Took a train to Weymouth and set off along the coast to the sunny Isle of Portland. Around the Isle with its Olympic preparations to host the sailing events, old and existing quarries for its famous Portland stone. Powerful currents raced off Portland Bill. The long strip of Chesil Beach was invitingly illuminated in the evening sun - my companion tomorrow. I met two cameramen filming ravens for "Spring Watch". Thank you for the donation! Tired feet. Stayed overnight in Weymouth. What a lovely place.
Wednesday 16th June 2010
Weymouth to West Bay. The beautiful weather continued. Along "The Fleet" with Chesil Beach watching over me, its cobbles slowly turning to fine gravel the further west I walked, past Abbotsbury and its Swannery hosting hundreds of mute swans. To the east, the Isle of Portland dominated the landscape. In the evening my feet told me it was time to stop at West Bay.
Thursday 17th June 2010
Another stunning day, and I had the pleasure of Henry
Haslam's company. A keen walker, Henry kindly shortened his pace to accommodate my flagging feet. Over Golden Cap, at 189 metres (619 ft.), the highest cliff on the south coast, and providing far-reaching views from Portland Bill in the east to Start Point in the west. Here, another inland diversion of the cliff path threatened due to more landslips, but with the tide going out, we took to the beach after our picnic lunch and headed towards Lyme Regis. I found a fossil on the beach embedded within a rock! Through Lyme Regis and past The Cobb, the 183 metre (600 ft.) long stone breakwater protecting the harbour, and then into the dense woodland of Undercliffs National Nature Reserve. From my perspective, this became a long and slightly tedious path. Henry turned round to make the journey back to his car parked in West Bay by bus, and so I continued alone and endured this jungle environment for another few miles. By the time I reached Seaton, my feet were completely exhausted. Too late for food, a pint of Guinness and packets of crisps restored me, followed by a deep sleep in a comfortable room!
Monday 21st June 2010
I took the train back down from London and arrived back in Seaton in time to watch the sun start to set over the calm waters of Seaton Bay.
Tuesday 22nd June 2010
From Seaton to Beer, with its narrow stream funnelling down the main street, and on to Branscombe Beach upon whose shores the stricken container ship, MSC Napoli, spilled its containers in 2007 sparking scenes reminiscent of Whisky Galore! The beauty of the beach is now completely restored and a massive anchor from the ship sits on the sea front as a monument to this historical chapter. On to Sidmouth for bed and rest.
Wednesday 23rd June 2010
Feeling run down I realised I was running a temperature - so I wasn't just exhausted from the strenuous path! Rather than make it to Exmouth that night, I paced myself gently in the brilliant sunshine and found time to sleep on the banks of the lovely River Otter, waking to the ratchet of a fisherman's reel and a tug-of-war battle with a three pound 'mullet' before reaching Budleigh Salterton. I found a room above a pub, had an early and light dinner before getting some R&R.
Thursday 24th June 2010
So today I awoke feeling much better and started my short walk along the path to Exmouth. I met and shook hands with the ferryman who would take me across the Exe on the following Tuesday before taking a train back to London.
I will back back on the path from Exmouth on Tuesday 28nd June, and you can follow my progress at twitter@philipwilliams . Come and find me!
Tuesday 29th June 2010
Took the train down to Exeter and on to Exmouth. Walked into Exmouth town itself. Then a five minute ferry crossing to Starcross. Coastal path through Dawlish and along sea walls parallel to the railway track. Teignmouth is a nice place. People were catching mackerel at the entrance to the harbour. Another short (and free ) ferry crossing to Shaldon - a really lovely place.
Wednesday 30th June 2010
Shaldon to Torquay. Glorious weather.