When we camped on the cliffs at Osmington my brain took that lovely sound of the waves below crashing on the rocks and decided we were sleeping next to a motorway. Thanks, brain. Last night brain figured out we were on a beach and wasn’t a dick about it. Didn’t try to convince me we were going to down or anything. Good brain.
It was such a nice, calm start to the day. We shovelled breakfast into our chops on the beach as the waves lapped gently against the shore. Lovely. Right. What’s going to go tits up? It felt like the precursor to something going terribly, axe-murdery wrong.
Turned out it was a wonderful albeit utterly fucking brutal day for the entire lower body. We made our way to the toilets at West Bexington, not holding out much hope of them being open at 8am but a sign on the door announced their glorious 24 hour status. Yes, West Bexington! You can be my new favourite!
After that though a little stone waymarker announces that the coast path continues along the beach. Like, literally on it. The actual shingle. I know it’s the coast path and all that, and you don’t get more coasty than the actual beach unless you’re swimming, but come on! So that was hideous and it went on for a significant amount of time.
At one point you’re offered a way out on a “summer route” but we had no idea why it was a summer route. Were there seasonal dragons? Did the resident inbred cannibal go on his holidays during the summer thus making it safe to pass? Turns out it’s just an utter quagmire. Our calf muscles insisted we take the next turn off the beach we could which led to a very soft trail. It’d been so dry recently though, we easily got through without ending up tits deep in mud.
Eventually we were walking through a plethora of holiday parks as the Jurassic Coast we’d come to know and grudgingly love loomed in the distance like a massive rollercoaster. Oh good. We tackled a couple of these up-to-come-down-to-go-up undulations before we finally slid, pretty much literally in my case, down the hill into West Bay where we intended to resupply.
First though, frozen dairy goodness for me and frozen whatever it is they make vegan ice cream out of (probably best not to ask) for my beloved because we’re grown ups and we can do what we want. We were at West Bay only a month ago with my family, we’d seen the hills involved then and wondered what the fuck we were doing with our lives. Turns out, walking up said hills. A lot of them. Every day.
So yeah, you’d think we’d be better at it by now but we’re really, really not. We’re actually still quite shit at it. We sort of plod-shuffle-drag ourselves up using our poles as much as our legs, stopping a lot to complain about various pains, and to admire the eyehole fodder but only if the hill isn’t too steep and I can look behind me without freezing in terror.
A bloke in West Bay told us the hills weren’t as bad as they looked. If anyone utters these words to you just nod and smile and do not believe them, it’s all lies. They are absolutely as bad as they look, which is fair enough on account of the fact Golden Cap is the highest motherfucking point on the South Coast of England. You’d expect it to be a beast.
We had to stop for a nap just over halfway up and when we carried on up an older couple sat on a bench asked us if we wanted to sit down. How fucking terrible must you look for retirees to want to give up their seat for you? We did finally gasp our way to the top where we were rewarded with a trigpoint and a shit tonne of eyehole fodder.
Right then. Back down again. And back up again, and you get the picture, all the way into Charmouth where we rewarded ourselves with a pint at the Royal Oak because we’d bloody well earned it. Then we questioned the wisdom of drinking a motor-impairment beverage before we had to climb up what turned out to be an utter bastard of a hill to the golf course.
Of course they were still golfing. Do they ever stop golfing? Could we show up here at 10pm and there’d still be people in very particular clothing belting tiny balls around the place? This isn’t very conducive to wild camping is it?
Just as we thought we weren’t going to find a campsite before dark we did find a great little spot. I spyed it when I nipped off for a wee. It’s probably the only flat spot in the whole of Dorset, hidden away from the trail amongst the trees. Yes, this would be perfect, I fucking love woodland camping! Tarrant made me promise to check her shoes for slugs on the morning and we called it home for the night.
Day on South West Coast Path: 7
Distance walked today: 16.4 miles
Total walked so far: 260.02 miles
Weather: Sunny with cloudy spells. Cold wind.
Coldest temp last night: 7.69°C inside / 6.13°C outside
Trigs bagged: 1
Trigs to date: 25
“Have you read ‘The Salt Path?'” (Running Total): 3
Jump to “Useful shit to know…”
West Bexington, Dorset to Lyme Regis, Dorset, England
Stayed at: Wild camp in woods at the top of the golf course
Useful shit to know…
- There are toilets at West Bexington, West Bay, Seatown and Charmouth.
- If you want plant based ice cream in West Bay then check out Baboo Gelato, one of the little kiosks by all the picnic tables. Others might do it too but we know about this one.
- We got our bottles filled at Baboo Gelato. They’re part of the Refill scheme so they’ve pledged to fill water bottles with no expectation of a purchase.
- Apart from that, you do cross streams running onto beaches but the local councils strongly advise you to not get that water in your mouth so you’d want a pretty epic filter.
BUDGET for one person (based on two sharing)
Ice cream in West Bay: £2.90
Pint at Royal Oak, Charmouth: £5.50
Grand Total: £20.02