Birthplace of living legend Jeremy Irons. Where the first hovercraft in the world was built, in Irons’ hometown, by the way, and is now home to Hovertravel, the oldest and last commercial hovercraft company in the world, celebrating their 50th birthday in 2015. Home of the UK’s oldest marathon, run since 1957, and the UK’s oldest amusement park, Blackgang Chine, opening in 1843. Home of one of the richest dinosaur localities in Europe and home to the UK’s first purpose built dinosaur museum. Home of Yarmouth Pier, the UK’s longest timber pier open to the public. Ranked in the top 10 best cycling locations in the world. Home of the world’s first radio station, set up by Marconi in 1897. And it’s the sunniest place in the UK, averaging between 1,800 and 2,100 hours of sunshine each year. Today, we’re on the Dinosaur Isle, The Isle of Wight.
The Isle of Wight is a friendly, gentle and extremely safe island county in England, just off the southern coast, surrounded by the English Channel. It is the largest island in England at 147 square miles, with the second largest population of any English island with just over 147,000 people.
The county flag was designed by John Graney. The blue and white lines represent the ocean and the diamond shape roughly symbolises the shape of the island. The notch at the top of the diamond symbolises the inlet of the River Medina, at the north of the island. The motto of the county is, ‘All This Beauty Is of God’.
It’s a land proud of its rich maritime and industrial heritage, an incredibly diverse island famed for its gorgeous beaches, dramatic chalk coastlines and rural locales. The locals have a strong love of cricket, football, sailing and walking. Outdoor activities are so popular, the county has become a hunting ground for outdoor activity enthusiasts from around the world. Yet, despite all this excitement and action, what the locals enjoy most is a slower pace of life. It’s a wild and remote land, a world of its own, a place where one can, quite easily lose sight of everyday life. A peaceful, relaxing and quiet land, a place of the deepest and warmest embrace. Truly beautiful indeed.
There are sights to see such as The Needles, a row of three stacks of chalk jutting dramatically out of the ocean, sumptuous, not harsh but rather, amazing and wondrous, a boscaresque icon that one would find hard not to be enamoured by.
And then there’s the mirable Osborne House, like something plucked from some exotic and remote Italian hillside, opening in 1851 for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert as a summer retreat. Indeed, it is a homage to the Italian Renaissance style, utterly captivating and charming, a little gem surrounded by the most beautiful and ethereal gardens.
But I think the best sight of the county is Quarr Abbey, located between the villages of Binstead and Fishbourne. This brick masterpiece was opened in 1912 and it speaks a song of endless poetry, a stunning and Elysian wonder that effortlessly leaves one breathless. Such beauty is almost otherworldly, the complexities and intricacies of the different shapes and forms combine to create something almost beyond any human capability, a building radiating a supreme elegance and grandeur. An incicurable beauty almost ageless, truly worthy of some heavenly realm.
The Isle of Wight. The county of amazing scenery and endless sunshine.
Images (Click on Them to Enlarge)
1) The flag of The Isle of Wight
2) Quarr Abbey
3) Osborne House
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