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Tuesday, 18 September 2012

With Bus Pass, boots and backpack Part 2

Thank you all for your kind and encouraging comments.  Lesley - not fearless at all as no time was I more than 50 miles from home and had a mobile phone and bank card with me!  Cas - no I wasn't lonely - occasional time on my own is as necessary as breathing to me!  Quilting Cat - I was at Weymouth College from 1966 onwards.  Mrs A Corfe Castle appears in this post!

You may regret being so encouraging as here is the next post and it is another long one with lots of photos!


Thursday dawned bright and sunny and the forecast was showing big yellow suns all day.  As I ate my breakfast in the sunny dining room at the B&B thinking how lovely it was that I could just leave the table and someone else would clear it all away and wash up etc I wondered what to do with the day which lay ahead of me.  Had there been a bus I would have liked to go to Lulworth Cove and walk the Coast Path along from there but the bus which would have taken me runs only during the summer months and had stopped on 1 September - I was too late once again!  So having had a full day on Wednesday I decided to have a more relaxing sort of day and to go back to Durlston Castle where I would soak up the sunshine for a while and then maybe a trip to Corfe Castle in the afternoon with perhaps a ride back on the steam train.   One of the joys of traveling alone is that the decisions are one's own and can be changed on a whim if wished.

After breakfast I set off to walk into Swanage - it was a change to have shoes on my feet after 2 days of wearing my boots all day comfortable and light though they are.  I wandered along the sea front in the morning sunshine enjoying the sea air and views and did for a moment think of taking my shoes off and feeling the sand beneath my feet and even perhaps having a paddle but it was still quite chilly in spite of the sunshine.

The sound of the waves as they gently lapped the shore was really relaxing and I decided to walk along the beach rather than the prom before discovering that this entailed climbing over the groynes every few yards which made for hard going so I gave up that idea and retreated back to the prom.I  met one of the guests from my B&B coming back from town where she had been to buy a paper and we stopped for a chat - how lovely to find someone you feel you know to talk to when you've only been somewhere a couple of days!

We parted company after we'd chatted and I continued on my way.  It was lovely to have the beach almost to myself.

I walked right round to where there is a slipway and some gulls who were also enjoying the morning sunshine and tranquility.

In Swanage I happened upon this lovely pebble mosaic just near the Heritage Centre where I bought a few postcardsit was apparently a millenium project and for more info click on the link here.

Loved the trolleys loaded with old fashioned cases and trunks
Having purchased my cards it was time to wend my way to the bus stop...

The smell of the steam trains a real memory Lane moment

The bus station is just next to the train station from where steam and old diesel trains run to Corfe Castle and to the Park and Ride just beyond Corfe.  Maybe I would get a steam train later.

Back at Durlston Castle and just look at that blue!  I wish it could be bottled and saved for grey winter's days but must make do with saving it in my memory bank!  I sat in the sun admiring the view and writing my cards ready to pop in a post box when I got back to the town.

Whilst I was sitting soaking up the blue sky, turquoise sea and peaceful atmosphere looking out on the view in the photo above the little black cat I'd met yesterday came and sat next to me and without further ado decided to sit on my lap purring.  It was one of the highlights of my stay that moment of complete contentment shared with this little cat and certainly a moment of santosha that will stay with me and hopefully be brought out in the chill of winter!

This could be the Mediterranean couldn't it not England in September?  Perhaps it's the fact that days like these cannot be expected to come too often that makes them all the more special when they do.  The air seems to be clearer at this time of year and everything is all the more appreciated as we know that it cannot last much longer and that grey days will surely follow before too long.  But for now I was living in the moment and completely happy.

When the cat had had enough of sitting with me I got up and wandered round enjoying the place and its atmosphere.  Isn't this little path of steps down to the sea lovely?

I wondered where this path led and followed it round the sid of the castle... where I found this lovely view.  If you click on this one you can see the rock strata - this is part of the Jurassic Coast and some of these rocks are 65 million years old!  The whole Jurassic Coast which runs from Exmouth all the way round to the Old Harry Rocks and is a World Heritage Site.

