Somewhere only we know – an insider’s guide to the Isle of Wight, Part 2


Following on from my previous post, here is the second of my favourite things to do, from the perspective of someone who lives on the island.

#2 Walking from Cowes to Gurnard and back again

This is a well trodden path and not such a secret, but it is still a favourite. It takes an hour or so to walk to Gurnard and back from Cowes, perhaps longer if you stop for a while or sit and have a coffee along the way.

From Cowes, keep walking just beyond the Royal Yacht Squadron where all the flags and firing guns are. Just here is the beginning of the esplanade, marked by an area of green to one side and the sea to the other, edged by a pebbled beach. This is a great place to stop and read or watch the yachts go by. Sometimes there are just a few out on the water idly sailing along.  At other times the sea is filled with them such as during the Round The Island Race when they come so close they almost touch the shore. I love the variation in boats out on The Solent – yachtsmen fighting for space with the fast red-jet and the slower red funnel, the occasional cruise liner, and huge container ships that steam down the main channel.

Further along the esplanade, it becomes quieter, with less people. This is usually at Egypt Point where the statues of lions make an appearance. This part of the walk is where I go to clear my head, breathe the air in, and reset. Sometimes I walk with a friend, there and back from Cowes is just enough time to sort the world out. You can start to imagine the vastness of the sea as you look out across the Solent as it heads towards the Needles and beyond. Boats go by on their way to who knows where. Having a boat myself, I want to join them.

The arrival at Gurnard is marked by a row of beach huts. Usually a fleet of small boats is out racing on the water, there are swimmers in the sea, and children playing on the beach. I always stop and have a drink in the cafe here, The Watersedge, before reversing the walk and going back to Cowes.