Saturday, 31 December 2011

I Had a Ticket to Ryde on the Bus last Monday

Ryde's long pier with the catamaran dock and rail station out to sea.
"I've got a ticket to Ride" is a famous song by the Beatles, but "I had a ticket to Ryde," a nice little seaside town on the Isle of Wight just a few miles from my hotel in Sandown.  The town has a very long pier, opened in July 1889 and  stretching out to sea for .5 of a mile. A ferry terminal stands at the end and needs to remain in deep water, even when the tide is out.  There is a rail link to the terminal, electrified in 1967, and  the pier provides a good walk,  when it is not raining of course!   Fortunately last Monday it was only "blowing a gale of wind" as a friend of mine from Suffolk used to say, but it was bracing and I felt good.  I eventually reached the cafe at the ferry terminal,  where I sat and watched the world and the catamarans go by. 
The town of Ryde with the remains of an old pier.
The sign on the little pavilion on the pier reads, "No entry, fishing or swimming," sensible advice in view of the rusting remains of old piling from a previous part of the pier.  The railings here were very attractive and probably modern copies of the originals, as I think the pier is a listed monument.  Ryde sits on the seafront with a steep hill behind, I'm glad I went back up on the bus with my bus pass.  Osbourne House, the royal residence designed by Prince Albert for his wife Queen Victoria is just on the other side of the island.  In the Isle of Wight, you are never far from the next town.
A catamaran docks to take on foot passengers.
There is a frequent ferry service to many towns in the Isle of Wight, but foot passengers have the advantage of fast connections, this catamaran must take about half an hour to arrive in Southampton, the car ferry needs 1.5 hours.
Two hovercraft berthed on Ryde beach, with a distant ferry terminal in the background.

Houses near the beach viewed through decorative iron railings.  These modern copies give the pier its old charm.

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