 Having enjoyed a wander round I had my lunch (a Cheddar ploughman's  with enough Cheddar to feed a family - such a waste as I couldn't of course take it with me to use at home!) at Durlston Castle where seats were at a premium and I started out sitting on a rock (who knows how old it might have been!) until someone vacated the bench where I had been sitting earlier.  My way back to Swanage was as yesterday starting off through these woods

I decided to go to Corfe Castle in the afternoon and so out came my bus pass again and I set off on the bus.  We passed through lovely countryside - some fields golden and with bales of straw waiting to be collected, others brown and waiting to be planted again, some with cows quietly grazing and always the hedgerows so very verdant in the sunshine.

I didn't go round the castle as I'd left my NT cards behind and anyway it was getting near to last entry time as I had whiled away time over a cup of tea and a scone at a cafe in the village.  I must admit I was disappointed in Corfe Castle and quite forgot to go round to the station to see what that looked like.  I didn't get a train back to Swanage as I remembered that there was something on that day and the timetable would have been altered to take account of whatever it was so I went to the bus stop where I waited for the bus and I waited, and I waited!  Luckily the morning's calm and tranquility added to the fact that there was a seat in the sunshine meant that instead of being annoyed at the delay I was happy to wait as long as it took and the bus did eventually turn up nearly 50 minute's late.  Apparently somone had collapsed and been taken to hospital earlier in the day and this had meant the buses were now all behind schedule.  Can't be cross about that when I was in peak health and sitting in the sun can I?

When I got back to the Guest House I freshened up and changed into a clean tee-shirt and my jeans instead of my walking trousers (not having my evening gowns with me!!) and with a bit of lipstick hoped I would do at the Ocean Bay restaurant just down the road which I thought might be a good place for my last evening meal.  I sat overlooking the lovely view of the sea and beach and watched the colours gradually change.  No longer turquoise the sea was a pearly grey in the early evening light and the sky a watercolour painting in shades of palest blue through peach, pink and yellow and as the light gradually faded the sea turned a deep blue and the horizon became indistinct until all was deepest midnight blue with only the odd lights of distant ships to be seen.  The meal was delicious - Ratatouille stuffed sweet peppers topped with goat's cheese and grilled served with house salad and sauteed potatoes with a fresh fruit sorbet for desert and finishing off with a coffee and all for less than £20! - only spoiled by the man at the table behind me who had obviously no intention of paying for his meal and was complaining loudly about the lamb being frozen and the vegetables microwaved and the mackerel starter having bones in it and not being mackerel fillets - well it did say on the specials board WHOLE mackerel but maybe he couldn't read.  He was one of those men who try to show off and throw their weight around and instead of quietly and discretely having a word with the waitress and asking to speak to the manager he spoiled the ambiance for the rest of the diners and finally left having paid the reduced bill with a very bad grace and leaving a tip of 5p apparently!!  I have come across his kind in my working life and how I longed to tell him to shut up and clear off!!

When I got back to the Guest House I paid for my stay as I wanted to leave fairly early on Friday in time to get the 9.05 bus from town.  Mr B&B very kindly offered to drop me into town so I would have plenty of time for breakfast an offer I gladly accepted as I didn't know how long the walk might take me with the backpack and whether it might be raining.  So having refused Mr M's offer on Tuesday I did succumb to Mr B&B's offer on Friday!


Having been dropped at the station I caught the bus to Wareham - had to pay this time as it was before 9.30 when the bus pass would have been acceptable (Tuesday's bus to Dorchester was also before 9.30 but maybe because the next bus wouldn't have been till the afternoon my pass was accepted on that one!)  Time for a coffee in Wareham before boarding a Community bus to Lulworth Cove.  I had checked beforehand just what a community bus was and whether anyone could use it with bus pass etc and all was fine.  It turned out to be a little mini bus and I was the only passenger!  Again a trip through lovely countryside - I must have been getting blase by now as I didn't note anything in particular about this ride!  I would later be getting the same bus onwards to Dorchester with the same driver and had just 2 hours to spend here.  I wasn't sure whether I would be able to walk the Coast Path carrying a back pack as not being used to carrying one it might affect my balance if I need to scramble at all and I didn't want to fall over the cliffs especially on my last day - one of the resons I would have preferred to go on Thursday when I would have had only a light bag with me.  However I needn't have worried as this path is so popular and so many holiday makers use it that it had been improved due to the erosion suffered by its use by so many walkers and was a cobbled stepped path at least as far as you can see in this photo.  It might have been a well maintained path but that didn't stop it being steep and carrying 11 or 12 lbs it was certainly aerobic!

