Thursday, 25 August 2011

Smugglers & Shipwrecks

A warm sunny morning greeted seven intrepid explorers on a recent Smugglers & Shipwrecks walk.

From Mottistone we walked up to the Neolithic Long Stone which marked the entrance of a communal burial chamber. The vertical stones were positioned so at dawn on midwinter's day the suns rays would shine between them, straight down the whole length of the tomb & awaken the spirits of the dead.

In the 18th century there was an increase in shipwrecks & smuggling.  There were approximately three shipwrecks per year. In total the admiralty have found 4000 shipwrecks around the Island. Ships timbers were used in the construction of houses, boats & churches.  The most common merchandise was alcohol, in particular wine, brandy & rum.

The first smuggler to be caught was the Rector of Freshwater who was caught for smuggling wool to France in 1395.

We enjoyed some fantastic views along the Back of the Wight from Blackgang in the east to the Needles & across the Solent to Old Harry Rocks in Studland, Dorset to the west.

The Island was once connected to the mainland but when the sea level rose around
7000 BC the Solent which was then a river cut through the chalk ridge & thus an island was created.

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