No.12: Dancing Ledge

This week I was joined by my good friend…

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Phil.

As long time friends, Phil and I have taken a few trips together, most notably a 3000 mile drive across America from Texas to Los Angeles in 2016.

This time, we were both looking for a fresh air fix away from our home city, and the three hour drive down to Dorset was a (rattling) breeze in his fresh new wheels – which I would like to introduce as…

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Galadriel.

Pulling up in Langton Matravers, we stretched our legs and pulled on our backpacks before setting off in search of a good camping spot on the Jurassic Coast. I briefly drove through Swanage a couple of years ago and had wanted to come back to explore since – I’m glad that we did.

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Dancing Ledge was man-made as a vertical ledge that ships could come right up to in order to transport the locally quarried Purbeck Stone to other locations around the UK – the name comes from the water at high tide creating a visual illusion, making it look as though the ledge is bobbing around… It’s also a great spot for camping!

Heading West along the coast we were happily catching up but constantly being distracted by the incredible scenery that was relentless and beautiful – the sea was an amazing shade of teal despite the cloudy day and light showers – I can confirm that the Jurassic Coast is an amazing part of the UK to visit, go there.

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At the three mile mark, we came to Winspit Quarry, which is a place that I loved. The quarry is imposing, with caves that you can explore freely and some decent looking climbing routes and bouldering areas.

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We were considering bunking down in one of the caves when we realised that two guys had beaten us to it and were in the middle of setting up a BBQ, they were friendly and invited us to join them, but we chose to carry on (they already had the best spot and it felt a bit like the beginning of a horror movie).

The mud was really slowing us down on the walk, so 5.30pm came around pretty quickly and we decided to stop just short of the viewpoint at St Aldhelm’s chapel and went about finding a decent patch of level(ish) ground to camp on – it was free, private and came with sea views:

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With 30 minutes of light left, we got dinner on the go – Dinner was a ‘Wayfarer Food Pack’ each – a brand of boil in the bag meals that keep for up to three years!! We went gourmet and opted for a vegetarian chilli and pasta with meatballs – I can’t exactly award them a Michelin star, but neither of us had to run out of the tent in the middle of the night to deal with any ‘consequences’ so that’s always a plus!

There was just enough time to boil up a chocolate pudding in a bag for desert before the daylight tucked itself away for the night and, with nothing else to do, we went to bed… at 7.30pm. I woke up hours later (10pm) to the sound of the wind whistling through the tent, it quickly settled and I was left with a total silence, fresh air and darkness.

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The next morning we packed up early and set off back for Galadriel, there was an amazing set of steps overlooking our ‘camp site’ which was a great place to watch the sun rising

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Seeing as we had ventured west along the coast, we didn’t really need to follow the local signage on where to go to get back to the car:

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Back at the Landy, we got chatting to some enthusiastic locals who were pleased to see us out camping – it turns out that there is a world of amazing scenery to discover here and I definitely plan to be back later in the year.

We waved goodbye and loaded up Galadriel before taking the relatively short drive back home to…

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Brentford and Peckham.

 

 

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