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FEATURE I ISLE OF WIGHT


the eastern section has a more timeless feel with its historic connections, courtesy of Osbourne House. The town comes to life during Cowes Week (the regatta is approaching its 200th anniversary) when its bursting at the seams with smartly dressed sailors and party revellers a plenty. It takes place at the beginning of August each year and plays host to 40 daily races with up to 1,000 boats and 8,500 competitors involved. I halted near the harbour and wandered happily through narrow attractive streets, vibrantly decorated with colourful nautical bunting still advertising the world famous sailing event. I stopped briefly for a drink and attentively watched the animated baristas expertly create all types of expresso


style coffees, before continuing my stroll through the snake like streets. The overall experience was one of extreme maritime pleasure, not for the first time I felt like I had stumbled into the pages of a Dickens novel. The climb out of town was hard work, I relocated the cycleway and pedalled back towards Newport. I was surprised to now find the route slightly congested, occupied by all manner of cyclists and the odd jogger, actually I had probably hit rush hour. The riding was uncomplicated, the setting idyllic all the way to Newport.


Newport had also become slightly congested with motor vehicles and people, I had noticed early in the day several signs pointed the way to Carisbrooke Castle so


I decided to take an impromptu detour. The castle is located a short distance from main part of the town, surprisingly close to a substantial residential area. Carisbrooke Castle is steeped in an intriguing history, it’s been lived in since before the Norman conquest. It’s had an amazing past, predominately used as a fortress protecting England from invasion but recently it was used as a home and is now owned by English Heritage. The experience offers something for everyone, the lovely chapel of St Nicholas is small and stunningly beautiful and was re-built to mark the 250th anniversary of Charles I death in 1649. I also enjoyed the Great Hall and Museum, especially the reconstruction


66 www.cyclingworldmag.com


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