Two evenings and two and half days spent with a group of online companions with [...]
Mud Mud Glorious MudCreated by Jane in Jane Lawson's Blog
You know the feeling – all the excitement of Christmas is over and the countryside and long walks beckon. So, we headed to Dorset on 28th December intending to explore, walk and (sort of) get a bit fitter.
I wouldn’t say that all hope was lost, but we only managed two walks. The first was from Langton Matravers along the Priest’s Path and the South West coast path and Durlston Point. We set off well wrapped up for the planned seven miles. Which turned into thirteen as the rivers and lakes of mud were impassible in places. We began to be seriously worried as dusk fell and the sound of squelching mud and the ache of tired muscles became almost too much to cope with.
But, we made it and the sense of triumph over the terrain was quite exhilarating. So, undeterred, the second walk – on the only other day the rain held off – was over Nine Barrow Down to Corfe Castle. This was a more sensible choice along a high ridge where the mud was only about six inches deep and then only in places. The wind, though, was some of the strongest I’ve ever experienced and as one point I thought I was going to be blown into a flock of sheep huddled together against the cold. What an amazing view though of Corfe Castle with its ruins silhouetted against an angry sky. The pub in the village was an even more welcome sight and we returned by way of a wonderful steam train which took us back fifty or so years as it chuffed chuffed its way along the track to Swanage.
The other days were necessarily spent mostly indoors except for a brief respite when were able to visit Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door. Sadly, the heavy rain and cliff falls put paid our hopes of fossil hunting, but I heard from a friend that someone had found an ichthyosaurus after a new cliff fall. If only….
One of the highlights were visits to two extraordinary churches. The first was the tiny church of St Martin in Wareham which is the oldest Saxon Church in England and has exquisite wall paintings which we were fortunate enough to be guided round by the vicar whose enthusiasm was palpable. In Wareham too we walked round the Saxon walls and surveyed the flooded fields with stray swans swimming in unaccustomed places. The other was Bere Regis Church which has a carved roof showing the apostles and which was endowed by cardinal Morton, of Morton’s Fork fame. He was Henry VII’s minister who taxed the rich as they had too much money and taxed the poor as he said they must be hiding their wealth. The capitals at the top of the pillars have wonderful mediaeval carvings of two chaps suffering from toothache and headache.
We also went to the Dorset County Museum which has material enough to keep visitors and scholars happily occupied for weeks. Unfortunately, it is quite a muddle and a jumble and needs serious money spending on it to make sense of all the displays.
And then one of the highlights of the trip was a visit to fellow grannynetter, Elaine, who made us very welcome at her lovely Dorset home. What a treat to meet someone in the flesh whom you’ve ‘known’ for three years online.
So – a mixed bag, but it was lovely to have a week away with our daughter and son-in-law, and if we didn’t get as fit as we’d hoped and perhaps ate a bit too much and shared a few glasses of something nice too often we had a good time and hope to return one day when the sun is shining.