I said that the first walk of the holiday would be difficult to beat; well today’s walk must just about be its equal. It is a walk that I’ve done before but this time I did it the opposite way around which, I think, is better. I couldn’t have asked for a better day, good sunshine offset by a cooling sea breeze.
The walk was 6¼ miles with 1000ft of ascent starting from Studland near Swanage. There were sea views almost all of the way around and the first port of call was the chalk cliffs and stacks at Old Harry Rocks. From here there was a superb stretch of about 2 miles along Ballard Down with views of Swanage Bay to my left and Studland Bay & Poole Harbour to my right. In fact, I could see way beyond Bounemouth and as far as the Isle of Wight.
From Ballard Down the way was downhill and the terrain changed to heath land, where I stopped for a while at Agglestone Rock.
By coincidence, I met two couples who were completing their final leg of the SW Coast Path. The first (husband & wife – I guess) I had met near Durdle Door 3 days earlier. Stopping to chat to them again, I discovered that they had started their marathon walk on 17 March – nearly two months on the go! The second couple, two guys (no not gays – I guess) stopped to confirm the direction of the SWCP. Unlike the first couple, these guys had taken a considerable time to complete the SWCP but were veterans of long distance paths, having also completed the C2C, West Highland Way and many others.