SWCP Day 23 – 17 miles of Mud and a Nice Walk on Portland
Without doubt Chesil Beach is a fascinating geographical feature. 100 million tons of pebbles piled up into a giant causeway. It looks incredibly fragile but has stayed in place for millions of years. Unfortunately it is very hard to walk on so the South West Coast Path is routed behind the Fleet Ley behind the beach – more’s the pity. Even though we have now enjoyed a week without heavy rain the ground is still waterlogged. From 6:30 this morning Greg and I trudged our way through 17 miles of sticky, slippery, yellow mud. This was exhausting, frustrating and time consuming. The walk, graded as easy, should have taken 5.5 hours but instead took nearly 7. This section of the coast path is definitely only for those wishing to complete the whole path although it might be OK in a dry summer if we ever have one again. On the plus side the bird life on the lake is well worth a look; we saw swans, widgeon, curlew, merganser, lapwing and many others. We also found some nice boats:
Greg’s conclusion onthis section, ‘miserable, absolutely miserable. I’m never doing it again’.
In constrast the walk around Portland was a lovely afternoon. Good walking, filled with interesting military and industrial history, great views and no mud!
As someone who spent a few years in the navy it was fascinating to see the old home of Flag Officer Sea Training again. Usually a trip to Portland meant some sort of operational workup and struck fear into the bellies of junior officers like myself. Now FOST has moved to Plymouth and only a few Royal Fleet Auxillary remain in the harbour. The old Fleet Air Arm base, HMS Osprey, has also long gone and now houses a sailing centre among other things. They have left one Lynx Helicopter though …..
Of course Rex gave not a hoot for the mud and asI write this he’s happily snoring away in the driver’s seat of the van. He found the limestone sculpture park on top of Portand particularly fascinating today .
Today’s walk took us to Weymouth. I have just 42 miles left before Poole and the end is definitely in sight. Tomorrow’s walk will take us over some classic chalk cliffs; I’m already looking forward to it.