On we go, into a grey and drizzly day, but that was fine by me. We called into good ol’ Sainsbury’s to pick up some travel supplies and that’s where I saw another fine example of the small, special little things, that we don’t have at home, but I think are wonderful. In this case, it was the man whose job it was to stand at the checkouts holding up a paddle that said “Space Here”. What super service. I can’t say it’s necessarily an enjoyable job, but it was a terrific little touch to see him there, waving his paddle, letting shoppers know which checkout had some available space so they wouldn’t be waiting in a line unnecessarily. Love it!
We headed down to Poole, where we hopped on the chain ferry that chugged across the river and deposited us on the road to Swanage. We took this ferry on our last visit, riding the bikes on that time, so here we were again, reliving some memories. We drove through the countryside again until we came upon the charming, tiny little village of Studland. It was gorgeous, with the stone houses and it sat on the coast, so we decided to do the… Great British Ramble!
We rugged up, strolled down the little street, then onto the track that led out to the peninsula. It was a lovely walk. It was chilly and it rained, but it was terrific and we passed many fellow ramblers, on their way out or back and we exchanged frequent, “Hellos, Hiyas or Good afternoons.” We walked along the track, then across the headland to look out at Old Harry’s Rocks. On the way we paused to take in the view, then continued on to the end of the peninsula.
When we reached Old Harry’s Rocks, we stood way up on the cliff’s edge, with a grand view and it was super to be there, in the outdoors, on that chilly, drizzling day. Splendid! Apparently Old Harry’s Rocks are named after Harry Paye, a pirate from Poole who led raids along the coast of France and Spain in the 14th and 15th centuries, capturing ships and plundering their loads of wine, olives and jewels.
After a pleasant ramble back along the track, we set off into the centre of Swanage. This was a nice coastal town and we chose a spot looking out to sea, for our pause for Arvos.
As we tootled off, through the gorgeous countryside again, with Steve putting up with my frequent bursts of “Beautiful!” “Lovely” “Beautiful, so beautiful!!” along with clapping my hands and grinning. I was nothing if not a delighted passenger! We drove through the picture perfect village of Corfe Castle, which sat at the base of the ruins of Corfe Castle itself. This was one of the loveliest villages we’ve seen, totally untouched and unspoiled and completely made up of rustic stone cottages and buildings. It was a little like a Cotswold village and it was simply gorgeous.
Corfe Castle was a Norman fortress and during the English Civil War in the 17th century, the formidable Lady Mary Bankes defended it while her husband Sir John was away fighting. She managed to hold off a six-week siege with just 80 soldiers. Finally, one of her soldiers brought about her downfall with an act of treachery, allowing enemy troops, disguised as reinforcements, to enter the castle. Lady Mary was forced to surrender, but was allowed to keep the seal and keys of the castle in recognition of her bravery. What a great story. I love reading stories of strong women who buck the system and show courage and strength at a time when women were supposed to be nothing but meek and mild and do as they were told. I found Mary’s story quite an inspiration and it’s nice to see that the castle she so resolutely defended is still there, in ruins now perhaps, but still there.
When we cycled along the Jurassic Coast, we had a few people warn us about the mighty, mammoth, monster hills around Lyme Regis and as a result, we dodged that town! Today we decided to go and check out what all the warnings were about. As it turned out, it was nothing but another 14% hill! We could have done that, we’ve sure climbed worse than that! Lyme Regis was absolutely charming, a gorgeous, old, seaside town, with lovely little shops and a view across the cliffs. Beautiful. It was 4 o’clock and already growing dark when we arrived, so we walked as much as we could to take it in before we completely lost the light. It was not what I expected at all and was another example of having my assumptions soundly slapped, in the best possible way. I was expecting it to be a bit like Bournemouth or Weston, a coastal town that was a bit gaudy and touristy, but it wasn’t like that at all. I’m sure in summer it’s heavily geared for tourists, but the Lyme Regis we saw was utterly delightful.
With dark now well and truly upon us, we set off to find somewhere to stay and ended up at a small guest house in Chard. We travelled through four counties today – Hampshire, Devon, Dorset and ended up in Somerset. Another wonderful day of scenery and gorgeous villages, made even more splendid by a lovely ramble in the great outdoors, in the chill wind and under ghostly grey skies. We may not have been too taken with the cold summer we had the last time we were here, but I’m loving the cold of winter so far. It’s crisp and fresh and the places we’re travelling are so perfect for spending time outside, roaming and exploring and…rambling! The fabulous, all British pastime of the ramble! We did it and I loved it. Loved it!