Day 52 Seaton to West Bay.   What a day that was ! I set off at 7am as I knew it was going to be a long haul. After a couple of hills the path enters the slightly odd undercliff area which runs through to Lyme Regis. It has been created by cliff falls and it really is like another world, damp, very dark and quite eerie in places. After about 7 miles I reached Lyme Regis and stopped briefly for a drink and a quick bite to eat. Next came a stretch on the beach through to Charmouth but this beach is not very attractive, there are lots of black deposits which look volcanic and there was plenty of rubbish about. There were dozens of fossil hunters here, all wandering around with their heads down, oblivious to me trying to walk around them. After that came some really steep hills and by about mid-afternoon I reached Golden Cap, the highest point on the path. It’s a long but mostly fairly gentle climb to the top which is covered with a very bright sandstone and hence its name. The views from the top really were spectacular, the Isle of Portland was clearly visible and I suddenly felt quite sad as that meant I wasn't too far from the end of the walk. There were a few more hills to climb before the day finished at about 5.30pm at the lovely village of West Bay. Nearly 20 miles today and I loved every inch of it. 

Day 53 - West Bay to Abbotsbury.  A shorter day today and also a much flatter one. There is one big hill to start with at the end of West Bay beach and there were amazing views straight away. The path then fairly quickly flattened out and joined the shingle beach which becomes Chesil Beach a few miles further south. It was very hard work walking on the soft shingle and very hot so I stopped on Cogden beach for a rest and briefly fell asleeep ! I decided to go for a swim which was fabulous, the water is noticeably warmer that it is on the north coast. It was all going well until I climbed out and realised that I didn’t have a towel ! Drying myself with my flannel was quite a challenge and I quickly gave up and just sat there until I was dry. It was a wonderful afternoon, I strolled along in the hot sunshine stopping frequently so I didn't miss any of this beautiful day. The path followed a wide track along the back of the beach and then curved inland across some farmland to the village of Abbotsbury where I was staying.

Day 54 - Abbotsbury to Weymouth It rained again ! Only some drizzle for an hour or so but I'm just not used to this ! Not the most exciting day today, the path followed a minor road out of Abbotsbury and wound down to the Fleet, the inland lagoon that seperates Chesil beach from the mainland. The scenery along this section is all fairly similar and not particularly interesting. Worse than that, it was severely overgrown so even though it had long since stopped raining, I got saturated ! It was a relief to get onto the 'Rodwell Trail' on the outskirts of Weymouth, this is a disused ralway line, now covered in tarmac, running for about 4 miles into the centre of Weymouth. 

Day 55 - The Isle of Portland.  This is a very unusual day because its a round walk, starting and finishing in Weymouth and one I was really looking forward to. For a start, I was able to leave most of the contents of my rucksack behind so it was a fraction of its normal weight ! The island is reached by a causeway and its an odd place, including a castle, prison, young offenders institution and numerous quarries but it is incredibly beautiful in places and has become one of my favourite places. The island is roughly 4 miles long and 1.5 miles across at its widest point and apart from the area around the Portland Bill lighthouse, its very quiet and peaceful. It was a lovely sunny day and on the way back I walked as slowly as I reasonably could to stretch the day out. I got back to Weymouth at about 6pm wishing I had walked even more slowly.

Day 56 - The Isle of Portland (again !)  The South West Coast Path misses large sections of the Island, particularly around the North West which I really wanted to see so today was a bit of an extra walk to make sure I took in the whole island. I'm so glad I did because parts of the coastline I hadn't seen are just stunning and inland is really interesting as well. There are a number of old quarries on the island and Portland stone has been used to build some well known buildings including the Tower of London and parts of Buckingham Palace. One of the old quarries, Broadford, has been transformed into a nature reserve and there were more butterflies there than I have seen just about anywhere. Another quarry known as Tout has become a sculpture park with a range of animals carved out of stone, in the gallery is a photo of one of them although I'm not quite sure what it is ! Another fabulous day.

Day 57 - Rest Day

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