Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Jurassic Coast Day 3: Lyme Regis to Abbotsbury

This was the day on this walk that I'm not especially proud of.  

Leaving Lyme Regis.  The town is beautiful, and we followed the stream down to the waterfront, and I even spotted a clever piece by Banksy:

So here is where my day turned to shit.

Another landslip meant we had to work our way far around the coast path again.  This added six miles onto our hike on what would be an already long day- 18 miles- and it was just miserable.  After a pretty stretch in a forest, it was a strenuous uphill climb along an A road, and then across a golf course, and then on the pavement along the really busy A35 road for miles.  Alternatively, we could have walked along the beach a stretch to Charmouth, but the tides were against us and the waves were pounding the cliff faces when we checked out that option.  I was in pain- all the pavement walking had really done a toll on my feet and shins.  Also, since this was the first big walk we'd done since our Welsh adventure over Xmas, I was in less than stellar shape.  Exhausted and slightly beaten, we made our way to rejoin the coast path in Charmouth, only to see a sign saying there was another landslip ahead, and go back and join the main road for a few more miles.

This was just awful.  I had known that we would be going around a landslip the day before, but these two took me by surprise, and they were adding really tough miles to an already long day.

Drastic action was taken.  We sat in a pub in Charmouth and called for a taxi.  While the easter sunday crowds lined up for pub lunch, we sat near the fireplace, warmed ourselves with a drink, and waited for our hero to arrive.  My mood was gloomy.  I felt as though I had failed.

Once our knight in shining minivan arrived, things were cheerful once again.  We told him our situation, and he took us 7 miles down the road to West Bay, where we picked up the trail again.  We skipped a lot of road walking, saved our feet, and we wouldn't be making our way to our night's lodging after midnight.  So we cheated a bit.  

The rest of the walk was easy though.  The majority of the big cliffs were behind us, and we just had one more grand climb to do at Burton Bradstock before the trail and the coast flatted out to miles of  beachside walking.

We paused for something I can't get my head around:

People go ga-ga for Cadbury Creme Eggs this time of year.  Kind of like Peeps in the states.  Except nasty.  Waxy-sweet chocolate that contains a surprise of gritty, sugary fondant does not a bon-bon make.  I am one and done on this one.

After a few uneventful miles of beachside walking, I noticed an alternative route to Abbotsbury.  We could have just stayed the course and followed the beach there, but I had noticed a line of big hills closing in to the shore.  At West Bexington, we veered off the coast path and started the long, steep climb up the downs.  I was atoning for the cab ride and the creme egg and felt much better once I had a lofty view of the coast.

So many sheep!  Jacob sheep, too.

There were sheep and views and meadows and a big ruin of a hilltop fort.  I forgot how much I loved ridge walks.  My mood, instantly sunny.

I was almost sad to see Abbotsbury come into view.

Even with the cab cheat, we ended up doing 16 miles, and we had quite a nice bit of elevation gain at the end.  

Abbotsbury.  It was lovely, a really quaint little village, tucked between the downs and the sea.  there's a swan sanctuary here, and as the name suggests, an Abbot, and a chapel up on a hill by the sea.

The only place to stay in the area was a B&B that was decorated by someone who loves dolls and bears and lace and had the strong opinion that all three together is something one might never get enough of.  You guys, I almost cancelled the entire trip based on the fact that the only room available in the entire area was frilly and pink and had multiple dolls and bears and doily covering every surface (which made it really hard to put a cup of tea down, never mind your muddy hiking stuff).  Also, carped bathrooms are just....no.  Just.  No.

It was just for one night, and the owner was nice and proud of her home and the decor.  To each her own?  Most of the guesthouses, hostels and B&Bs we end up staying in are always spotless and clean, and tend to be comfortable and minimal with the decor, which to me adds to the "clean" element.  It's hard to sleep at night with the dead glass eyes of a million stuffies staring out at you.  I don't mind camping, I don't mind bunk houses, I'm just dandy with hostels.  I just can't deal with pink frilly ruffly things coming at me from all sides.

But we are beat-down hikers, we'll sleep through anything.  Even murderous dolls coming after us in our dreams.

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