Friday, May 15, 2009

Weymouth and a monster bike ride (part 1)

The big boss people have given me a whole week off! As much as I'd love to say that Eric and I took the opportunity to skip off to the Maldives, there's a credit crunch going on and so Weymouth, the jewel in Dorset's coastal crown is where we went.

The family where there waiting for us with a massive lobster/crab/oyster feast.
Unfortunately they all had to go back to work the next day, but Eric and I had plans.
This is the route. Ignore that bit at the bottom (maybe, on a clear day, with the wind behind you, as well as a motorised engine.)
This is the map.

This is Eric, on bike, with map.

We cycled along the esplanade, taking the turning for Sutton Poyntz, which was not only beautiful but seems to be home to this amazing 3 wheeler.

You always know, when a bloke walking a dog laughs and yells after you as you pass 'That's a big hill!' that you're in for a climb.

Eric was undeterred:
'Lance (Oympic cyclist)...I'm coming to get ya!'
Once we got to the top, just above the White Horse (more on this later) the wind having been in our face the whole time, I was quite euphoric.
We rested here a while, taking in the view.

We crossed a field above the Horse, which is (taken directly from Wiki): a hill figure sculpted in 1808 into the limestone Osmington hill just north of Weymouth called the South Dorset Downs, within the parish of Osmington.
The figure is of King George III, who regularly visited Weymouth, and made it 'the first resort', riding on his horse, and can be seen for miles around. It is 280 feet long and 323 feet high in size and is best viewed from the A353 road.
There is a legend that King George was offended that the figure was riding out of Weymouth — a sign that he was not welcome — and never returned.

We actually stopped to try and walk down to see it, but the sculpture hasn't been tended to in a while and the 'permitted path' was overgrown and unclear. This is Eric, about to give up.

He did cheer up when we found this surveyance marker. This is the highest point in all the land, and, that's right folks, Eric's higher.

I was just happy to be cycling along, rather than up.

Then, it came time to cycle down again in to Osmington. In this picture you can just see it in the distance.

Problem is, our bikes are far from the mountain variety. Eric picked his way through the stones and steep decline well, but I am never one to go along with the phrase 'Nothing bad can happen' and so walked a while.
Another stile! Anyone who knows my love of these features of country rambles will know how much I rejoiced.

After cycling through Osmington, the guide basically tells you to head back, but I decided to take charge and divert us another 2 miles in to Osmington Mills and a 13th Century pub called the Smuggler's Inn.
The pub is so named because it seems that right here was a great place to land smuggled goods from boats. Geologists are really into the rock formations and beach here.
I'm really into cider after a hard bike ride,
and this particular proverb!

From Osmington Mills, you can just see the Weymouth Bay.
'Bex, that's where we're headed...'

After another ridiculous 1st gear climb from the coast to the main road, we paused to look at the White Horse we never managed to see up close.
Eric's disappointment is clear. Unfortunately, at the exact moment he made this gesture, a van drove past, obscuring the horse from my photo (and causing a similar reaction from the van driver).

And so back to the Weymouth esplanade. I love this picture of a thoughtful Eric.

Ah, the harbour! By this point it was 5.30pm. We left at 11am...2 hours my sore, um, seat!