On Saturday, here in carrot-cruncher-land, it was hot. It was hot, very humid and totally lacking in anything even remotely breeze-like. I would say 'sultry' but that word has taken on other connotations in recent times and I can honestly say there wasn't even a hint of Amy Winehouse, Halle Berry or even Lana Coc-Kroft. It was one of those days when just sitting watching rubbish television takes it out of you. There was a walk I had wanted to do and enjoy and this weather was not helping. Finally, at around four in the afternoon, a bit of a breeze got up and I thought I would go for it.
I drove the few miles to the little town of Langport and parked up at the River Parrett (please don't laugh) Visitor Centre. Inadvertantly I had muscled in on and joined the Langport Walking Festival. It was going on all around me and I suddenly felt very self-conscious in my 'longs' ( shorts that are too long to be called shorts) and sandals. Everyone else seemed to be dressed in lycra (unflatteringly, in most instances) and sporting fancy footwear designed to accomplish all-terrain pedestrianism. Happily, the path I had chosen to take (both in life and on this particular occasion) didn't seem to be a well-trodden one and it wasn't long before I was alone with my thoughts and the great outdoors. I walked for a couple of kilometres along a disused and de-railed railway track. This was fine but fairly dull as it was in a bullet-straight line and dead flat. I was then directed off this path along a road to a gateway and a path back towards the town again along the banks of the mighty River Parrett (please don't laugh). At least this was a bit winding and more interesting and watching out for cow shit gave me something else to do.
It got me out and about and gave me a chance to think about where I should go on Sunday.
For no other reason than that I had never been there before, I decided that I would visit Maiden Castle, near Dorchester, on Sunday. Maiden Castle is the biggest Iron Age hillfort in Europe and is as impressive as it is massive. The huge banks and ditches that surround it are witheringly high. It is a walk of about three kilometres around the perimeter and I couldn't help thinking just how ingenious my distant ancestors had been to create something this enormous using just rudimentary tools and lots of muscle. Again, unfortunately, because of the nature of the thing, it doesn't lend itself to particularly interesting photos, but I did my best. With that wonderful place knocked off, I decided, somewhat unwisely, to head for the coast.
When I arrived at Durdle Door (please, don't laugh) I knew I had made a mistake. Perhaps it was the enormous caravan site that I had to drive through to get there, perhaps it was the sheer number of other people doing the same thing, but I just didn't feel comfortable. Durdle Door (...) is a delight and a gorgeous spot but I'm now certain that going there on an aimless sunny Sunday was a bit of a mistake. I took some photos and then walked up over the coast path to get a view of the delightful Lulworth Cove, but by then I had had enough. There was far too much gleaming metal in the car parks, too many Essex accents all around me and much too much unattractive flesh on display everywhere I looked that I made my way back to the car and drove home the pretty way.
All being well, there will be photos later this week.