Dancing Ledge

Tuesday 6 September 2016. This is my last scheduled holiday of the year although, given half a chance, I’ll probably get away somewhere before the end of the year. The drive down to Wareham yesterday took 5hrs and 30mins which is an awfully long time to be towing a caravan. It was a good job that I had my own portaloo and could stop more or less when I needed to.

My dread when I’m away from home is that I can’t set-up my Sky box and won’t be able to watch sport in the caravan. Well my worst fears were realised yesterday when my Sky box displayed a message “still initializing” and wouldn’t budge beyond that. Might I have to go cold turkey and do without sport for a whole two weeks? OMG. I researched the problem on the internet and came up with many different solutions, none of which did any good. Luckily my TV has an in-built freeview tuner so I was at least able to watch terrestrial TV last night. I decided to tackle the problem again this morning. My Sky box had had a software update since my last trip and this meant that the setting-up sequence had changed. When I eventually figured this out, I was able to get a fix on the Sky satellite and bingo, normal service was resumed. I was one happy bunny.

Travel and TV problems resolved, I was able to concentrate on walking once more. This is my third visit to the Isle of Purbeck since my retirement and whilst the name of “Isle” is something of a misnomer, the area offers some outstanding walking. I’ll no doubt be repeating some of the walks from previous visits but today I thought that I’d try something new. A 10 mile drive brought me to the village of Langton Matravers for a walk to Dancing Ledge and along the South West Coast path. Navigation was easy – keep the sea to my left. At one point there were hundreds of Swallows flying across the path just in front of me. They were so close that I could have almost reached out to grab one of them except that they were too quick. I did manage to catch a few blurred images in one of my snaps. I guess that they were feeding up before making the long journey south.

It was a deceptively undulating walk until I came to the lookout station at St Aldhelm’s Head where the path suddenly descended at least 200ft and then climbed a similar height soon after. These were 1in4 and proved a challenge both going down and then coming up the other side. I’d promised myself lunch at the Square and Compass in Worth Matravers and whilst the pint of Lime and Lemonade was welcome on a very warm and humid day, the pasty was a huge disappointment. The pub has something a captive market but only offers a pasty or cheese and veg pie to its customers. My pasty was sold a being steak but I had to search for some time to find any meat. Most of it was potatoe and pastry.

The last section of the walk followed the Priest’s Way which joins Worth Matravers with nearby Swanage. I could see some bright white cliffs away in the distance but couldn’t quite work out where they were. I now know that they were the Needles on the Isle of White almost 20 miles to my east. The walk was described as being 7.3 miles but I measured it as 8.6 miles with a total ascent of 1,685ft and it felt like it.

dancing-ledge-walk-route

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