Day 10

Trip Start May 04, 2007
1
10
16
Trip End May 21, 2007


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Monday, May 14, 2007

Shaun Kelly, Assistant Principle of Student Services, arrived at the hotel around 9am. Before we began our day he laid out a map and showed us the area we would be visiting. The Isle of Purbeck, not a true island but a peninsula, is in the county of Dorset, England. It is bordered by the English Channel to the south and east, where steep cliffs fall to the sea; and by the marshy lands of the River Frome and Poole Harbor to the north. Its western boundary is less well defined. Shaun explained that the area itself is strata made out of limestone, clay, and chalk. The hills of Purbeck are created from a ridge of chalk. Although it's a soft rock it makes for very sharp cliffs and dramatic scenery.
 
Shaun drove us to the Poole Ferry which is a chain ferry that gets cars and passengers to the Isle of Purbeck. The ferry is pulled across the entrance to the Poole Harbor by a chained puly system because the winds and current are so strong a normal ferry would drift out to sea.  The drive through the Purbecks was quite windy with very narrow roads and often times another vehicle would be coming around the same bend as you and I would clench my fist. At one point I had to quit looking out the front windshield (from the back seat) because I was afraid I'd scream or make some other inappropriate noise. Matt sat in the front with Shaun... I'm so glad. Shaun was obviously confident in driving the roads and I'm sure it was just me and experience of flat highways in Houston.
 
Shaun drove us to Lulworth Cove to start our hike along the Jurassic Coast. Along the way he informed us there was a military section to the Purbecks and if you see red flags raised at different sites that means the militiary's firing range is in practice. Lulworth Cove is a prime example of how the water cuts in and washes away the softer clay and limestone to form a cove. We started hiking and saw some unique features in the coastline. The unique folding limestone strata was visible from an section of the coastline called Daddy Hole (another name for Stair Hole). We kept walking till we got to Dungy Head which is a cliff. We walked down to the beach area. The beach is referred to as a shingle beach which means its made out of small pebbles. All along the beach you could find flint which had been made smooth by the current. You could see in the limestone cliffs where some limestone has washed away and chunks of flint within. We walked across the shingle beach and made our way to Smuggler's Path which is a fairly steep gully in the chalk. Shaun said its named such because of those who smuggled goods so they could avoid the custom houses. Once you reach the top of Smuggler's Path you look over Scratchy Bottom. Yes, that's the official name according to Shaun. He said there use to be a sign but someone "pinched it" which means they stole it. Scratchy Bottom is a valley between two hills that the smugglers used to move their goods through after getting them up the cliff from the coastline. From Scratchy Bottom we headed back down to Lulworth Cove where the car was parked. Along the hike down to Lulworth Cove we heard gun shots from the military firing range. The entire hike was wonderful. We started off with really strong and cold winds but once you started hiking you warmed up pretty fast. The weather couldn't have been better for taking in the sites of the Jurassic Coast. We couldn't have asked for better. I kept staring out at the limestone formations at the water's edge and thinking...you just don't see this in Houston or Texas for that matter.
 
We left Lulworth and drove to Kingston where we met Stewart Gibson (some from Cy-Fair will remember Stewart) at the Scott Arms pub. The outside seating area overlooked hills that led to Corfe Castle ruins in the distance. We ate a lite lunch and each had a pint while we discussed possibilities for student exchanges as well as talked about the differences we've seen in the structure of B&P college and CFC. We finished up lunch and drove to Old Harry Rocks. You park your car in a car park and then walk down a path through some growth before you get to a foot trail that leads to the edge of the cliff. Along the trail you could smell emence amounts of garlic. Turns out on both sides of the trail is wild garlic and the which flowers in bloom were producing the strong smell. See the following link for more details of Old Harry Rocks. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Harry_Rocks The site doesn't mention it but the large formation on the left is actually Old Harry and the smaller formation further out to the right is called Old Harry's Wife.
 
We left Old Harry and his wife and drove back to the town of Corfe to see Corfe Castle. The castle was originally constructed using a French technique known as motte and bailey. In these castles, there was a fortified building (the castle) on top of a man-made hill called a motte. This served as a final fighting place where soldiers would retreat if the rest of the castle had been breached. In the bailey, people and animals lived in relative safety in times of peace as they were surrounded by a large wooden fence that kept out attackers and wild animals. The general history of Corfe Castle is that during the English Civil War you had Parliamentarians and Loyalists. Many Loyalists held Corfe Castle for 3 years. They survived one siege by the Parliamentarians, which lasted 6 weeks, in 1643 and in 1646 were betrayed by one of their own. The end result was the castle was blown up I such a way to ensure it could never be used as a Loyalist stronghold. There's not much to the castle ruins but you can see if from all over the Purbecks and even, on a clear day, from Poole Harbor.
 
After Corfe Castle Shaun wanted to take us to a village that he stated was quaint even in Engish terms. The village is called Worth Matravers. Among the quaint feel of the village is the somewhat famous pub, Square and Compass which holds an annual week-long stone carving festival (hence the tools of a stone carving being a square and a compass) and accommodates a small museum exhibiting fossils and other local artefacts. Shaun had talked about this pub several times during the day and was waiting to take us there last because he said we wouldn't want to leave once we got there. We arrived at the pub around 5:10pm and it was closed. The sign outside the door said the pub closed down between 3pm-6pm during the week. Shaun was pretty disappointed.
 
We said goodbye to Stewart and headed back to the Poole Ferry. Along the way Shaun wanted to take us to Tyneham School. It was a church/school house that was evacuated during the war and the school has been preserved exactly as it was left with papers and schoolbooks on desks... just as they left it. Since the red military flags were up the school was closed. We pushed on to the ferry. Just as we crossed the ferry and began to drive away a little shower came down. I thought it was ironic because the forecast had been for rain but we had the most perfect weather for a day in the Purbecks.
 
We got back to the hotel and Matt,Tory, and I decided to eat lunch in the hotel restaurant so we could get out and get to work on our travelogues. At 1:30am I decided to go to bed. Tomorrow is another adventure...
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Comments

klt1922
klt1922 on

Dear Diary...
As I sip a robust red wine and nibble on select cheeses and gourmet crackers I indulge in the travel styles of three travelers: Julie, Tory, and Matt.....Okay not really, it's more like fruit punch and cheese crackers!!!!

Seriously, you guys are too great at this. Your documentation of your travels are a joy to read. How exactly do you find the time to provide so much detail? The times spent at B&P, the side excursions (nice 'bowling' skills by the way). You weren't kidding when you said you like to take pictures.

I don't want to remind you but since I'm not there what the heck....YOUR TIME IS WHINDING DOWN! So, live it up, enjoy yourselves. ;) -K

idolina
idolina on

Wow!
This is certainly a good travel account for future use. I am glad to hear that you are doing great. You can always get some rest when you get back home! Keep up the great writing.

clairegunnels
clairegunnels on

What fun
Julie, thank you for this great story. thinking about you and all your adventures. Hope you have some time to yourself. They are keeping you busy. Glad your presentation went well. Claire G

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