I admit to being fascinated by hovercraft but I have left it until now to hop onto one to travel the short ten minute journey via HoverTravel from Portsmouth over to the Isle of Wight for a day trip. And I am so glad I did – I’ll be using it again soon no doubt!
If like me you grew up in Southsea, then the seafront roar of the jets used by the hovercraft always attract attention like bees to pollen and you can’t keep your eyes off it. In fact today, it’s still the fastest way to reach the Isle of Wight (travelling up to 45 knots) and HoverTravel has been known to carry up to 800,000* passengers per year. (*2009 figure). It’s a wonderful invention – pure genius in fact – and I just can’t understand why they aren’t used more.
It turns on a sixpence, is satisfyingly powerful (and noisy!) and it zooms into the distance in the blink of an eye. What a great little mover …
This Southsea to Ryde service is also the world’s long running commercial hovercraft and the only scheduled passenger hovercraft service in Europe – strange though that may seem. It’s particularly ideal for the Ryde route as it is able to travel over land and sea meaning the low tides on the Isle of Wight are no barrier to it and its able to land on the beach rather than have to moor out to sea at the end of the long, long Ryde Pier!
It’s really easy to book online and if on the day you want to change your return booking, if there’s space, there’s no problem. Once on the island, you land right next to both the bus station and the train station so you have terrific transport links at your fingertips.
So do you use a hovercraft in your own home too? Well if you had the old Hoover Constellation (now a collector’s piece), you would have – it was a “domestic hovercraft” as is the Flymo which of course is an “air-cushion lawn mower”. Finally, a little known fact – the MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club) owns a “hover cover” that it uses regularly to cover the pitch at Lord’s Cricket Ground in inclement weather.
Now admit it, you didn’t know that, did you?
When I travelled via HoverTravel, my return trip was just £15.00.
Contributor & Photographer: Sue Lowry
Follow A3Traveller on Twitter: @A3Traveller and Sue Lowry on Google +, YouTube, Linkedin, Flickr and Pinterest. I also operate another blog for my company, Magellan PR – http://www.magellanstraits.com. They can be followed on Twitter: @MagellanPR, on Google+, on YouTube, on Pinterest and on Facebook.