I absolutely adore this part of the Dorset coastline, the stretch between my little familiar bit at West Bay, all the way along through Eype, up over Thorncombe Beacon to Seatown, then up over Golden Cap to Charmouth and finally along to Lyme Regis. The whole lot has been designated as a World Herritage Site, you can read more about it here. In the years BC (Before Children), J and I have walked many times along this coast. Oh I adore coastal walking, it absolutely thrills me to the core. I love walking with countryside on the right and sparkling sea to the left, love the scent of it, love the exhilarating climbs up what are sometimes very steep stretches of cliff, love the colours, the light, everything. Absolutely everything (with the exception of sea mist which has been known to ruin a very good walk).
The bit of the cliff with the flat top that you can see in the above picture is Golden Cap, which is the highest cliff on the South Coast of England. It's high, and a hard climb to get over it. J and I have walked it, and yes, it's a tough one. But the views :: Oh!! So very worth the effort of the climb. We're very much looking forward to future years when the Little Peoples legs are longer and stronger and we can take them hiking up here. But for now on the last day of our hols, we choose to sit and admire it from further down the coast. We choose a delightful spot called Stonebarrow Hill which I remember very well from my own chidlhood. I have fond memories of picnics up here in summer, and blackberry picking expeditions in autumn. The views are breathtaking and as this bit of land is owned by the National Trust, there is a delightful little NT shop selling gifts and maps along with icecreams and coffees, and most important for the likes of the Little People there are WC facilities too, with running water and soap for the horrendous, sticky, chocolatey, icecreamy mess that followed the shop visit.
Yes, Stonebarrow Hill is very convenient, you can drive up and park the car direct on a little patch of grass with stunning sea views and the only strenuous thing you have to do is haul the knitted blankets out onto the grass.
It's hot on this day, don't be fooled by the cool blues of sea and sky. There was a haze over the landscape to begin with, which gradually lifted to reveal the hotest of summer days.There was no shade. J and the Little People alternated between playing football and flopping on the blanket panting. More football, more exhausted flopping to eat icecream/read the paper. I sat in the heat and rippled. This was my penultimate stripe, appropriately enough in a sky blue. I was rippling as fast as my hot fingers could go, very excited to be finally so very near the end. But the heat was relentless and eventually I had to admit defeat and join my family on a short stroll.
There are miles and miles of pathways up here, some snake through tall bracken and follow secretive, sunken old Smugglers tracks, while others wind down across open meadows.
There are the most beautiful wild flowers in the meadow pastures and the fluttering of many butterflies.
show Little Lady how to hold a yellow flower under my chin to reflect
the yellow. We used to do this with buttercups when we were children
and it's supposed to show if you like butter, do you remember that??
Little Lady loves this idea and we walk and stop and walk and stop and
walk and stop about twenty times to see the Butter Effect. Ahhh the
little things that please little minds, so well remembered from my own childhood.
I take in the scenery, listen to the Little People chattering away as we slowly head uphill back to the car. I breathe it all in and try my hardest to trap the memories. I think of my ripple blanket, so nearly complete with one and a half sea/sky blue stripes to go. I think to myself how glad I am that in winter when those soft ripples are wrapped around me I can look at those final stripes and think of this time and place, of these colours, the ripply blues of sea and sky on a hot summers day.
The photo below is the view from the bedroom window where J and I sleep when we stay in Dorset. Its my old childhood bedroom, and that view is so familiar to me it makes me incredibly nostalgic when I look out. I took the photo as I was packing up the suitcase in the afternoon, ahhh the end of holidays are so bitter sweet aren't they? In one way I never want them to end, but I also suddenly long to be home.
And one final picture, taken at 9.04pm. We are driving into the sunset up the M6, about two thirds of the way home.
Home sweet home, we were very glad to be back. Such a wonderful time away but oh so good to come home again.