Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Lyme Regis in February

Dorset in February and, leaving the family making a sand palace on the beach, I raced off for the solitude of the harbour wall. Lyme was busy with visitors, but on the Cobb I was alone on the edge of Lyme Bay.

Short walks can be full of many fine things and this one was packed with treasure. The Cobb, at Lyme Regis in Dorset, has a thousand stories to tell, not all of them for real as all those visitors pretending to be the French Lieutenant's Woman demonstrate. For me, the joy is in the coastline curving round to the east, and the pleasure of reeling off the names under ones breath; Black Ven, Charmouth, Golden Cap,Doghouse Hill,Thorncombe Beacon...

The Cobb is an amazing structure. Purely functional it could, however, be a piece of environmental art by Andy Goldsworthy. Here it is swinging back to the shore by Monmouth beach where, in 1685, the Duke of Monmouth landed troops with the intention of overthrowing James II. He failed, but the beach carries his name.

The fish were safe this day but these signs reminded me of warm summer days, and a line full of twinkling mackerel.

Rock Pipits were everywhere on the Cobb. They are not the most exciting birds but they are found in places I love to be.

Friday, 12 February 2010

A few hours grace and Firle Beacon beckoned this afternoon. Had I been here yesterday, the Downs would have been covered with windblown snow, but today it could only be seen in the far distance on, the high ground of Ashdown Forest and into Kent. The ice on the cattle trough was one sign of the cold, as was the cutting north east wind.

Newhaven and sheep

Arlington reservoir and snow in the far distance.

The Longman and the remains of snow.

Caburn from Firle Beacon car park.