56 – Beer and Seaton

Distance: 6km

Steps: 11,842

I left my laundry, bedding and basher at the hostel so I’m traveling light today.

Amazing garden just a few doors down down from the hostel.

Funny place is Beer.

I was recommended to Woozies deli, so I was surprised to be indignantly told “we don’t do filled rolls!”. I was advised to try across the road. 

So, full of optimism and reassured by a sign saying ‘large filled rolls’ I crossed the road and asked. “No. And I know about the sign!” I was sent to the bakers.

I could have gone straight to the bakers in the first place but I was hoping for something a bit more upmarket.

So I asked in the bakers. “No ” the lady said “but we do good sausage rolls and pasties”.

I settled for a pastie
Funny place Beer.  

It’s a lovely, pretty, coastal village. Certainly worthy of another visit. I noticed that they have found a novel use for an old phonebox.

So I decided to walk to Seaton.

The route initially followed the coast path but as soon as Seaton came in sight

 there followed a series of signs.


 Some of which (judging by the rust) have been there for some considerable time.


Seaton defies demographic norms.

There are:

No motorcycles or scooters

No black people

No Asian people

No graffiti sites

No skateboarders

Hardly anyone under 50

Furthermore, almost everyone is sitting down!

I had difficulty finding a pub. The best I could do was the ‘Crab & Parrot, on the seafront. There were just two punters, including me.
I spied this WW2 searchlight emplacement in Seaton.

The path between Seaton and Lyme Regis was similarly diverted onto the main road, so I made my own route back to Beer hostel.

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55 – West Bay to Beer

Distance: 16km

Steps: 33,718

Excessive breakfast at the Quarterdeck B&B to start the day, then the route from West Bay prom up to the cliff top path was a steep slog. 

  
Up to about 95 metres elevation then back down to sea level and the River Eype. That very much set the tone for the morning, 4km of fierce ups and downs till I reached the Anchor pub at Seatown. A good boozer, sadly on its way to becoming a ‘gastropub’. 

  
The really helpful staff of the Anchor provided me with an ice cold  bottle of Sol with a loose cap, to lubricate my picnic. 

  
Then the biggie, Golden Cap, 191 metres elevation, 1km on the map from sea level at the Anchor pub. Steep. 

  
The view from the top was magnificent in all directions as I ate my picnic lunch in the shade of the triangulation pillar. The sea today has been as calm and clear as ever I have seen it. You could clearly see the bottom 200 metres out from shore. 

I met several walkers all with tales of woe about coastal route diversions, landslides and the like. The section between Charmouth and  Seaton has been diverted inland beside a busy road. 

  

  
The path was closed at Cain’s Folly, with instructions to follow a footpath to the National Trust car park then walk 3km west on a road. 

I saw this interesting circular building, made of precast concrete sections, which had been bolted together on site.  It had been used as a dry store for bags of cement but clearly the damp had got in and it is now full of grey pillow shaped rocks. 

After 2km on Tarmac I’d had enough of road walking so I got the bus to Beer YHA where I erected the basher, together with the ‘bijou bashette’. 

  
 I’d arrived at Beer YHA too late for an evening meal so I took local advice and visited the Dolphin Hotel.  What a find. Fluorescent lights full on in the bar, scary locals on the pool tables and best of all, loud drum & bass on the jukebox. Not a tourists pub this one. I had supper there and stayed till closing. 

  

I am now in Devon 😄

54 – Abbotsbury to West Bay

Distance: 18 km

Steps: 35,321

I was up before the dawn chorus and  back on the trail by 6am. Immediately an ascent, then a gentle ridge walk down into Abbotsbury. Grouse and pheasants everywhere. I heard the swannery  long before it came into view. 

  
Abbotsbury is a quaint old Dorset village with the remains of an old abbey and hundreds of swans. 

  
I had breakfast at 08:00am in the Ilchester Arms, then had a chat with a grocer from Rochford whose wife was in Miss Saigon. Leaving the village I walked beside a field of probably 1,000 birds. They make a right old racket when they take off!

  

Walked past Billy Bragg’s house and saw Valerie Singlton reading the paper outside her beach hut. 

Chesil Beach is endless……….

Dorset’s oldest resident runs the cafe at West Bexington. I fear that some of the stock may have been purchased by her mother. 

The path descended to Burton Bay, very popular on a sunny Sunday. 

  
1 km further along the path and I reached three sadly thought provoking memorials to young men who who had fallen from the cliff top. Then a gentle slope down into West Bay and The Quarterdeck, my B&B. 

53 – Ferry Bridge to Abbotsbury

Distance: 12km

Steps: 35,321

I left Bexley at 0625, heading for Weymouth, to pick up the trail where I left off last month. The sky was ominously red  

 
Oh arrival in Weymouth I went straight to the ticket office and bought my ticket home. By purchasing an ‘advance’ the fare drops from £41.00 to just £12.80. Bargain!

 
It was 11:25 by the time I reached the south eastern end of Chesil Beach, my starting point, where stands the now closed down Ferry Bridge Inn. I took a peek in the window and it looks like they had a wild party one night and at the end simply locked up and went home. 

Chesil Beach isn’t really your traditional seaside beach. No sandcastles or Punch & Judy man.  

 

It is a pebble bank, about 10 metres high which runs in an almost dead straight line for 24 km from Portland to West Bay. It retains a shallow lagoon, ‘The Fleet’, for much of its length. 

 I have no idea how nature maintains such a structure but it’s Jurassic in origin so it’s been there a while. 

There are oyster beds at the south eastern end of the lagoon and a pretentious cafe that doesn’t do a mug of tea or beans on toast.  

 
It’s pleasant walking beside the lagoon and I soon came upon an Army training camp. Looks like Royal Engineers. There’s rolls of Trakway and components for pontoon bridges all over the place. But no people?

  I walked inland a bit, via overgrown and dubiously re-routed footpaths, to Chickerell. Here I had a splendid lunch at the Turk’s Head  

  and loaded up with a picnic supper from the village store. 

All of the B&Bs in Abbotsbury were fully booked (I checked last week), so I camped in a copse, a mile or so east of the village. 

   
Dusk comes earlier now, so I was tucked up in bed by 8:30pm

52 – Ibiza

  
Hence the gap in Sebastian’s Swagger. We had a nice family holiday in Ibiza. 

  
  We heard Eric Prydz play a very credible set as we watched the sun dip into the sea at Cafe Mambo. 

  
Molly and Jack played at Dermott’s club, Plastik. 

  
We saw Carl Cox playing at Space

   
And enjoyed excellent food and great music at the Experimental Beach Bar

   
 

  I bobbed about in a boat whilst Jezabel, Molly and Jack went parasailing.