Saturday, 15 June 2013

Eastbourne and Pencarrow

Today is Saturday, and it’s already four days since we went for our last bike ride. We rode in Eastbourne on Tuesday afternoon, but I have been too busy to write it up.

It was calm and reasonably mild, though somewhat cloudy. The forecast for the rest of the week was not very promising (though they often get it wrong!), so at lunchtime I suggested we go for a ride before the weather packed up. A nice sedate ride on the flat would be just right, as I had already done some physical jerks at the gym in the morning. We don’t want to overdo things, now, do we? So we decided on the foreshore at Eastbourne.

Delightful marine-inspired decorations on this Eastbourne house (photo by John)

We parked at the entrance to Eastbourne, and set off down the road, heading south. Once past the wharf and the main shopping street, there is a lovely “promenade” between the beach and the houses, very pleasant riding. We had misjudged the temperature, however. Over on this side of the harbour, there was quite a chilly southerly breeze, and I had to put on the extra jersey I had brought with me, but John had to go back to the car to get his.

So while waiting, I loitered about, taking photos of the beach, and peering into people’s gardens. There are some quite interesting houses along there and some very nice gardens. I spotted a mosaic letterbox, a stone seat built into the wall facing the beach, some sculptures and carvings, stylish steps leading up to gorgeous gates. The aloes are out in full flower, in great mounds of orange spikes. I am not much of a gardener myself, but I enjoy looking at other people’s gardens.

Aloes in full bloom

It seems the residents make the beach their own, judging from the two garden seats I spotted on the pebbly beach in front of one house.

Someone's special seats with a view

We had to make a little detour into the pohutukawa-lined streets because we could not ride through the sports ground adjacent to the beach. The houses here are mainly beautiful well-maintained old houses, with a sprinkling of interesting, rather more modern houses.

One of the lovely Eastbourne houses (photo by John)

Back onto the promenade and then past the Eastbourne bus terminal, and a rather colourfully decorated bus shelter.

I love this bus shelter, especially its messages

Beyond the bus garage is the Wahine Memorial, which features one of the salvaged masts of the interisland ferry Wahine, which sank in Wellington Harbour on 10 April 1968, with the loss of 51 lives. Many bodies were washed up on beaches along this side of the harbour, and many of the survivors managed to land here, despite the rocks and the dreadful stormy conditions. On the opposite side of the harbour is Seatoun Beach, where other survivors landed. There is a Wahine Memorial Park there too.

The salvaged mast of the Wahine, at the Wahine Memorial

A little further on we got to the gate which provides access to the Pencarrow track. Though we had planned to ride just on the paved Eastbourne waterfront, I agreed to carry on “for a bit” on this gravel track.

Well, it wasn’t just “a bit” — we ended up going as far as the Pencarrow Lighthouse. It really is a beautiful area, and the gravel track wasn’t too heavy-going, so I didn’t mind. There were some potholes and puddles, but there was plenty of room to go around them.

Plenty of room to go around the puddles (photo by John)

The lighthouse is very elusive. The first time you see it, you think “not much further to go, it’s just around the next point”. But no, it’s not around the next point, nor the next, nor even the next after that. I lost count of how many bays and points we had to go around, but we eventually got there.

The Pencarrow Lighthouse (photo by John)

There is quite a bit of variation in the bays and beaches – some rocky and wild, others wide, smooth and empty, others strewn with driftwood. In some of the bays, in the lee of the hill, there wasn’t a breath of wind and it actually felt quite balmy, while a few dozen metres up the road, there would be a chilly southerly.

Some beaches were rocky ...

...others were wide, smooth and empty ...  (photo by John)
... and some were strewn with driftwood (photo by John)

On our way back, we saw the Interislander ferry Aratere heading out towards Cook Strait. Quite an impressive sight, silhouetted against the Wellington hills and the glistening water.

The Interislander ferry Aratere (photo by John)

Again, a satisfying ride, rather longer than we had intended – two and a half hours, instead of just one hour as planned. But it’s great to be able to take the opportunities as they come up, and this one was definitely a bonus.

Gorse flowers - soon the hills will be covered in gold!

No comments:

Post a Comment