Tuesday, July 1, 2014

6/20/14 Day 155 Hiking Old Harry Rocks with Alison

After an amazing two weeks exploring the depths of Wales, watching their beautiful dragon embellished flag flapping in the wind and being covered, soaking, and basking in sawdust day in and day out we are leaving Wales for the Southwest coast of England to meet my best friend, Alison who is flying in from Vancouver to meet up with us for a week! We join up with her in Bath to wander the city and explore the beautiful old city charm. The golden beige sandstone warms the city and encapsulates the city to a simpler time when the hot springs were bustling as a fountain of youth. Today the only thing bustling in this city is way too many tourists, a suffocating amount of people are meandering through the city center and swarming to view the Roman baths that the city is famous for. Alison Kevin and I decide to forgo the tour as it is 12£ just to see the pools, and we are short on time as is, our bus leaves in just two hours for Bournemouth!  Stepping off the bus into the city Kevin asks me where my other shoe is...ummmmm there is not two?! Yep I no longer have a pair of shoes. After a frustrated laugh we decide to rid my half a pair reminder that I now am working with only a pair of Rainbow flip flops and a really worn out pair of Toms flats. Leaving my shoe in the bin and walking towards the beach is the way we spend the rest of our evening as the bouncer of the pub that our host is watching the England World Cup game at, is having none of our packs in the crowded room. England loses and we are escorted to Nick and Josh's apartment before the sun sets beyond the beach. 

Alison Kevin and I spent the gorgeous weather the next morning walking from Bournemouth to Poole where the Southwest Coast Path begins. The beach is spectacular with golden sands and teal shallow bays and coves. There is a 1£ ferry that runs between quite possibly the shortest harbor crossing I have ever seen, maybe 50 meters across and returning every twenty minutes for another load of passengers and cars trying to avoid the 25 mile drive around. Before we are even settled in the 10 minute chain ferry is docked and we are on our way across the fine sands and mildly cold shore breaks. We walk barefoot past the naturist beach full of ridiculously tan men and women eager to rid themselves of their tan lines. We pass hundreds of tiny colorful huts on the beach that can be rented for the day week or month. A brilliant solution to the incessant need to build huge permanent structures on beaches that will only damage the ecosystems just to be smashed and washed away by Mother Nature to spite us anyways. We continued on zigzagging along the coast path all the way up and over the cliffs of Old Harry Rocks, a beautiful set of white chalk cliffs, once stretching all the way to the Isle of Wight, but due to the power of the ocean just a few stacks and cliffs remain. This is also the very eastern boundary of the Jurassic section of the 670 mile Southwest Coast Path. After a quick lunch break we worked our way back down the 7 mikes of barefoot beach and completing a 15 mile hike on Alison's first real day with us, and now we are going to stay up until dawn to watch the sun rise over Stonehenge. 

Beautiful viewpoint above Bath's honey colored stone




The old spa shower 
Row houses for miles

Charming Bournemouth
Complete with solar trash compactors
Don't forget to look the right direction when crossing the street


Rental beach huts

The chain ferry


Southwest Coast Path
Old Harry Rocks







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