Thursday 22 October

Since we have done all the organised walks from the house, we went off on our own agenda today. We started off at Carisbrooke Castle, where Charles I was imprisoned for a year, 1647-8, where he made two abortive attempts to escape. The first time he got stuck in the bars, castle food was obviously pretty good, and the second time he was betrayed by the guards who he had bribed to let him escape, but then turned on him. It is quite an extensive place with more to see than I had imagined.

This is the very imposing entrance.

You can walk all around the walls, not an experience for those who suffer from vertigo.

In the centre is a museum, which should really be entitled the museum of artefacts which have anything to do with the Isle of Wight. It was an eclectic mixture, from Tennyson’s hat to a model of the hovercraft. In all honesty it needs to be thinned out a bit. It’s a bit granny’s attic.

What I do remember from my childhood visits here, is the donkey on the treadmill, which was used for fetching water up from the well. I hardly expected them still to be here. But they are, although not currently in action, and when they are, they tread for 30 secs, one turn of the wheel. Animal welfare etc etc.

They were very nice donkeys and let us tickle their ears.

Then we did a very beautiful circular walk, from the castle. Along the ridge of Bowcombe Down, across the valley and up Chillerton Down, past Garstons and Gatcombe, wonderful views. It was really warm and sunny, 17C at times. 9 miles today, including touring the castle. Tonight was our last night, and I have to hand it to HF, they have got it well organised and pretty unobtrusively. It has been a very relaxing and diverting week, an excellent holiday.

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