After a short drive down to the coast, we parked up in one of the most unique and surreal places I’ve been to in the UK.
Dungeness is a hamlet on the coast of Kent, it hosts a long line of terraced houses, which lead to a shingle beach, decorated with hundreds of little homes and boats in various different conditions
Firstly, the boats – a vast majority appeared to be wrecks, surrounded by bits of defunct machinery that are twisted and peppered with rust, each holding their own bit of land and standing proudly against the elements (far more effectively than my hair did!).
The incredible scenery of this sea-side graveyard is clearly a draw for photographers as they were the only other people we encountered on this stretch of beach. I’m told that the locals get (understandably) angry about the constant snapping, so we were sure not to take any pictures of private houses…
Apart from this one… The Derek Jarman Garden at Prospect Cottage.
Jarman was an English film director that created this famous garden on the shingle shore near Dungeness nuclear power station, mainly setting up shop because he believed the finest fish and chips in all of England were to be found at the nearby ‘Pilot Inn’ – the Pilot Inn aren’t dog friendly, so sadly I can’t comment.
On the side of the house there is a poem attached to the black timber called ‘The Sun Rising’ by John Donne. The weather has beaten this display into an illegible mess of mainly vowels, but I managed to decipher two poignant lines:
Saucy pedantic wretch, go chide
Late school-boys and sour prentices
My challenge for the week is to casually slip this into a sentence without anyone noticing.
Moving on, we headed for the light houses and the edge of the nuclear power station, which provides an incredible back drop for an inimitable location.
Soon we came to a separate stretch of beach where we saw a family pushing a parade of wheelbarrows full of fish and equipment through the shingle to their house, it’s impossible and probably rude to comment on the way of life here as seen through the eyes of a one-off tourist, but it seemed to be a close-knit community that maintains itself in an organised and sustainable way. I can only imagine the incredible views across the bay when a lightning storm is in full swing (or the real life possibility of developing super-hero powers from the nuclear power station!)
Pushing on we stopped to take some photo’s of the bigger of the two light houses.
This is an inactive light-house, but an active museum, although we visited out of season so the gates were firmly closed and locked. A sharp ‘toot’ to our left showed us that the mini steam train that runs along the the beach front was defying the down season, providing a nice plume of steam to mix in with the the gentle curls of smoke coming from the houses.
After a ‘moist’ experience in week one, I have replaced my mustard yellow mountain warehouse waterproof with a Columbia, Omni-Tech breathable waterproof jacket that has yet to be tested in heavy rain, but did a pretty good job of blocking the wind on this trip.
To Dungeness, I took:
- Litre of water
- Thermos of tea
- OS Explorer map 125
- Petzl Head Torch (unnecessary)
- Dog Treats and water bottle
- Lost Japan, by Alex Ker (Only just started, enjoying)
For accommodation, we stayed Here:
Vivienne was a fantastic host. Checking us in herself at 9.30pm, providing us with ample food to cook for Breakfast on both mornings, doing her utmost to make us give up on Dry-January (almost insisting on grabbing us a bottle from her private stash!) and allowing the puppy to meet her chickens, which resulted in a symphony of squawks and the puppy running for dear life – he’s descended from wolves don’t you know!
All in all we had an amazing weekend break, 1 hour and 30 minutes from London. I was lucky enough to be joined by my puppy and girlfriend, which was great when it came to grabbing on to each other for warmth as we watched the Kite surfers braving the chilly waters of Camber Sands at the end of the day.
And finally… To be fair to the puppy, he may look dismayed in the first picture but…
I look worse.