Experience the Great Outdoors: By Sea and Air
Discovering the Isle of Wight by air or by boat is a great way to see areas of the countryside that you wouldn’t find any other way. See the amazing views from the top of the downs, and find coves that are inaccessible by foot and roam farmland across the rolling hills.
Tack-Isle Adventures in Bembridge offer two kayaking sessions around the eastern end of the Island’s coastline. The Explorer is a two hour paddle to either Priory Bay or Seaview, in a westerly direction, or you can turn right out of the harbour and paddle to Bembridge Lifeboat Station and back.
The Tourer session is a three hour adventure all the way to Ryde or, more excitingly, to Whitecliff Bay and the awesome chalk cliffs of Culver, with their nostril caves. You can paddle back, or, if you prefer, you can arrange to be met at your destination with mountain bikes and clothing to cycle back to the base at Bembridge Harbour. Both of these trips are for those who have some kayaking experience – if you’re a beginner, book a two hour Splash session to get to grips with your kayak.
Adventure Activities Isle of Wight (AAIoW) offer kayaking around the white cliffs of Freshwater that tower above you – at the highest point they are 482 feet high! They also have caves in them – some of them quite large – and secret beaches to be discovered. A day kayaking with them might involve visiting these coves and their beaches and caves, snorkelling in the shallows and you might get to eat your lunch (which is included in the price) at Scratchells Bay, a beach in a huge circular hollowed out indentation in the chalk cliffs that is only accessible from the sea. If you’re lucky with the weather you might get out to the Needles and see these chalk stacks rising out of the sea up close and personal.
AAIoW also offer a two hour adventure around the same location that is suitable for beginners - a fun and safe introduction to kayaking in this stunning location. If conditions are suitable you’ll get to surf the ocean waves, or ride the swells through the gaps in the cliff walls, but all under the watchful eye of your extremely competent, and highly qualified guides. You may also get to paddle under the cliffs, and visit the caves and sheltered bays, depending on the tides and conditions.
Soaring above the cliffs, hanging from beneath a brightly coloured canopy like a bird, is the perfect way to see the coast and landscape from an entirely new perspective. Take to the skies in a tandem paraglider with Paddy Court at High Adventure Activities or David Botha at Butterfly Paragliding. You get to fly with a highly qualified and experienced instructor, and glide above the rugged cliffs if weather conditions are favourable – you may even get to take control.
If you want to learn to fly your first lesson is over the land and typically you might get 20 feet off the ground or slightly higher. You fly solo on the first day but it will take you around 12 days’ tuition to fly solo over the cliffs.
Butterfly Paragliding is based right on top of the cliffs at Chale, and you take off from Dave’s garden and fly across this primordial beach with the waves crashing far below. Dave also offers B&B at his home, and there may be a bell tent or yurt in the garden to glamp in, and the local pub, the Wight Mouse is just down the road.
High Adventure more often fly in the Compton Beach and west Wight area, including the high chalk cliffs of Tennyson Down, but there are over 20 sites across the island, both over land and coastline. “You can take a tandem flight off of the cliffs on your first day as long as the winds are at least 12mph,” said Paddy.
You can’t fly unless the wind conditions are favourable, so be prepared with a picnic because you may be sitting on top of a cliff, waiting for the wind – not a bad place to be on a sunny day.
10 July 2018