Baiky at Seaton. Luckliy I did not leave him here, I would not have fancied climbing the hills around this town multiple times.I set off before any of my fellow campers had cracked an eyelid, prepared for a 70 mile day. It wasn't long before I came across a curious case of quarried beer as I powered along the coast towards Seaton. After admiting the cliffs at Seaton and a quick bite of breakfast I found the national cycle route 2 and stuck to it through Dorset.
I feel like a chump making beer from malt and yeast all these years when I could have just been quarrying it.
The cycle route guided me through the Dorset Area of Natual Beauty including through the Valley of Stones and past the the Hardy Monument (which, I might add is situated on top of a mighty, mighty hill called Black Down). On the way to the Valley of Stones I found a little farm/shop called Modbury Farm that had fresh bread baked today! I stopped off to pick up some tasty bread which I munched on over the course of the day. They also sold milk, pork and sausages sourced directly from the farm as well produce from local farmers (eggs, cheese, veges, etc.). I have a feeling to that this store was not staffed, it just had a cash box where you paid the appropraite amount and took change as necessary.
How could I resist? I am, after all, only human.As with the other areas of Southern England I had cycled through the landscape was quite stunning, if somewhat hilly for someone travelling under their own legs. I broke out of the Dorset AONB at Dorchester and sped towards the Hartland Moor Natural Reserve coming agonisgnly close to a Tank Museum and Apeworld (a rescue centre for primates), two places that I would normally gravitate towards if I had the time to spare. Once in the Reserve I again found myself traversing hills thanking my preplanning that the following day I could take an easy ferry from Studland to Bournemouth instead of retracing the incredibly hilly path I was currently on.
Hardy Monument: named after Vice Admiral Hardy who led at the Battle of Trafalgar. Designed to look like a spyglass with each of the eight points of the octagonal base pointing to a compass point. Snazzy!I made it to my campsite (Tom's Field Camp) by 4:30 and by 5:00pm had explored my way to the Dancing Ledge. not sure why it is called that, but when the tide is out the area kind of looks like a nice rectangular slab that could be used for ballroom dancing, if one does not mind sea spray. Actually, it is so named "because at certain stages of the tide when the waves wash over the horizontal surface, the surface undulations cause the water to bob about making the ledge appear to dance" (source wikipedia April 2018). As the winds picked up the sea spray became violent waves that threatened to suck the unwary dancer to sea and so I climbed back to camp for dins dins and bed.
Apparently, the ledge is a straight drop off into the sea which is deep enough for small ships to come right up to the ledge.It was at this time an annoying itch in the back of my head made me second guess my plan to ferry across to Bournemouth. The sea was quite rough, the winds incredibly strong (as the had been all trip) and warnings that the ferry may not run were plastered on their website.
My best photo of the treacherous waves. I guess you had to be there in person...It was with a sick realisation that I started to contemplate my journey back through the Nature reserve that included several 100 meter hill climbs. Oh, and I had to be at the station by 6:30am. Before I knew it I setting an alarm for 4am for the 30 mile ride ahead me.
I am yet to determine what these are, but there are these rooms cut into cliffs at the Dancing Ledge. My best guess is they are fortifications from World War II.And then, just like in Cornwall, I was up in darkness pedalling madly to get to my train! As the day dawned the clouds cleared and I was greeted with a morning ocean views as cycle route 2 led me along the coast. Winds weren't too bad after all but instead of cursing the mtereologists and their imperfect predictions I enjoyed the cycle. My grand challenge ended with a train ride to London, a short cycle through the our nation's capital as I traversed from one station to another, and the another train ride back to Loughborough. No doubt stinking up the entire carriage while I was there!
And cows. What day would not be complete with a cow parade blocking the road?