27/01/2019 – Portland 4 – Portland Bill to Portland Heights

Click for 3D map of today’s walk – on a laptop or desktop, click on 3D if needed and use the Ctrl key to manipulate the map and scroll to zoom in or out.

Second attempt added below (for the embedded What3words links, click on the sattelite view icon, top left hand corner for a better view)

27/01/2019: today was the day for the last full walk on Portland, but when I got there it was just too windy and dangerous. The path runs along the top of the cliffs in places, which is normally perfectly safe and easy, but not so today. There were times when I could hardly stand up so I decided to turn back… and still… there was this one idiot person who found nothing better to do than stand right at the edge of one of the cliffs. One gust of wind and he would be gone, and it was gusting all the time. I turned my back and left… What a plonker.

This is one of the very few photos I took today and you can tell it was windy from the sea state:

So… as far as this walk goes, next week should be cold but OK, so cross fingers.

03/02/2019: second attempt!

To make best use of the map link provided above, open the link and zoom in to the starting point. you can then use your mouse’s scroll wheel to zoom in or any method you would use on a tablet or laptop. then use ctrl to turn the map around so you can follow the walk as a bird would and zoom in to any feature mentioned or anything you are interested in. 

Finally time for my last stretch of the Portland walk. Normally you can do this in one day if you put your mind to it, but I’m just too busy to make those one day walks, so I’ll do mine in pathetically small stages. To my defence, I do have to do the coast path twice; one walk out and one walk back to the car.

When I set off from home this morning it was absolutely freezing! I had to scrape the van windscreen and the windscreen washer fluid was frozen. There was a bit of ice on the road, but I live on a small local road, a cul-de-sac at that, so I knew the main roads would be OK. I stuck to the main roads, instead of the road near the Hardye’s monument which I usually take and I was all right. Still quite a bit of snow on the hills, though.

Rather than park at the lighthouse on Portland, which would be my starting point, I thought I’d keep it cheap and park near the Portland Heights hotel (acquaint.fries.combines), which has lots of free, albeit ‘bumpy’ parking. This meant doing the walk the other way round, but since I had to come back the same way I didn’t worry. Parking there is not a bad decision as you get to enjoy a stunning view over Chesil Beach and Lyme Bay (see below). The Heights Hotel is also very much worth having lunch or dinner at. This must be the restaurant with one of the best views in England and it is the best I know in Dorset. The food is lovely too and no, I’m not sponsored by them, it’s from personal experience!

Click on image to enlarge and for slideshow.

I set off towards where I had to cancel last time, through the Tout Quarry Sculpture Park, which anywhere else would be a strange experience, but it really suits Portland. Don’t be surprised if you see cars here with a ‘keep Portland weird’ sticker. Even though it was cold, the air was crisp and clear and it was sunny all over. I got to the coast path and where I had to turn back last time and I was thinking I made the right decision to turn back then. Today is so much better! The coast path here is stunning and I didn’t mind spending another walk on Portland, walking towards the light house again. It was early still and there was hardly anyone to be seen, apart from literally two dog walkers. On the path along the cliffs you see those arches and ‘erections’ (hum) made out of massive blocks of Portland stone and it’s a mystery or a miracle how they got the stone so close to the cliff, let alone how they put one of those blocks on top of one another.

Click on image to enlarge and for slideshow.

The path meanders along the cliff top until you reach Blacknor Fort, the tower of which is now a private residence with a view to die for. You only see the house, if you can call it that, once you have walked along a path that clings to the cliffside and I wouldn’t have done this when it was this windy last week, so again, good choice (courier.yourself.piglets). You have the chance of a detour through Weston, which didn’t look too appealing and it’s not the coast path, so I didn’t take it.

Once past Blacknor Fort the path really opens up and the walk is a lot flatter and grassy, rather than rocky and/or muddy. To the left are some residential flats which you wouldn’t imagine building there, but here too, the people must have an excellent view and even though the flats to me don’t look too appealing, I can imagine them selling for a lot of money. The path then takes you along an industrial estate or buildings on the left, and on the right you have the much more picturesque vista of a building that looks like a light house from a distance (expel.supplied.remotest), and I suppose it was one in the past, and the view along the cliffs and the sea with Lyme Bay further out. I walked past the industrial estate and I could see just the tip of Portland Bill light house nipping up over the hill.

The closer light house I saw and had to pass first had some lovely white houses attached to it and to the right was a coastwatch observation point. You can even stay in the light house, which would be an excellent way to spend a holiday I think. Then it was gently down towards the tip of Portland, where I ended up last time. I walked across the common towards the right of the main light house and through another little quarry long since abandoned. I had seen some birds of prey hovering over the landscape below but to my astonishment I came across one that was in the middle of eating a little rodent it had caught. It was so busy pulling little beak sized bits of it’s catch I could pass really close. I was careful not to disturb it but it couldn’t care less.

I then walked towards the rocky ledges I had seen before towards the end point of my walk. I took my time to visit Pulpit Rock, which I didn’t do last time. It’s not as impressive as the one in Norway, but in another way it’s  more so. You can walked along the rocky ledge towards it and even climb onto it at your own risk. I think getting up is easy if you have an eye for heights but getting back down is another matter. The ledges themselves are speckled with fossilised shells, which in itself is worth a closer look. Pulpit rock is a rocky pillar against which some giant, it seems, has propped up another flatter rock. No idea how it got there but it’s obviously ‘man made’. Apparently it used to be an arch which they cut away in the 19th century. A shame but the result is equally spectacular.

For fans of lighthouses, here are some more pictures of the one on Portland (why are you so pretty that I can’t stop taking photos of you!)

Click on image to enlarge and for slideshow.

After resting for half an hour near the light house I set off again. For a fleeting moment I pondered doing the tour of Portland and walking back to the van the way I’d walked already, but I quickly discarded that idea. Been there, done that, and I wanted to see today’s walk from the opposite direction. The walk back looked much quicker than the walk out, as it often does. By the time I got back to the van, my boots were caked in Portland mud, which is very sticky stuff. I looked at where my next walk would start and went back to the van. I had hoped to have a late lunch at Cheyne Weares car park (remarking.timing.causes) for the view, if nothing else, but when I got there I noticed I had everything with me, apart from bread (doh!), so decided to return home instead after drinking a cup of nice warm coffee. I went back over Portesham and Hardye’s monument, which I had noticed from Portland still had some snow. I wasn’t wrong!

Click on image to enlarge and for slideshow.

Next time, we’re walking back to the mainland to then turn left along Chesil Beach.