Day 24 21 July 2013 Kingston to Weymouth

I arrived last night at about 8ish, just in time to walk down to the Scott Arms in Kingston – the view is marvellous – overlooking Corfe Castle, the food is reasonably good (I had some very jumbo Jumbo Prawns), but the service is not brilliant.  I think the young lad is still washing the same pile of dishes as he was toying with last month when we called in for a drink after our diversion up from Chapman’s Pool.  The coast path is still closed because of landslides so I followed the diversion out of Kingston towards Kimmeridge.  Kingston is so improbably pretty that even a chocolate box might be embarrassed to sport a picture of it on the lid.IMG_4153

Today is easily the most spectacular so far.  The weather has been superb – at least 28 degrees all day with barely a cloud in the sky.  The colour of the water was so vividly turquoise it was difficult to believe it was the English Channel, not the Mediterranean.  The cliffs are a brilliant white, and oh, so steep!  The path climbs up, then drops steeply over and over again, for some 20 miles.  I can imagine it was an absolute haven for smugglers with tiny coves hidden between steep cliffs.IMG_4188

There were droves of people at Kimmeridge, and then further on at Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door.  The sun had brought out a wide expanse of flesh –a Tattoo Parlour’s Style book on the move.

One person I encountered was a complete mystery.   I have to say “person” as I am not sure of the gender.  I first saw what I took to be a woman coming towards me at Kimmeridge.  She had the musculature of a fell walker, but even more extreme, with every sinew showing.  Unlike everyone else she hadn’t a word of greeting, just a grim expression on her face as she raced along.  An hour or so later as I was toiling up the worst slope of the day at WoRbarrow, she passed me going up – from the rear, I decided it was actually a man.  I assumed he/she was doing a round trip to Kimmeridge, but then a couple of hours later, I ran into him again, moving back east a ridiculous pace, still with the same fixed expression.  Very odd.

As I walked along, I was amazed at the quantities of butterflies – clouds of them – peacocks, tortoiseshells and those white ones that look as though they have been embroidered all over with black thread.  I have never seen so many.  In the distance, I could see Portland Bill.

I passed Tyneham- a village that was requisitioned during the war by the army, and which has never been relinquished.  I did not make the detour to the village from WoRbarrow Cove but could see the houses from the cliff top.IMG_4202

On past Lulworth and Durdle Door, then down into the delightfully named Scratchy Bottom, before another haul up to Swyre Head.  IMG_4229Down again to Middle Bottom, then up to West Bottom, after which it became less vertiginous, but still drops fairly sharply to Ringstead.  IMG_4233IMG_4244Just after Ringstead I came to the Smugglers’ Inn – an absolutely gorgeous pub with an excellent garden and a very traditional pub menu – no pan-fried yam root drizzled with balsamic vinegar from Timbuctoo here – just excellent pie and mashed potatoes and very nice looking burgers.

I decided to stop for late lunch/early supper, before strollling the final 4.5 miles into Weymouth in the evening light.  I had considered paddling at the end, but, disappointingly, Weymouth beach is another shingle beach.

A very good day – 22.5 miles in total.  Probably the hardest day with all the undulations, but definitely the most rewarding.

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