Tuesday, 31 May 2011
Monday 30 May 2011 - SWCP Day 3 - Warwick Court Guest House in Weymouth to The Old Bakehouse in Winfrith Newburgh
Weather: dreich, in a gentle south coast sort of way.
As expected, today dawned wet. But it was only vaguely drizzly as Andrew, Liz, Jill, Sue and I set off down Weymouth's esplanade past hungry herring gulls that one member of our party thought were albatrosses! Even the beach huts were being tarted up in preparation for next year's Olympics, when the sailing events are being held here. In fact, some of our fellow guests are members of the Spanish Sailing Team, on their fourth 'reconnaissance' visit!
Elsewhere in Weymouth, road changes and other works in preparation for the Olympics have caused sufficient disruption to bring some of the local populace to regret that their town is hosting such an event.
Betty and Dave had gone home due to Dave's need to work, so it was a bedraggled foursome of Sue, David, Gaynor and Hilde who joined the five of us at a typical seaside café at Bowleaze Cove. We'd reached it before the rain strengthened, so it was a rather odd sight of dryish walkers meeting the occupants of a car who looked as if they had been through a car wash with the windows open.
The coast path now rose up some meaningful cliffs as we pressed on towards Osmington Mills and Ringstead. Foghorns blared through the mist; visibility for a while was less than 100 metres - lower than at any point on my TGO Challenge route except Hound Hillock. Yellow iris and honeysuckle glistened in the weak light.
By the time we reached the picture postcard setting of the Smugglers Inn, the weather was clearing, but tables laid out for hordes of Bank Holiday visitors were deserted.
It was only noon, so we eschewed the delights of this place and continued on to a well stocked kiosk at Ringstead, where John from France joined our group for a spell.
The rain had eased by now and we enjoyed the final section of this year's tramp in fairer weather and in the fine scenery of the chalky cliffs that lead towards Durgle Door and Lulworth Cove. The path was lined with the distinctive white flowers of Nottingham Catchfly.
The sheer cliffs rise to around 150 metres hereabouts. Spectacular scenery even in today's dull weather. Others took a variety of short cuts across The Warren, past a couple of beacons, to gain the excellent footpath to East Chaldon. Meanwhile Sue (pictured above) and I continued as far as we could along the crumbling chalky coastal cliffs, finally turning inland along a permissive path shortly before reaching Bat's Head.
We soon caught up, and Colin, who instigated these SWCP trips in the mid 1990s, turned up to walk with us for the last couple of miles and join the tea party at The Old Bakehouse, where we finished this year's section of the coast path at around 3.45pm. Very enjoyable the tea party was too.
Finely honed plans to return to Weymouth were scuppered by the designated driver having left their keys in Weybridge, but a combination of Colin and the X53 bus came to the rescue, and our trip ended happily with a nice meal washed down with Ringwood Brewery's Best Bitter at The Rock.
Thanks, everyone, for another great trip.
Sent from the M5 on a gloriously sunny morning ... Ho hum!
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