Saturday, 28 May 2011
Saturday 28 May 2011 - SWCP Day 1 - Abbotsbury to Weymouth
Sue and I have been strolling around the SWCP (South West Coast Path) at this time of year for quite a number of years now. We have got all the way from Minehead to Weymouth, with just one small missing link for me in North Devon, and a bit more for Sue.
In recent years the TGO Challenge and other commitments have relegated this trip to the autumn, but this year a pre-prepared bag enabled me to spend just 20 minutes at home between returning with JJ and Graham B from Montrose and setting off for three days on the SWCP, based in Weymouth.
Yes, Gayle, I seem to have brought the dodgy weather with me, but I'm sure the 'Phreerunner Effect' will result in a 'reversal of fortunes', as Anne Robinson would say, shortly...
Thanks again for the comments, especially re TGOC kit, which I'll add to when I finally get some time at home. That's needed soon as, having spent the week before the Challenge in Scotland, my supply of usable kit and clothing is dwindling!
Today a bus delivered our intrepid party of ten - Sue, me, Andrew, David, Sue, Dave, Betty, Gaynor and Hilde to the pretty village of Abbotsbury.
Coffee was taken and various members of the party attempted to lighten their loads by leaving items in the tea shop. "We acquire a wide range of walking poles and prescription spectacles" commented the friendly owner.
A stroll down towards the beach afforded us a sea view. But our route today took us inland of West Fleet and East Fleet, the lagoons that are protected from the sea in all but the stormiest conditions by the high barrier beyond - Chesil Beach - along which we did not attempt to venture.
The inland route was pretty handy in today's strong winds, as it provided some welcome respite from the cold draught, which admittedly was on our backs.
Elevenses (pictured), featuring a freshly baked batch of CCS (Chocolate Caramel Shortbread), were soon taken before we pressed on past fields of Ox-eye Daisies to our lunch stop in another sheltered spot near Langton Herring.
The going was easy, much more so than on the roughty toughty coastlines of previous years' trips, so we soon arrived at a random spot near East Fleet where Liz, the eleventh member of our party, was patiently waiting after a long bus journey from Exeter.
We ambled on, along an increasingly 'industrialised' coastline, past a firing range and an army training ground - interspersed with a camp site and a holiday park. The verges were full of sweet smelling flowers.
Ferry Bridge, in Weymouth, was reached at 3.40pm. An enticing looking café - the Crab House Café - had closed for the afternoon, but a nearby ice cream kiosk provided sustenance. That gave us the energy to continue for another four km or so to our B+B.
Our walk was brightened by some chirpy chaffinches before we descended to the ferry terminal, where we were confronted by a huge black cloud. Leakage from that was surprisingly minimal, and we all managed to stay vaguely dry, for a while, until our shower cubicles were pressed into use.
So it was a very clean bunch of diners that reconvened at the Red Lion in Winfrith for an excellent nosh and a sideways glance at Man Utd being thrashed by Barca in the Champions League final.
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