For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move. ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

Saturday, 15 December 2012

South West Coast Path. Day 17: Weymouth To Lulworth Cove

Looking back at Weymouth across Weymouth Bay. I did not especially like Weymouth when I arrived (it seemed too big and busy and tatty round the edges), but it took on a warmer glow later that evening from the plush interior of a sea front Chinese restaurant. Perhaps it was something to do with the comforting sizzling beef, the noodles and the wine?   

What a glorious day it was —  one of the best days weather-wise of the whole journey. The sea was blue, the sky was blue and the sun hardly stopped shining. It was cold, but, hey, this was December 1st!  

Apart from the beautiful Somerset coast, and Cornwall's remote Lizard peninsula, this was some of the best scenery on the whole coastal path. The Dorset-shire downlands swept in waves before me like an endless, natural switchback. And just look at those white cliffs! 

'Two roads diverged in a yellow wood and sorry I could not travel both...' Or, in this case, two roads diverged in a yellow field. Resisting a compulsive itch to head for the intriguingly-named Scratchy Bottom, I turned right for Lulworth Cove. I wonder what I missed? Ants in my pants?

Wonderful cliffscape. See that steep path I've just come down? Well, I'm now half-way up the other side. Up and down, up and down — the theme of the trip. 

I surveyed the next staggering vista and groaned at the prospect of yet another punishing slope. Note the single sea stack on the bottom-right.

A better view of that chalk pinnacle.

This is the rock arch of Durdle Door, one of the most well-known geological features in England...

... and this is the lovely St Oswald's Bay...

... and this is the equally stunning, scallop-shaped Lulworth Cove in the late afternoon sun. I sensed another fine day was in store.

14 comments:

George said...

These photos, which I enlarged on my screen, were especially stunning. The last photo, with the late afternoon sun bathing that spot on the shore, was really quite moving. I was also intrigued with how the paths run so close to the edges of the cliffs. Did you ever feel uneasy about this? Some of my coastal walking guidebooks warn walkers that the cliff walks can be especially dangerous during times of high wind gusts.

The Solitary Walker said...

This day, and the next, were really quite special, George — the fine, clear weather and the captivating scenery. Yes, the paths do sometimes run quite close to the edge, but there's no real problem if you have your wits about you. There were a couple of exposed places the guide book talked of I was worried about — but in the end they were absolutely fine. A frisson of possible danger, rather than the real thing.

Anonymous said...

Glorious photographs. What a joy to see them.

from,

Maureen Weldon

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks for your comment, Maureen!

dritanje said...

Glad you had a sunny day, solitary walker, and the photographs reflect this, all this blue water and empty beaches and the waves of hills/cliffs, really lovely. Well done once again! Perhaps to get to 'scratchy bottom' one might have to negotiate some gorse/whin bushes?

Trevor Woodford said...

Some really nice images here of my regular coastal walk....I am glad that you enjoyed it.
Looking forward to seeing the next section bringing you to the end at the Studland Chain Ferry....

-Trevor

Trevor Woodford said...

Just following on from my last comment....
I hope that you made it to the ferry before it went off for its bi-annual refit...Long way round otherwise and a pity to miss out on that last little section past the ranges etc from Lulworth.....

-Trevor

Vagabonde said...

I looked at your two last posts – the photos are sensational. The country looks so open and big, and devoid of people. Do you meet many other walkers or are you usually alone, solitary as you say? I guess you have specialized maps? I would be afraid to walk so close to the top of a cliff – now that I am older that is. I remember during holidays in Normandy when I was a teenager walking on top of cliffs near Dieppe looking for old German blockhaus (and finding them too.)

Susan Scheid said...

Absolutely stunning photos, and boy, did you ever earn that beautiful day! Extra good of you, given that to share it with all of us armchair travelers.

The Solitary Walker said...

Yes, perhaps, dritanje! Good thing I took the right-hand path. I'd been scratched enough by the whin and the gorse already.

Watch this space, Trevor! I won't reveal much more at this stage but, suffice to say, the range walks were open (it was a Sunday) and the ferry was closed!

Vagabonde — normally I'm on my own, though if I'm abroad on the French and Spanish Caminos I'm always meeting up with fellow travellers, sometimes walking a way with them. I find it's difficult finding a companion (a) with the same interests (i.e. trekking through mud, gorse and whin bushes, winter storms etc.) and (b) whose intimate company I can bear day after day. Though, believe me, I'm not anti-social or some desperate loner — far from it! I also find that walking alone has unique pleasures, e.g. the experience is more intense, more creative and one registers much more.

Thanks for your visit, Susan. Yes, that day (and the next) were truly deserved, I think.

The Solitary Walker said...

PS Vagabonde, I don't really carry many maps. I bought en route a couple of detailed OS (Ordnance Survey) maps, and my guide book also contained maps of each section. Normally, though, I'm pretty lazy, and can't be bothered to get them out of my backpack — which does mean I go wrong occasionally. But when you're lost, it's only temporary, and it's fun using any skills you may have to orient yourself back on course. I always told myself: keep the sea on your right, and you're fine!

Ruth said...

Just phenomenal! The cliffs, the rolling land, the tiny paths, the sea. And to think of what it takes a human to traverse it, in order to get to this day, this place, well it cost you something, didn't it? So the rewards are well deserved.

But sometimes one wishes to be a bird.

The Solitary Walker said...

It costs us all, Ruth — to get where we are. By whatever means.

The Solitary Walker said...

PS ... and, yes,sometimes I just want to fly away...