Stopping for a breather and looking back.

Now the path went downhill (of course what goes down must come up so the return was another uphill climb!)

If you click to enlarge this photo you will just be able to see Durdle Door on the other side of this headland.

Here it is - one of the most photographed places on the Jurassic coast and a symbol of this part of the coast.

Beautiful isn't it?  I didn't have time to climb down to the beach nor to continue along the path to Swyre Head which my neighbour told me was well worth the walk to see the views - wouldn't have been worth missing the bus for though as it would be a long walk home from there!  Nor did I have time to walk down to the actual cove at Lulworth but there'll be other times no doubt although the last time I was at Durdle Door I think I was about 17!

Nearly back to the top of the climb now.....

Lulworth basking in the sunshine down there...

I hoped the cloud didn't presage rain at least before I got back to the Cove but luck was with me and the sun stayed out

Back at the base I had time for a sandwich and a bottle of water looking back to where I'd been and then it was time to get the bus which arrived on time and took me to Dorchester - one or two other passengers this time.  In Dorchester I had a short wait before boarding the bus to Yeovil which again took the same route we'd come along on Tuesday again in the sunshine.  Once in Yeovil I waited a few minutes for the little local Nippy bus and was indoors with the kettle on before 4.00 pm. 

Would I do it again?  You bet!  I had enjoyed a fabulous 4 days in amazing countryside doing what I like best and returned feeling on top of the world.  I was glad I hadn't attempted to do every day carrying the pack though although it wasn't as heavy to carry as I thought just annoying especially when trying to negotiate toilets!!  Mind you I wonder if it would have been quite such fun had it been raining all the time - I was just so lucky with the weather wasn't I?  Where to next?!

I am so lucky to be living where I do with these wonderful places within reasonable distance and to have a bus pass with which to do the trips - I don't know what it would have cost had I had to pay all the bus fares.  It's also something else I could never have done in France so yet another reason to be happy to be back where I belong.

More medals will be deserved if you've made it to the end of both parts!  Thanks for your company.


  1. Thank you for sharing
    I love reading about your adventures.And feel a tad guilty I wish you weren't alone. I think many of us wish we were with you.

  2. I loved reading this post, and looking through your great photos. The weather and scenery were stunning. Shame about the rude man in the restaurant. x

  3. That sounds like such a wonderful trip - roll on me getting my bus pass!!

    Lovely pics of a part of the country thats on my to visit list - think Bertie the caravan might be heading down there in 2013 :)

    Shame about the rude man - we've all met people like him - we just have to do that eye rolling thing ;)

  4. What an amazing adventure Jane. The scenery is breathtaking and the sky and sea were indeed very Meditteranean looking at times, you were very fortunate with the weather.
    I love the little cat story. :)
    Vivienne x

  5. I've just been googling to see what age you get bus passes at. I am not far off now (yipee!). What a superb trip you have had Jane and how lucky to have had the weather "with" you.

  6. I had postponed reading the first half of your adventure until I felt I had time to appreciate it properly, so I have just shared your whole trip. You have a gift for telling a story Jane, and this was magic. Your words accompanied by your pictures are worthy of many publications. I am put to shame by your adventurous spirit. Well done you for putting your plan into action.

  7. I've just read both your posts together too like Jill. I've always wanted to go to the Jurassic Coast, but have never managed it so it was lovely to read all about it. It must have felt strange but sort of free to go off on your own like that, even if you weren't that far away from home. And how lovely that the little cat recognised you as a friend!

  8. I made it to the end of both posts. I found them totally absorbing! How wonderful to be able to go off independently and do your own thing. The little cat choosing your lap must have made you feel very special indeed!

  9. A really wonderful journey, and what beautiful photographs. I'm sure all this will stay with you for a long time.
    Do you know the film, 'Nuts in May',(Mike Leigh, with Alison Steadman and Roger Sloman) thinking specifically of Corfe Castle? It's one of the funniest things I know.

