Wednesday 30 May
Well I have arrived home!
I spent last night on the cliffs high above Old Harry’s rock about 15 miles from home.
From this point, had the weather been better, I could have seen Hengistbury Head where we walk Hugo most mornings and my whole route home.
The night was uneventful apart from the rain that started at about 3 AM and woke me up – rain in a tent can sound very loud.
I packed away my wet tent at 7 AM and walked along the beautiful, deserted Studland Bay and its miles of sand, then across on the ferry and back to reality. Sandbanks and its ridiculously overpriced homes for celebrities was followed by several miles of tourist beach and promenade. It’s easy to see why the Bournemouth area became so popular; its beaches are amazing and it is surrounded by such lovely countryside.
Then at 2.30 PM it was over: I walked up to my house and was greeted by the builders (yes they are still here), Hugo the dog and Kerriann. It’s lovely to be back but I will miss the freedom of the walk. The only worries when walking are where to get food, where to spend the night and how to keep warm and dry.
En route I washed in the sea, ate mainly in Cafes and enjoyed cups of tea, hot chocolate and dried food heated on my little gas stove.
This walk was a tough one: 311 miles over 21 days averaging around 14.8 miles per day. It was tough because I had to climb up and down hills all the way, never achieving much more than 600 ft on the unrelenting, often erratically spaced, difficult steps.
I wild camped every night apart from one (in Plymouth) where it was not practical and I was getting very smelly.
My favorite bits?
- Without doubt the people I met:
the Kurds who shared their food and a pineapple
the woman who told me about the gorse fire on the Cornish Coast and how her husband cut fire breaks with an antique crawler
the woman who was looking down on her home village, showing her daughter where she went to school and where the blacksmith shop was
the gay couple who were delighting in having spent a lovely night under the stars
the seasoned ‘wild campers’ who joined me eating ice cream in a car park at Kimmeridge and many, many more.
- Walking with my friend Anthony
- I loved camping in so many great locations – waking up to views across the cliffs.
I knew the Cornish Coast was beautiful but parts of Dorset and Devon are a close match.
Least Favourite bits?
- Steep, slippery steps up steep cliff edges.
- Walk Hugo half a mile by the river