I set out at 6 am today for Dartmoor, hoping to squeeze in a very full day of whitewater paddling. Unfortunately, I was turned back halfway by extreme flooding in west Dorset (third time this year I’ve failed to reach the rivers) and headed back to home.
When I reached our village, I found that the main road was flooded; this isn’t unheard of, but the water level had reached the highest we’ve seen it in 12 years of living here, blocking off all the side roads. For a few hours until the waters eased off slightly, the Isle of Purbeck really was an island.
I hitched a lift through the floods in a fire engine. A few hours later, I took a walk with Heather and Ellen to see the floods; the river had dropped enough to open the main road, at least.
Should have listened to those Mayans…
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Heather, Ellen and myself to all of our friends, acquaintances, readers and followers. What an incredible year it has been.
Below, somewhere in Neolithic Dorset, and the west coast of magical Lundy Island.
The sun, taken on a rainy day when there was no sun. Studland Beach, Dorset.
A few pics from back in the summer. Messing around at the entrance to Lulworth Cove, where waves break across a shallow ledge.
My daughter, completely underwhelmed by the spectacular scenery at Durdle Door. Below, taken a week before, she is snoozing through the glories of Chapman’s Pool.
Yesterday we walked to Durdle Door whilst Mummy completed the Dorset round of the Endurance Life Coastal Trail Series. I have survived a few of these great challenging events over the last year, now it was her turn. I was more than happy to enjoy a lazy stroll whilst she ran along the hilly coast. That said, lugging the equivalent of a breeze block on my back didn’t feel completely lazy…
Much of the surface of the Isle of Portland is effectively a vast industrial wasteland; quarried waste is strewn all along the coast, in particular.
Various tall objects to be found at the southern tip of the Isle of Portland. The smaller lighthouse is no longer in use; instead it belongs to the British Ornithology Trust, and you can stay there if so inclined.
The cliffs along the west coast of the Isle of Portland.
No sign of that large yellow object in the sky, this weekend. Time to head to the rivers instead…
Bimbling around, a few yards offshore of the most southerly point of Dorset.
Chesil Beach is very big, and very long; a 15 metre high, 200 metre wide and 30 kilometre long barrier beach. One thing you’ll notice about it, is that it contains a fair amount of pebbles.
Launching from the eastern end of Chesil Beach for the paddle around Portland Bill…
The Portland Race is one of the most powerful and roughest tide races around the UK. The waters of the English Channel squeeze around the Isle of Portland, and compress over shallows about a kilometre offshore. The flows can reach 11mph in the Race.
I’ve never paddled in the Race! The normal way of rounding the Isle of Portland is to arrive at the pointed southern tip – Portland Bill – within an hour of slack water. In any case, the Race is offshore; there is always a ribbon of calmer water around the shore. Arriving at a time when the Race is in full flow, or heading that far offshore, could cause real problems; it’s not a simple matter of paddling back to shore, as massive fast-flowing eddies are created on either side of Portland Bill…in other words, the tide is flowing strongly south (against your retreat) on both sides of the Isle.
I will figure out a way to safely visit it, one of these days…
Enjoying a quick shower, on the east coast of the Isle of Portland yesterday. We took advantage of some winter sunshine to enjoy some great rockhopping…more images to follow.