  10. As you know, there is no such thing as The Bus Pass in France...

  11. Gosh, what a wonderful journal of your travels. I used to work inthe kiosk at Lulworth selling ice creams (when at Wmth Coll. 63/65)I still love it down there. You did well to get to DD and back, a very steep path if I remember well. Thank you so much for recalling so many local sights that I really do not visit enough. Here's to the next adventure.

  12. I've just caught up and read both parts one after the other. What a super thing to do, sometimes we all revel in just being our own person.
    You would certainly never have found all those buses in France!

  13. Another thrilling post! We went to Durdle Door when our daughter was about 3 and insisted on being carried all the way back to the top.
    What a rude man at the restaurant - unfortunately there's always someone like this, who clearly is far more important than anyone else - not!
    Really enjoyed the trip!

  14. I think you should go all over the country and write a book about it!

  15. Its a beautiful part of the world, we stopped in Lulworth cove for lunch, it was lovely. I was a bit unwell at Durdle Door, so couldn't do the walk, but hubs did while I sat admiring the view. You should have gone into see Corfe Castle, I think you would have liked the history and views :) I remember looking at the fish mosaic in Swanage also, a nice reminder of our trip there! Have a great week and hope the weather is nice for a while yet.

  16. That was a great adventure and I loved our little 4 day break - and even after all that walking I don't feel in the least bit tired!! I hope you are planning another trip soon. I remember having a trip down from Cheltenham to Yeovil in the 1970's to visit a friend - we hitch hiked all the way as students did back then and I think we went through a lovely little place called Shepton Mallet? So when you have time I vote you plan a trip from Yeovil to Cheltenham so I can relive some fond memories!!

  17. Another lovely one Jane. Brought back lots of memories from 2011 and our visit to the area. I remember well that the walk was quite a steep climb. You did well to do it with your pack. Weren't you fortunate with the weather?
    Glad you had a nice break and some quality "me" time. You must feel quite refreshed.

  18. Jane, This is a wonderful post. The pictures are just what I imagine England to look like (yes, it's at the top of my list of places to visit - someday). And your story telling is excellent - I can't help but feel like your Mackerel Man was a guest I saw on Fawlty Towers. O for the courage and words to say when we meet people who think the world revolves around them - when we know perfectly well it revolves around us. Thank you for the time and effort you put into your blog, it's a pleasure to read.

  19. A lovely story, well told. I tried to walk up that hill once but didn't make it, just about 25 metres U think. Well done for completing the trip!

  20. Jill is spot on when she says you the gift of telling a story Jane. This was a joy from beginning to end. How lovely to be reminded of 'santosha' again. I think that obnoxious chap in the restaurant could have done with some of it. The photos of Lulworth are gorgeous and make me want to visit.Those blue seas most definitely look Mediterranean as you say. We visited Lulworth a few times when we were children on our summer hols but I have no real memory of it whatsoever. I think I get my bus pass in a couple of years time. If only I am as creative with it as you have been! You may not think you are fearless but I tip my hat to you for having the bottle to do this on your own. Brava!

  21. You'll be acquiring the nickname Dora the Explorer ;D

    Lovely post Jane :D

  22. Lovely post, Jane! I enjoyed each step of the journey! I've been to Lulworth Cove and it was a pleasure to revisit it thanks to your lovely pictures.

    Have a happy weekend.
    Helen x

  23. What an amazing adventure you have had - it is very brave to go off on your own, but I have to admit that it sounds really good fun!

    Pomona x

  24. Hurrah for you Jane! And hurrah for me now that I've become your newest follower. What took me so long?


  25. Hi Jane, I've just finished reading part 2....what a marvelous trip and the photos show such beauty all around! Your narrative was very entertaining too. Love the cat who sat in your lap...and that pebble mosaic of fish also...all of it was fun to read about. I have found that little trips around one's locale seem to be the most popular posts. We all enjoy seeing where other people live.

    Can't wait for your next adventure!

  26. Corfe Castle, Durdle Door, Lulworth Cove - what pleasant memories you have brought back for me of times staying there with the children many many years ago.


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