HOW was your 2021?

It might not have turned out the way we hoped, with Covid still looming large, but 2021 was a busy year for the Isle of Wight.

Here at the County Press, we looked back to see what the most popular stories were online over the last 12 months.

For a moment let's put aside the still-popular Covid daily stats stories and court cases some people would rather forget, the highly desirable properties for sale and the many letters to the editor....

While these are among our most popular articles, we've pulled together the rest of the most-read articles, for you to remember all over again.

It was the year we didn't have much of a rail service but then got new trains.

The tracks were quiet for most of 2021 but there was a lot of interest in the coming of the new (OK, new to the IW) Island Line trains.

Click here to see some aerial shots of that railway work before the trains came into service.

Isle of Wight County Press:

OK, we weren't going to mention the daily Covid stats, but one day in January 2021 stood out for all the wrong reasons.

It was the day 459 people got confirmed with Covid.

The shocking figure took the Island's cumulative total to 2,446 since the pandemic began, which seemed a lot at the time, but nearly a year on and more than 21,500 have now had it. 

Is there a black panther on the loose?

One family was convinced they saw a beast of a big cat up near Lynnbottom Tip back in February.

In May there were local elections and the build up to it provided a wealth of stories.

One of the big twists on election night was the loss of Dave Stewart's seat to Green Party representative Claire Critchison.

Isle of Wight County Press:

The story was among our most-read of the year, along with our live election blog, covering all the results as they came in.

In June, we reported on the extent of the rental crisis, which hasn't improved in the months since, and looked at possible solutions. Help was being offered by Citizens Advice but the situation remains sadly bleak.

Events were able to start going ahead and Ventnor Fringe was one of the first to kick off post-restrictions.

It proved to be the biggest Fringe yet and was well supported by both Islanders and holidaymakers.

Isle of Wight County Press:

There were endless stories about the cross-Solent ferries.

Passengers had to contend with breakdowns, cancellations, queues at the terminals, and high prices.

At Wightlink there were complaints about bookings being changed and long waits to get through on the phone. 

At Red Funnel there were staff shortages and a range of mechanical difficulties, as well as gridlock in East Cowes.

Not to mention endless problems with the Floating Bridge all throughout 2021.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Of course, billionaires didn't have the same sort of problems.

Stories about superyachts proved popular, like the one about the Le Grand Bleu, pictured above, which was spotted off Bembridge and was formerly owned by Roman Abramovich.

Dolphins also played in the waters off the Isle, and were spotted entertaining the tourists at the famous Needles rocks off the Isle of Wight.

Ann Malone took some wonderful photos from aboard the Ramblin’ Rose pleasure cruise off Alum Bay

Isle of Wight County Press:

In August, the Island was beset with heavy rain, despite tourists flocking here for the renowned sunshine.

Things got so bad, the beautiful Cascades road down to Ventnor seafront started lifting up and there was a minor landslide along at Wheelers Bay.

Our live coverage was among the summer's most-read stories

The weather improved just in time for the Isle of Wight Festival in September.

Again, our live coverage of the event was among the most-read stories on our website, and we kept a live blog running throughout the four days.

Last-minute line-up changes and picture galleries kept everyine up to date but the most read story was about Liam Gallagher falling out of a helicopter and injuring himself after his headline set.

It was around this time, the Island was introduced to the new band Wet Leg, who have since gone on to have an extraordinary rise to prominance, with an appearance on Later with Jools Holland.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Another popular story was about the demolition of a landmark across The Solent - the last remaining Fawley chimney

At Christmas, everyone loved the lights at Goldcrest Close, see the video below.

There were hundreds more stories to choose from, to sum up 2021. Use the search bar on the website to find your favourites.

Thanks for reading our articles and buying the newspaper throughout 2021. 

We've been there for the Island since 1884 and look forward to bringing you the news during 2022!

To subscribe to our website, click here