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Dorset: Day 4 – 26.05.2020 …………Is it left, or right?

Updated: Jun 1, 2020

We both woke early in our respective homes, feeling invigorated and full of the joys of spring after our lovely day out yesterday. It’s amazing what a bit of sunshine, blue skies and being at one with nature in the great outdoors can do for your wellbeing. And so it was with vigor that I approached day 23 of my 30 Day yoga challenge with Adrienne (I’m running a few days behind), looking forward to a few stretches and downward facing dog moves. It was when, nearing the end of the session, that I started to get into difficulties with the plank. Suspending oneself on an arm that was shaking violently and near to collapse whilst trying to suspend ones outer leg in the air just wasn’t happening so I cut short the session in the hope that our walk today would tighten up the abdominal muscles in my quest to flatten my stomach!

Breakfast came and went, Maice enjoying hers al-fresco in the garden and me on my balcony and then it was off to Waitrose to do the weekly shop for friends who are unable to venture further than their front door. Good deed done for the day I went to collect Maice, who, observing social distancing, sat in the back seat of the car wearing her new face mask made by moi and we came back to Dorchester where we were starting todays walk……Dorchester to Weymouth! We’d packed our bags, printed out the directions and now we were ready to conquer whatever the directions threw at us…….Dorchester-Sutton Poyntz-Bowleaze Cove-Weymouth. It’s such a simple route on paper and skimming through the directions they look so straight forward I’m sure even we can’t go wrong!

We set off at 11.00am, took the obligatory ‘selfie’ and walked through town to Max Gate where we stoppped for our first regroup of the day. The instructions said ‘look for a footpath sign to Winterborne Came’ so we looked but couldn’t find one. Re-reading the instructions again we still couldn’t see any ‘sign’ but then we observed a couple emerge from the bushes across the road. We set off to investigate and lo and behold, there was the sign, hidden amongst the trees. We entered the footpath and honestly, it was like walking through the wardrobe and finding a different world on the other side for the countryside just opened up before us and it was glorious.

We weren’t alone on the footpath, their were dog walkers and families out for their morning constitution and we wondered if any of them were headed to Weymouth like us, but one by one they disappeared down other footpaths until there was just the two of us and our trusted directions. Our second regroup of the day found us below the signpost for the Jubilee Trail. The instructions told us to ‘follow the Jubilee trail’ which is all well and done but when it points both right and left, we were in a dilemma. Which way to go? After a five minute deliberation we opted to go left and followed the footpath rather than the bridleway and made our way through the outer edge of this enormous field which then took us into the woods. Emerging from the woods, the instructions told us to ‘go right’ and when we did we’d be walking alongside the gallops of the Whitcombe Manor Racing Stables. Except we couldn’t go right as there was no path so we regrouped around the hay bale for another deliberation. What to do now? The arrow on the gate told us to walk straight through the middle of the field, so that’s what we did and ended up at the main road opposite Minette Walters house. Something wasn’t quite right so another regroup was necessary. We sat on the grass and poured over the directions wondering where we’d gone wrong. We couldn’t see the ‘gallops’ so there was only one thing for it. We’d have to retrace our steps back to the signpost and follow the Jubilee Trail bridleway sign pointing right. So that’s what we did and before we knew it we were following our instincts rather than the directions, which weren’t making any sense now. It kept saying we should be walking through the woods and ‘when we emerge we’ll have glorious views of Portland and the coast’! The reality was we were walking in the open countryside, in the heat of the day, no shade around and we didn’t have a clue where we were. But, in true M&A style we carried on, just going with the flow knowing that we’d end up somewhere. Of course that somewhere may not be our designated end point, but it would be somewhere nonetheless.

We hadn’t seen anyone for ages until we heard voices in the distance and soon came across a couple with their five dogs. They were standing by a signpost which is where we regrouped to deliberate our next move. Right or left? We decided to ask the couple and they were really helpful…..he telling us to take the left path and she to take the right path! We stuck with our instincts and went right but not until we’d had a little chat with the couple. Maice had been saying earlier that she was going to wash her walking shoes as they were beginning to ‘hum a bit’ and when we were talking to the couple she took one of her shoes off to remove a stone. Well, the smell was quite overwhelming until the couple informed us that one of their dogs had been rolling in something unpleasant and was omitting this rather disgusting odour!

We continued on looking for a shady spot to stop and have lunch but we were still out in the open and it was hot. We finally found a shaded spot right in the middle of the footpath which is where we stopped and set up our picnic, hung up the bunting and enjoyed more Greek fayre consisting of spinach pies…..again, Greek butter beans, Greek bread sticks and Greek figs for dessert. Lovely. It was so nice sitting in the shade of the trees, we could have sat there for ages except the ground was too uncomfortable. Struggling to our feet, we set forth on our by now, very weary legs and come across another couple who we stopped and asked ‘where are we?’ Apparently we weren’t far from the Came View Golf Course so we headed off in that direction and emerged from the trees onto the main road and there on the opposite side was the golf club. We’d driven on this road so many times but never walked on it, but now that’s exactly what we had to do, making our way to the crossroads where lo and behold we would ‘have glorious views of Portland and the coast!’. Hey, guess what? It’s only taken us three hours to walk here! When we got to the crossroads we found ourselves back on track with the directions and found the gate we should have emerged from had we been following the directions in full. We were still hours away from our final destination but we soldiered on, exposed to the heat, our feet burning and our shoulders aching from our backpacks, hoping for shade, but not finding any on this part of the route. We walked and walked until we eventually came upon a civilisation in the guise of the very quaint village of Sutton Poyntz, which on a normal day we’d love to have explored further, but our feet had had enough by now and just wanted to get home. We regrouped around the village pond to decide what to do next. Do we walk to Weymouth to catch the bus back to Upwey and Dorchester or should we just walk straight back to Maices house? We chose the quickest route which was to walk back to Maices house.

An hour and a half later we were sat in our respective homes, me with my feet in a bowl of water to soak away the aches and pains before having a shower and a well earned G&T and Maice washing her walking shoes before having a shower and a well earned G&T. We’d checked our ‘health apps’ to see how many steps and miles we’d walked. I’d taken 26,854 steps in 10.5 miles and Maice had taken 28,547 in 11.1 miles. How Maice walked further beats me but maybe it’s to do with the number of times we went ‘off-piste’! Overall, It was a great walk and definitely one we’d do again but maybe in reverse and see where we end up?

Tomorrow we’re having a day off from walking and we’re going swimming. We’ve got a FaceTime meeting later this evening to plan what we need to pack, and luckily we’ll have the car so won’t be carrying our heavy backpacks with us. Off now to dig out the swimming costumes……..!

See you tomorrow….

M&A xx

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