Summer is well and truly here. Well, it was whilst I visited Dorset, with day time temperatures staying at around 28°c. Sun cream was on the agenda, along with ice cream of course. I would be camping during my time in Dorset. No better way to take in the sea breeze and feel at one with nature. My Dad joined me on this wandering. Any excuse for a break away!
Arrival day. We set off fairly early, wanting to avoid any traffic, which we nearly achieved until we reached Weymouth, then it was every car for itself. I think everyone were all heading for the beach. We were off to Charmouth beach, home of the Dorset Ichthyosaur. The best time for fossil hunting is in winter, after storms have collapsed parts of the cliff to reveal fresh clay, full of trilobites, belemnites and ammonites. The latter of which I managed to find an okay specimen.
Despite it’s relatively small size, around an inch in diameter, it was still a fairly well-preserved ammonite. A couple of hours had passed and my eyes had started to tire due to staring at rocks all morning. Time for a swim. The water was so calm and blue, you’d mistake it for somewhere in the Mediterranean if it weren’t for the pebbles rather than sand.
The sun had finally taken its toll. Time for an ice cream and a coastal drive to our first campsite. By the time the tent was pitched, the intense heat of the day had passed. The addition of a gentle breeze was welcomed with open arms. What’s on the menu for dinner I hear you ask? Traditional camping grub. Hotdogs, along with a big bag of kettle chips and a cool salsa dip. As the sun set on the end of the first day, I thought ahead to the coastal path climb from Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door. Would it be as hot as today? Yes.
The day began early. Waking up to sound of birds performing their morning chorus. We were up and about, tent packed up and ready for the day. Already I knew it was going to be a hot one. On the checklist today was Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door. Somewhere I hadn’t visited since I was a child.
This part of the Dorset coastline has a really interesting geological history. This rock formation is known as the “Stair Hole” and was formed where layers of soft and hard rock meet. One erodes faster than the other creating these arches in the rock.
Leaving Dad on the beach, not fancying the walk in the heat, I set off up the steep coastal path towards Durdle Door. Temperature was now a cool 29°c. I took my time on the walk, savouring all the views along the way. On the dusty path I passed groups of excited school children, clearly not bothered about the geography of the area. Who can blame them? What’s more exciting than being on a trip with a beach involved? Resisting the urge for an ice cream from a hill-top cafe, I soldiered on. When it felt like I’d never reach it, it appeared.
Not wanting to burn to a crisp in the heat of the day, I headed back towards Lulworth Cove for a swim and some lunch. On arrival, I found dad bobbing around in the clear blue water. As quickly as I could remove my shoes, I was in too. The Cove is so calm. All that can be heard was the sea lapping the shore, along with the occasional bark of a mischievous dog.
The afternoon was spent in and out of the water, in the shade of the chalky cliff that towered over the beach. Fish and chips and a honeycomb ice cream finished the afternoon off nicely. Time to pitch the tent at the second campsite, which so happened to be conveniently located near the cliff top of Durdle Door. No excuses to not head there for sunset. That’s exactly where I went. A perfect excuse to continue practicing with my, still relatively new camera.
As I walked the winding path back towards the campsite, I thought ahead to other sunsets I’ll encounter this year. In Morocco, with the Atlas Mountains as a back drop and in Kerala, India, a tropical beach. “How lucky”, I thought to myself.
My last day in Dorset. Another day of sun. Corfe Castle was on the agenda, before lunch in a small coastal town called Swanage. With the temperature not showing any signs of cooling, we didn’t fully visit the castle, to allow us to head home a little earlier and beat the rush hour traffic. Still, from what we saw of the castle, I can imagine living in the little village of Corfe, it’s not a bad view to wake up to.
From there, we wound our way down the little country roads towards Swanage. Again, a place I hadn’t visited in over 15 years. We wandered along the seafront, taking in the smell of the sea and watched the boats come and go into the harbour. Swanage doesn’t look like much when you first arrive, but make sure you explore all the little side streets. That’s where all the neat shops are, like a vintage record store. Dad found great pleasure reminiscing with the owner about “when music was good”.
We found a nice little spot for fish and chips, watching the seagulls fighting over a crab one of them had caught in the low tide. On the way back to the car, we passed a wall with mosaic art. Each year there is a competition and the winners design is turned into a public display.
If you’re planning on visiting Britain, or you already live here and are stuck for ideas of places to visit. Dorset is definitely worth considering. Ideally, you’d like a week here to explore it properly, but hopefully I’ve given you a little insight on my 3 day tour.
Next up for me is a long weekend in Amsterdam with a couple of friends in July! If you want to see some more pictures from my Dorset wandering, or any of my other adventures, be sure to follow me on Instagram. Or to read what I’ve been up to, head over to my posts page, Where’s Nick Now?
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sailaway from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain
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