Saturday, 12 June 2010

The Hotel and Lyme Regis

We arrived at the marine hotel in the afternoon, again back to glorious sunshine.
The hotel itself was very busy with holiday makers and I felt a little out of place in gear that needed a good wash and looking desperately like a well seasoned walker!
No one minded though, Willow was centre of attention and a good icebreaker!
After hearing that we were walking for Macmillan Cancer Support, the hotel were excellent and even helped by providing meals for us and several nights free accommodation, proof of our journey was needed by providing the website and the website I had at the time recalling our journey.
I couldn`t have asked for more they were very helpful throughout and even the coach party had gotten used to us by the second morning, that when I didn`t turn up for breakfast a couple of the party became concerned, but no need to worry we had to start the walks early to allow for transport etc.
With the comfort and luxury that would have for the next 9 days, we were spoilt!
Paignton itself was once a fishing village until the 19th century. Isaac Singer, the sewing machine millionaire resided here and built Oldway Mansion in 1854.
The beach is of reddish sand - different to that at Weymouth and Bridport which was pale in comparison.
Paignton beach is also a safe beach and a safe area for youngsters to go and swim.
Every Wednesday near the Paignton Pier, hundreds of motorbikers descend and park up and people look at the different types of bikes, but not only that the bikers raise thousands of pounds every week for different local charities by doing this.
Walking around Paignton, I couldn`t remember it from when I was here with the family, I simply couldn`t recall it, though I knew I had been here.
After finding a launderette and dumping clothes that could have walked themselves here, we continued to the town centre bustling with people buying rock or suncream, me, I bought postcards, something that I promised friends and family that wherever we went, we had to buy a postcard and send it to them so they could pin it on a map and keep track of our travels! Well it worked!
I also found out there was a terminus here for the Dart Valley Railway Company`s Torbay and Dartmouth Line and there was a lovely old steam train. I love the old steam train, not like todays get in and squashed with no room to put your luggage and but they expect you to pay a fortune for the privilege!
No, these are trains of a bygone era and I love travelling on them, even Willow, she seems more excited on these than the modern diesel! was she a train conductor in a past life? or an engineer? or even the driver? Hmmmmmm.....!
With clean clothes and a well deserved rest, we headed for the train station and onto Axminster, where we would get the bus all the way back to Bridport and continue on our journey.
We left at 6am.
Arriving at West Bay and with better weather, I could finally see what the Harbour looked like.
Alot of naval vessels used to be built here until 1879, indeed up to 500 ships a year visited here.
The journey from West Bay , as always started with a steep incline, I had always wondered if this who had built mountains at the coast! The height of some of these cliffs is astounding and certainly got me out of breath more than once to climb them!
Alot of the south west coast path is eroding but it makes a wonderful journey and you can see why it is called the Jurassic coastline with the red of the sand and the jutting of cliff tops and then the smoothness of rounded corners and on some of them you can see where the tide once was, the different colours and shingles intermingled with an old floor line.
Once over the top we headed west towards the Eype Mouth which has smooth, steeply shelving shingle at the the foot of unstable cliffs, but the views are staggering and on a day like today with clear skies and bright sunshine, miles can be seen.
We continued on, passing Seatown, which was once favourite with smugglers landing contraband here when smuggling was rife in Dorset. It was also the flattest part of this route! Once again we would be heading up steep inclines and then eventually onto Golden Cap, which has clumps of bright yellow gorse and golden sandstone near its summit, hence the name. It is also the highest cliff in southern England at 626ft.
At the stone carving, just behind it is another fossil (not me!) another ammonite exposed.
Along the route, beacons could be found, these go quite a way and in the olden days they would be lit either as a warning or as a beacon of light.

The journey from Golden Cap took us downwards towards Charmouth, but with only 200metres to go, a huge landslip had meant the journey would go around a different route for approximately a mile and half before you rejoined the South West Coast Path.
Charmouth itself was once refuge to Charles II who was fleeing from Cromwell.
His defeat in 1651 at Worcester drove him here to the Queen`s Arms Inn, but it didn`t last as word of his presence leaked out, he had to flea on horseback.
After passing the outskirts of Charmouth, Lyme Regis was only a couple of mile away, but again the route was hilly though enjoyable and Lyme Regis itself is on a steep incline.
Like the rest of the coast its past is colourful.
Its roots go back to AD774 when the King of the west saxons gave monks permission to produce salt from the seawater.
"Regis" came in the 13th century when a town charter was granted and used the port as a base for wars against the french.
The Duke of Monmouth once landed here, wanting to take the throne from his uncle, James II but the men were defeated and were hanged.
Lyme Regis also had a starring role in the film The French Lieutenant`s Woman.
Lyme Regis is now a quiet harbour and brimming with holiday makers enjoying the warmth of an early British summer!
We waited for a bus, not long, and then back to Axminster for the train back to Paignton and the hotel.

1 comment:

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