South West Coast Path: Days 3 & 4

Wool to Weymouth

day-3-route
Um, ignore the search bar…

Ohhhhhhhhhh noooooooooooooooo.

 

You know those devastating hangovers where you just know that you’re going to be in bed until 5pm? Like, there’s nothing else for it, you must stay in bed until 5pm or else you’ll actually die?

Imagine that, instead of staying in bed until 5pm, you had to get out of bed at 8am, converse politely with some very sweet strangers over a delicious breakfast you couldn’t eat, then climb hills for 7 hours. I had been looking forward to that breakfast for days, knowing that this was one of only two proper B&Bs I’d be hitting along my way. I ate a slice of bacon and half a piece of toast. There was a lovely couple from around Manchester who had been staying there as well. They had also been at the pub the night before, it turned out, but at least claimed not to remember my sloppy karaoke magic.

I implemented emergency Fuck Adventure™ protocol and took a cab back down to the coast. Absolutely no regrets.

hangover
Current mood

I found myself, bleary-eyed and distraught, at Lulworth Cove, the beginning of an absolutely stunning stretch of coastline. The immediate area around Lulworth was crawling with tourists, but they thinned out as soon as I got past Durdle Door. (In case you’re planning on visiting the area, make sure you go over the weekend, because a lot of the land around here is actually part of a military firing range and is closed during the week. Also, while we’re here, there’s an easier path a little ways inland that runs parallel to the coast path. Don’t take it; the views along the cliffs are worth any amount of physical discomfort. Choose Adventure™.)

Part of what makes the Jurassic Coast so special is that you can see geology with your own eyes. You can see the effects of erosion, the effects of land masses smashing together, and you can understand it in a way that photos and textbooks just can’t capture. And it’s beautiful.

There’s not much more I can say here, so have some photos.

There was one particularly melodramatic moment when I crested a hill and stopped dead  at the sight before me – towering white cliffs ahead, blue sea gently lapping at the shore below to my left, brilliant green hills rolling off to my right with shadows of clouds dancing over them – and thought, “This is the closest thing to heaven I’ll ever get.”

This place does that to you. Even when you’re hungover.

The distance to Weymouth isn’t too bad – about 12 miles – but it is somewhat arduous and my dehydrated ass just barely made it before sundown. I met my AirBnB hostess, snuggled with her cats, bought a curry, and slept the sleep of the dead.

cat
HELLO CAT

Day Off in Weymouth

I found that, while a day off after three days wasn’t all that necessary, I sure did appreciate the chance to pull myself back together after the Wool Massacre. My glutes ached, and I was still frankly a bit hungover because this is life post-30.

I blooted around Weymouth with no particular goals. Walked the Rodwell Trail, a pretty little path through town built over an old railway line. Looked at Henry VIII’s Sandsfoot Castle (crumbling slowly into the sea) and Nothe Fort (Victorian, still in use, not all that much to look at). Sat on the quayside and had my first scone with jam & clotted cream of the trip, which is just…a revelation. The trick, you see, is to do cream, then jam, then more cream on top because you know we’re all here for the cream.

Following an hours-long nap, I went back to the quayside for a peaceful fish & chips and reflected that I could get used to this life. The people of Dorset are so warm and welcoming; I felt comfortable wherever I went. I recently learned that I have ancestors from just north of Weymouth, in Puddletown (once named Piddletown, apparently; more on Hilarious Names in the next post). I guess it was nice to think that I was among my people.

Ended the evening with a nighttime stroll along the town’s beach, which has impossibly fine sand that feels a lot like packing snow. Felt refreshed and well-rested, and ready to tackle the second half of my walk.

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10 thoughts on “South West Coast Path: Days 3 & 4

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