Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Saturday, 2 June 2012

SWCP 2012 - East Chaldon to Gaulter Gap (13 go for a roller-coaster ride)

18km (11 miles) doesn't sound much, but today's route along the Dorset coast was anything but a soft touch, especially for 13 folk with a wide spectrum of age and fitness.

There were some steep undulations - totalling around 1000 metres for the day, hence the 'roller-coaster' analogy. Some found these enjoyable - one of the Davids romped on ahead so far that he missed his lunch. Others suffered, particularly Liz, who claimed not to have been for a walk since last year's portion of this coast path. So she and Rachel baled out at Arish Mell and strolled up to the pub in East Lulworth for a taxi back to Church Knowle, where this year's SWCP HQ is situated in Primrose Cottage, next door to the New Inn.

The pub is so close that they offered to serve dinner to the 13 of us either in a private room, or a Very Private Room - Primrose Cottage's garden. That would have been good if today's hot, humid, mainly overcast weather hadn't deteriorated to the extent that waterproofs would have been needed for the 'garden' option.

Sadly the dull weather precluded stunning images from our amateur photographic skills - there were however a plethora of stunning white cliffs (pictured above), and Durdle Door (the lower picture) is a coastal rock feature that probably looks good in any weather.

From time to time one of the Sues slewed to a halt and brought out a gas stove. This allowed everyone to catch up and rest for a while. Andrew's crappy (sic) legs were consequently able to last until the very last stile before cramping up. It took him several minutes to hobble across the car park, before being whisked with the rest of us back to Primrose Cottage for tea and cake.

Earlier, the other Sue, a staunch Royalist, had produced a huge slab of CCS (chocolate caramel shortbread) emblazoned with a Union Jack that she claimed was food colouring. But why had my box of Humbrol enamel paints been left on the kitchen table?

Anyway, now there's only half a Union Jack.

The walk didn't have the sublime scenery of the Cornish sections of this trail, but it was enlivened by rugged coastal features and by the colourful flora - particularly dominant amongst which was Viper's Bugloss, Thrift, Herb Robert, Kidney Vetch, Bird's Foot Trefoil, Spurges, Red Valerian, Dog Rose, Speedwells and many more.

Today's route was highly populated between Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove. I have a clear memory of a visit to Lulworth Cove a few years ago. I'd spent a while compiling a report to the DPP (now known as the Crown Prosecution Service) on someone I considered to be a bit of a rogue. To my surprise, the case was taken up, and allocated to an enthusiastic novice in the police force. It eventually came to court in Dorchester. I was called as an 'expert witness' (I wasn't, but that meant there would be some nominal payment for my time - the police knew that there had been no payment up to that point). I waited in Dorchester for three days whilst the defence interrogated a series of bankers, and on one of those evenings I took the opportunity to visit Lulworth. Next day I was summoned and underwent extreme interrogation on the precise detail and timing of events several years in the past. I learnt a lot. Memorising my contemporaneous detailed notes during my days of waiting certainly helped. Being asked to describe 'fraudulent trading' in layman's terms to the jury was an ordeal. Fraudulent trading cases are not usually understood by juries, they are notoriously difficult to win. My evidence ended at lunchtime on the second day. I drove back to my office in Manchester without stopping. A message awaited me from the policeman who I'd been helping on the case. 'Plea changed. Guilty. Five years for Richard Lee.' The defence's abortive efforts to discredit my evidence had been their 'last throw'. So, Lulworth Cove brings memories.

Apologies for that interlude in this rather disjointed posting... Today we passed numerous burnt out tanks, and for part of our walk we were directed between a narrow band of yellow posts. The left hand posts warned of unexploded shells should we venture beyond them. The right hand posts warned of eroding cliffs that would deposit us into the surf far below should we stray beyond their bounds.

Single file seemed appropriate.

Tonight we enjoyed our private alcove and our meals at the New Inn. Especially Betty, who took great delight in slowly consuming her lonely dessert in front of twelve slavering spectators.

That's - sleep is taking over, but first - congratulations to the 'pixies', Andrew and Kate, on getting up Skiddaw, and thanks to Andy for all your comments - I was quite excited when I turned the phone on and found so many comments....


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