Another interesting place to visit on the Isle of Wight is The Needles Old Battery and New Battery. Actually both places are old, but one is much older. Before exploring the buildings I climbed up to the viewpoint near The New Battery to have a look at The Needles, and they do look quite sharp and spiky.I then noticed a sign stating that we were at a site that had been used for testing rockets.Here I am looking at the place where rockets were tested. Their engines were started up but they didn’t actually take off here, they were strapped into special gantries to keep them still. If everything worked the rockets were taken to Australia to be launched into space.I spotted a couple of rabbits hopping about but they didn’t wave. I think they are quite cautious when it comes to bears.The rockets gathered large amounts of information about space. A Black Arrow rocket launched the first British satellite. The satellite is no longer used but it still orbits around the earth twice a day.Here I am sat on a life size scale model of the Prospero satellite.In another room there was some equipment which was used for gathering information during the tests. I climbed up for a closer look but I didn’t touch!Here I am in the control room. It isn’t actually the original equipment, but I think it looks quite impressive.The Old Battery, which was built in 1861 by the Royal Engineers, and their site office was the first building constructed. Before going into The Cartridge Store I had to put on special clothing made of calico to ensure that I didn’t take any gunpowder out of the building.I was very excited to find an entrance to a tunnel leading to an 1899 searchlight emplacement. Here I am running back to the humans to tell them about it!I climbed down to the tunnel using a spiral staircase fitted by the National Trust; access used to be via a ladder.The tunnel was very long and quite a walk for a small bear.I was quite relieved to see the light at the end of the tunnel.There was an excellent view of The Needles from The Searchlight Emplacement. Fortunately I didn’t get my head stuck.The tearoom is situated inside The Signal Station. The hot quiche lorraine warmed me up as a cold wind had blown up outside. I managed to persuade the humans to buy me some cake too 🙂Yum yum yum……. tea soaked fruit cakeHere I am in front of The Signal Station in the sheltered pathway to the position finding cell.There was a special instrument in the Position Finding Cell for gathering information about the whereabouts of ships and the direction in which they were travelling.The weather was changing and I was quite worried that my fur could get a soaking so I had one last look at rather splendid Needles before we hurried off down the hill towards the car.I stopped briefly to admire the coloured sands of Alum Bay, which is situated next to The Needles.
All in all a great adventure – especially The Tunnel 🙂
Horace the Alresford Bear 27/4/17
For further information see: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/the-needles-old-battery-and-new-battery
Horace, you have reminded me of a magical day we had there when my boys were young (26&30now!). Glad the lovely cafe is still going strong. The IoW really is a special place,