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Swanage and Purbeck
Autumn 2002

Peter led us on a delightful 4 day walking holiday in Dorset, with glorious weather and the superb scenery of the Isle of Purbeck.
Report by Brian

Up early - rendezvous with Bernard, drive down to Swanage. We were on our hols and Peter was our leader. Never visited the Isle of Purbeck, thought it would be rather flat and uninteresting, but ... Weather rather dull, but no rain forecast. It took a little over 3 hours as Peter promised, a long time for a 110 mile road journey. Had lunch and went to our hotel which was surrounded by other members of the party who had got there first.

At 2.00 pm we all left for a very interesting walk westwards along the cliffs (yes, it's not flat) passing such romantic places as Tilly Whim, Durlston Folly and Dancing Ledges. There upwards and inwards to meet the Priest's Trail with wonderful views over the sea and finally back to Swanage. Alas Mike had plotted the route on his technical magic machine as 7.2 miles, a mere 1.2 miles more than advertised. Everybody felt satisfied with the result. A large dinner meant a walk for some to burn off calories consumed. Sadly a stop at a nearby pub put them all back.

Saturday dawned noisily for some of us because the rubble of a demolished house was being moved at 7.00 am onwards, perhaps the hotel wanted us up early! A quick trip for sandwiches and then on to Corfe Castle for the start of our walk. Our leader explained that the most important task was to finish the walk before the National Trust Tea-shop closed. A projected walking distance of 9-10 miles suggested that it would be a fast walk. The weather was glorious as we set off south to Kingston, Chapman's Pool and along the coast in the direction of St Alban's Head. The views had been magnificent and Peter told us about the different rocks on the Isle of Purbeck as we overlooked Kimmeridge Bay with its distinctive grey slates.

We moved inland to Corfe Castle via Matravers for cream teas. A connoisseur voted them the best ever. After dinner we were treated to a picture and video show of the day's proceedings. It was hilarious.

Sunday, another beautiful morning and a start directly from the hotel. We must have looked a comical sight as we marched through Swanage complete with walking gear, rucksacks and boots. Soon however we were climbing with a view behind us over Swanage Bay. Then along the coast path towards Old Harry's Rocks. The panorama of Poole Harbour and surrounding countryside was breathtaking. The white cliffs shone in the sunshine. Mike reminded us that the chalk was the same as on the Isle of Wight where we had walked earlier in the year, and which was visible on the horizon. We lunched on the beach at Studland where two brave members of the group had a swim in the sea.

After lunch we visited the Norman church in the village and then onto sandy heathland, quite a dramatic change from the chalk downs. We posed by a huge isolated sandstone rock called The Agglestone before returning to Swanage. More food and a packed house to see the pictures of the day. Perfect!

Monday saw us walking from Corfe Castle again, this time onto a long ridge with lovely views, passing Church Knowle below us to reach a viewpoint over Kimmeridge Bay which was our coffee stop. An easy walk back along a quiet road except for a patch of undergrowth which eventually succumbed to our efforts before reaching our destination and lunch. I'm sure everyone enjoyed the weekend as much as I did.

Many thanks, Peter.
Corfe Castle
Peter outlines the day ahead, and the important news that we shall be able to finish the walk with a cream tea at Corfe Castle - so keep up!
Corfe Castle
We head southwards toward the sea, and on each glimpe backwards we see the castle ever diminishing in size. What glorious late September weather!
St Alban's Head
Amazing skies near to St Alban's Head.
Near Old Harry Rocks
A wonderful walk along the cliffs.
Cliff top
Very windy here and an awesome view of Old Harry Rocks.
The Agglestone
We posed by a huge isolated sandstone rock called The Agglestone before returning to Swanage.
What it's all about!
Each evening we recharged our batteries at the Havenhurst Hotel.