Today’s distance walked – approx 13 kms (8 miles).
Ascent – approx 100m (328 ft).
I woke at 5am and had a coffee and Museli bar in my little hotel room. I went downstairs for breakfast at 7.15am, and chatted to the new hotel owners about the history of the building and their plans to restore it’s seafaring heritage. I left at 9am. The sun came out at 9.30, as I was making my way back via the marina. At Ferrybridge the trail followed a historic railway line route to Weymouth.
Mid way, I popped into the very beautiful Sandsfoot Gardens and ruined castle. The castle was completed in 1541 by Henry VIII. It was built to defend this part of the coast after he divorced Catherine of Aragon and broke away from the Catholic church.
There was a bit of road walking this morning, but I didn’t mind it at all – it was rather lovely. I came to a nice walled seafront at Newton’s Cove and then to the historic Nothe Fort.
I must have been to Weymouth before, but I don’t remember any of it. It ticks all the boxes for what you’d want in a British seaside town, and it does it so well! So well in fact, that it hosted the 2012 Olympic sailing events.
To the West, it has a beautiful narrow harbour filled with boats. The harbour is flanked on either side by lovely old colourful buildings – shops, pubs, cafes and restaurants.
There were lots of families crabbing off the harbour walls. If you’re not familiar with the sport of crabbing, it involves dangling a piece of fishing line with a hook and some bacon (or other goodies) on it, from the harbour wall. When the crabs come for the bait, you pull up your line, and drop the crab off into your bucket full of seawater at the top. You collect as many crabs at you can before tipping them all back in.
Around to Weymouth Bay, and there’s the Jurassic Skyline tower viewing platform which rises 54m (174ft) above the town. Weymouth has a decent sized shopping area, with bunting across the streets – (which makes any place look even more English!) including an M&S foodhall, right behind the huge sweeping sheltered bay of fine, white sand.
There’s a lovely long, wide promenade with plenty of seating and people-watching opportunities, a painted clock tower, and rows of colourful period houses across the road. By the beach there is a small pier with a Pavilion theatre, and a little funfair. On the beach itself there is an old wooden helter-skelter straight out of my childhood, plus donkey rides, and a Punch & Judy puppet show. A more modern addition is the volleyball courts on the sand. There are shops selling buckets and spades, ice-creams and fish n chips. You can rent pedelos or paddle boards and there are little beach shelters for daily rental.
You honestly couldn’t ask for more in your seaside town. It doesn’t smell of urine, chips or donut fat, and it doesn’t have swarms of giant thieving seagulls. The beach was packed with families and deckchairs, umbrellas, little tents and inflatables galore. The views across the bay takes in the white cliffs over towards Lulworth and Kimmeridge.
It was a little slice of British heaven. The sun was out and it was perfect! I slowly ambled along, enjoying the bustle and taking it all in. Further up the beach to the East I came to Greenhills Gardens and a row of marvelous blue, terraced beach huts.
A little further still there were more – complete with paddling pool and a sandpit for the very little ones. Just at the end, the petit train had just pulled in.
The promenade continued around the bay to the next suburbs and at the very end some Kms later I left the beach to go up Furzy cliff and above Bowleaze beach.
I reached Bowleaze beach funfair at 1.15pm. The stand-out landmark here was a large, long art-deco style blue and white building, which I assumed was some kind of resort. I didn’t see anyone in or around it, just a sign for refreshments – but even then I didn’t see any part of it that looked open.
I climbed to the top of the hill and on the limestone downs to the North, I saw the’ white horse’ which is according to Wikipedia, is the likeness of King George III. He was a regular visitor to Weymouth and made it ‘the first resort’. It 85m (280 ft) long and 98m (323 ft) high. Along a little further I passed a large outdoor education centre, above a lovely beach. I reached Rosewall campsite at 2.20pm. I spent a couple of hours lying in the sun, then lazing in my very hot tent. At 4.30 I went to sit on the clifftop by the Smugglers Inn, 18th Century pub (the perfect example of how an English pub should look) just down the road to get a bit of breeze.