The third day of the Sandbanks Birthday Bash, I woke to a 7 am alarm, too early for a Sunday morning after (many) consecutive late nights. Ah, right: as the haze clears, I remembered the plan behind it all…walk the Durdle Door by early light.
I’d visited Lulworth Cove and the Durdle Door last month, two well-known landmarks along Dorset’s Jurassic Coast. There hadn’t been time for a wander around them, though, and the rain had made all of the trails too slippery for my balance (confirmed by three slips down the muddy trail). I’d planned to return on a drier day when the light was better, and, finally, this was the walking day.
We were, indeed, ahead of the crowds. The roads were empty,the villages silent. We were first past the turnoff at West Lulworth and through the gateway mobile home park, first into the car park and walking out onto the point above the Door, first down to the stone and shell beach. Low tide exposed a broad swath of coarse orange beach beneath the chalk cliffs. The sea was blue-green flat beneath a sigh of wind, quiet except for the waves tossing the pebbles. The rock formations and cliffs can illuminate with the colours of sunrise, but today there was white mist and grey cloud and bluish-green shadowless air that coolly muted the shoreline. It’s a wet pearl light familiar in watery impressionistic landscape paintings.
We hiked the beach as far as we could, then back up the cliffs and over to Lulworth for coffee and cakes. That time of the morning, there were only joggers and outdoorsmen on the trails: Boats and visitors didn’t turn up until noon. By that time, it was the home stretch for the Bash, so back for a quick change and an afternoon Sunday roast dinner and drinks, then coffee, then puppies…
…then, early, to bed, then pack-‘n-back to Maastricht in the morning.