

To this day, I can't tell you if I was on Wightlink's FastCat or one of their hovercraft, although I tend to think it was a hovercraft since the FastCat was the more expensive option. A FastCat could get you from Portsmouth to Ryde in 5 minutes, hence the name and higher fare, whereas the same trip on a hovercraft took 18 minutes.

A Wightlink FastCat, 2003

One of Wightlink's hovercraft, 2003

But I can tell you the Solent, the body of water between the south coast of England and the IoW, was more open water than I've ever been on in my life.

Flying over parts of the Atlantic at 31,000 or 37,000 feet doesn't count. And according to my children, neither does flying over Canada, Greenland, and Ireland, so they say I should quit claiming to have been to those countries. Spoil sports.

Notice the ticket says "Ryde Esplanade". This is misleading.

Wightlink actually disgorges Portsmouth passengers at Ryde Pier Head, 2,250 feet (631 meters) from shore. That's almost half a mile! Ryde Esplanade is where you'll be after you drive, take the train, or walk (as I did) from the "wet" end of Ryde Pier to the dry end.

Mostly locals retrieving their vehicles after working or
shopping in Portsmouth or Southsea on the mainland.
The promenade connecting the Ryde Pier Head to
Ryde Esplanade is to the right of the photo.

Looking back toward the pier head...and wishing I'd had the
good sense to spend a few pounds on the train - the shortest line
in the world, I suspect - that used those tracks to the right!

Almost there! At this point I was extremely glad to have
heeded the advice of seasoned travelers to buy a Rollaboard
for this trip! Just past the enclosure on the right is where
I must've leaned out over that lovely wrought iron railing
to snap the photo you see in the new banner, although
I have no memory now of doing so.

Ryde Pier & Promenade circa 1960 as seen from Ryde Esplanade,
an avenue of hotels and other businesses geared to tourists.
From the Ryde section of Steve Holden's old Isle of Wight
postcards at http://www.ryde.shalfleet.net/ryde_pier.htm

Having successfully completed that unexpected half-mile constitutional, I boarded one of the island's ubiquitous local buses to Hulverstone.

The island may be only 26 miles long by 12 miles, but it's chock full of history and interesting scenery. My lodging for the next two nights was to be a combined working farm and B&B called Chapel Furlong Farm, which I had chosen specifically because it was just up the lane from the Sun Inn, a haunted pub. But that's another blog post!

Ryde Pier has undergone many changes since opening in 1814:

The National Pier Society's History of Ryde Pier

The Williams Family on The Isle of Wight
(Scroll down to the lovely old Ryde Pier postcard
for the brief history of the pier that comes after.)

Last but not least:
Steve Holden's vintage Ryde Pier postcards

Have a great day!
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