Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Swanage and Durlston - June 16 2014

The road from Bridport to Dorchester has fine views of the coast, and the rolling hills. Between Wareham and Swanage you pass Corfe Castle, with its unbelievable setting. I don't think I've ever seen castle ruins looking so castle-like.

Swanage itself has the familiar air of English seaside towns - a cool breeze, people paddling with shorts on or skirts lifted delicately over the knee,  apart from the odd brave person in a swimsuit. Then we have ice-cream stalls, cafés and of course the dreaded amusement arcades.

Vivid memories - the blissful expression on Hazel's face as she went round in the teapots, and Joseph's was nearly as good.

Others: Joseph's mega meltdown when he couldn't keep losing more money on the twopence machines, and the feel of seawater and sand between my toes. Seems all the boy wanted was the lollipop he didn't win. . .

I went to buy goodies for lunch, bread from a bakery, the rest from Budgens supermarket.

Then it was back to the cars, and we decided to visit Durlston Castle Country Park. Easy peasy, the signs are there until we reach the town centre, when suddenly the powers that be expect you to know the way. We do a quick extra circuit of the town centre, then make a false turn before choosing the correct route. After a mile or so, there's another sign. Brilliant labelling, Swanage!

We're hungry now, so we eat, then make our way to the castle - built between 1887 and 1891 by George Burt, owner of Durlston Estate. He hoped to develop the estate as a spa, and he was one of those enterprising Victorians with a fascination for science and learning, as a walk round soon shows.
Picture by HH

Joseph's fascination with stairs distracts us from our original objective of the coffee shop, and leads us through an exhibition of original artwork by local artist Joe Colquhoun for the comic strip, Charley's war, and out to the Great Globe, a 4 ton Portland Stone construction with a sea view. Plenty of opportunities for him to use his new mini binoculars to peruse the boats on the sea, and a helicopter which flies over. And lots of scrambling up and down on steep grass.
by HH

The Great Globe (HH)

The Southwest Coast Path runs through the Estate, and we follow it past a tree which demands to be climbed, and then Tilly Whim Caves - too dangerous for humans now because of rockfalls, but all the better for bats and birds.
Joseph is very keen to run on towards the lighthouse.  I go with him and Harry Esther and Hazel follow with the pushchair.  The wall stops and we have a rougher track down and up. Hand holding is enforced.The Lighthouse is now holiday cottages.  

Alas, you can't visit the light, the old one is wrapped and out of use - they use LEDs now. No we can't get in - not even to meet Sky High and Huggy*, whoever they are. (Even though they texted us to say we should meet them there - a grandmotherly ploy to keep us moving). We'll have to rearrange the meeting with them at the car park.

On the way back we find ourselves falling behind the others - no tempting objective in view, but distractions all the way. 'I'm just building a nest for my binoculars.'   'That's a Joseph path' - one I've marked out as safe for a hands free few yards.  'I need to climb the tree.'  I parcel out two or three minute permissions until it's close enough to tempt him with the café. But the others - no, not Sky High and Huggy - send a text that they're in the car park. A carton of juice and a piggyback later, we rejoin them.

*Fly high and huggy from a Cbeebies game!

I should have a few more photos to add. Taken by Harry.


Ida Jones said...

Oh that looks and sounds like a really lovely day, Alison.

aliqot said...

It was very enjoyable.

darkdreamer said...

What a wonderful day and great to see it through children's eyes

aliqot said...

Thank you! We really had a terrific time.