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To Portsmouth-Stoke's Bay-Wootton-Brading


THE Island is not only attractive for its lovely scenery, but to persons who visit it for the benefit of the sea air, and of excursions on the water, it presents advantages which are not exceeded in any part of the kingdom. The Solent, which flows like a beautiful river, presents, in its general aspect, so calm and smooth a surface, that the most timid may sail on it for hours, without feeling the alarm which is created by sailing on the waters which open to the boundless ocean; the mighty billows of which, rolling upon the shore, even in their calmest state, produce a gentle tossing which alarms those who have but little courage, and destroys the pleasure of the voyage.

Cowes and Ryde present facilities for water excursions not easily surpassed. The variety of points to which the visitor may go, lying within an hour's sail from shore to shore, are such as give it a great recommendation; while the land and wood on each side, afford a pleasant prospect; and at the same time, give

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the mind an idea of safety, which is not so easily obtained on the wide swelling ocean. The wherries which lie at the piers, are fitted up as pleasure boats, and are, perhaps, without exception, the finest in the kingdom. Their size, their beautiful structure, their very clean appearance, and the way in which they are manned, give them the highest recommendation. These have an excellent character as good sea boats, and brave the heaviest storm with perfect safety: they are engaged in a sailing match every season; and the contest, which discovers both the excellence of the wherries, and the skill of the watermen, is very amusing. This attracts great attention, and is a matter of question whether it is not quite equal to the Regatta with yachts and cutters of larger dimensions; as these fine sailing boats, being within the range of observation, enable the spectators to watch the motions more narrowly, and see the varied skill of the watermen in making the different tacks.

In giving a sketch of the excursions by water, we find that one of the most favourite is the sail through Portsmouth Harbour, and a visit to the principal ships in the station. This is an object of great curiosity; a man of war with the ship's company on board, her stores and implements of war, together with the cleanliness, order, and activity which pervade the whole, is a sight that will well repay the attention of the visitor. Admission to the ships may generally be obtained by an application to the commanding officer. This excursion, if the naval objects are the points of attraction, will consume nearly the day; otherwise the voyage itself may be performed in about an hour. The scene is truly lively. The towns of Portsmouth and Gosport are seen just at the entrance of the harbour; and at a little distance to the east, a small part of the town of Portsea, just fronting the water; while

in one part of it appears the Gun-wharf, and in the other, a fine range of buildings, comprising the storehouses and work-shops of the Dock-yard. The perspective of the harbour is very fine; and the range of battle-ships lying in ordinary at its extremity, adds much to the interest of the scene.

If the visitor is fond of a long water excursion, and is careful to inquire of the watermen exactly the time of the tide, so as to secure a certain passage, (as the point beyond the entrance of the harbour is a long flat surface of mud, except at the time of high water,) he may have a most beautiful trip to Portchester, and survey its fine old castle, which frowns with awful grandeur on the placid waters beneath it. This venerable pile is an object of deep interest: its antiquity is very great-the precise date is now unknown, but it is probable it was erected considerably prior to the Christian era: it has mingled in its ruins the fragments of Roman, Saxon, and Norman architecture; and its extended walls, its large keep, and its lofty tower, all hoary with time, and the little chapel which is just within its gloomy gates, make it an object of great


But the mere excursion, if limited to Portsmouth, is heightened in its pleasure by a view of the DockYard. The visitor should sail to the Hard, Portsea, when he will land near the gates of this celebrated arsenal. Admittance may be obtained by an application at the gates. The survey of its stores, its docks, its steam engine, with the beautiful variety of blocks, naval apparatus, and all the complete machinery connected with it, will amply repay the time which may be spent in examining this vast scene of mechanical skill and maritime greatness.

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