This year we encountered some very wet windy cold and foggy weather but this didn’t deter our enthusiastic walkers! The inclement weather conditions, resulted in several walks having to be cancelled or abandoned, and also routes had to diverted in order to avoid mud and slippery paths; and numbers attending walks on rough days were down. However but I would like to thank all walk leaders for their commitment to the Walking Festival, and turning out in all weathers. Walk Leader David Yates, commented that his Beaches Bars and Blisters walk during the first week was the coldest and muddiest May walk ever known!
Weather aside, it was another very successful walking festival, enjoyed by many islanders and tourists, and Eric Stackhouse from Nova Scotia in Canada spend his last day of his trip to England, walking on hot coals in Newport! The launch was a great success with the likes of Mark King and Keith Newbery walking – all for a good cause Beaulieu House (still collecting the sponsorship money).
Speed Dating a great success once again with 86 walkers 32 matches and of course not forgetting the fourth wedding on 12th May when June and Mike tied the knot.
More of the unusual walks during the first week was the Charybdis Passage a 17 mile scramble in seven hours. This was the first time that the Charygdis Passage was beaten by the tide. Walk Leader Chris Welsford reported that he had to start the walk an hour earlier 2.45 am although in retrospect it should have been earlier still at 1.45 am. The tied turned at Culver, which prevented them getting to the caves, and they had to abandon that part of the walk, or would have been cut off in the Caves.
Many of the walks in between showers, continued to be successful with in excess of 50 walkers taking part. Favourites for the children are the Tea Party Toddle walk, taking in the animals at Bevois Farm, and of course the Giant Toddle at Appley when the children got the chance to dress up and have their faces painted, all in aid of Ryde Inshore Rescue.
Rockpool Magic with Ian Boyd continues to attract large crowds to the famous Bembridge Ledges, where crab fish, hermit crabs, sea anomies and brittle stars were netted.
Round the Island walk was again a resounding success, with 17 walkers starting and 14 finishing, with two hours to spare!!!
As always the walking festival receives many positive comments. One email which has just popped into my box is from Collin Peppiatt wanting to know the dates for next year, as he fits his two weeks holiday around the Walking Festival. Mary Knight from Surrey, commented that she has been coming to the walking festival since 2008, as she thoroughly enjoys the narrated walks and the stunning beauty of the Island and has many favourite walks and leaders.
Hope this is a little helpful Martin, let me know if there is anything else you would like to know (this is just a précis). Also would be great if you could ask walkers to email any great walking pictures to me.