The only place to go to from Abbotsbury by bus was Weymouth. Breakfast was at 8:00 so I missed the 8:30 and took the 9:30.
I had four unclimbed Marilyns in the south of England two of which were close enough to climb on this trip. One of the others is at Folkestone and the fourth north east of London. Another bus took me to Dorchester (that bus pass is getting some use at last). A short taxi ride got me to Dorchester Car Rentals and I was off to Swyre Head (SY 934 784).
It was only a twenty minute walk, but oh so rewarding. Glorious sunshine, cropped turf path and the sea to the left. When I arrived at the top I had a moment of panic because it appeared to be an integral part of the SW Coast Path, in which case I would have passed over it last summer. A closer look reassured me when I could see that path wending its way at a lower level below. The views of coast, chalk cliffs and sea were a brilliant contrast to what I have been seeing over the last twenty one days, and a forceful reminder of what a superb coastline we have - I was raring to go again.
A short drive on some frighteningly narrow lanes WITH NO PASSING PLACES FOR LONG SECTIONS took me to Knitson's Farm (SZ 003 807) south of Nine Barrow Down an apparently suitable start for the ascent. Parking was limited to private property of the farm. Nobody was about to ask permission, and I had just decided on a roadside spot when a lady leading a horse appeared walking up the road. She told me the farm people were quite aggressively against parking, but she told me of an alternative ascent from the north where there is a popular viewpoint overlooking Poole Harbour, so another short drive and another twenty minute ascent saw me within twenty yards of the highest point which is marked by a large rusty water bowser on private land guarded by a locked gate and barbed wire fencing. For me, twenty yards from the spot is near enough and I am counting it as a tick on Harold Street.
I had a fraught time getting the car back to Dorchester Rentals, they are located in a difficult to find mini industrial estate. I had stopped to put £10 worth of petrol in as required to bring the tank back to starting point. I couldn't find how to open the filler hatch and so I drove on. At Dorchester Rentals they waived my offer of cash in lieu, and then offered to drive me back into town - they get top marks for service which could only be improved by putting a homing device on each car.
I was dropped off at Premier Inn which is within fifty yards of the station platform I would need next morning. The bad news was that Premier were full, but just as the receptionist was trying to suggest an alternative (GET THIS ONE GAYLE) a guy appeared and said he had just checked in but now didn't need the room and handed me the swipe card and said I was free to take the room which was already paid for! The receptionist went along with that so I have a free room tonight. HOW ABOUT THAT JOHN (bowlandclimber) for your challenge to find a B and B under £25?
Ilchester Arms, Abbotsbury where I had my last night
Swyre Head summit
View west from Swyre Head
Nine Barrow Down summit guarded by barbed wire and locked gate
West from Nine Barrow. The trig point apparently vandalised - it never was at the highest point. The town is Swanage
Poole Harbour from near Nine Barrow summit
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