Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Dorset Day 2 – No so magical mist and timeworn relics

After another sleep of the undead, as in, not a moments rest, I floundered to the window to see what the weather was doing, and got a face full of fog staring back at me. This was an opportunity not to be missed.

Clothes were attired, hairs were combed and tea was drunk all in double time, for if the fog were to break, letting the sun’s rays pour through, then it was the perfect time to be at Corfe Castle, that most impressive of ruins, situated not 20 minutes up the road.

After gunning the motor, safely and responsibly, along the little roads to the village of Corfe Castle, we parked up at the base of East Hill and began the steep climb to the top. As I trudged up the rough steps, hewn into the hillside, I couldn’t help but entertain visions of bagging myself a Landscape Photographer of the Year winning image. As per example one and example two.

In fact I did more than entertain them, I served the finest champagne, dished up a six course banquet and was just about to let loose the DJ. Then we reached the top, and were presented with this decidedly party poopering view.

The castle is definitely out there somewhere

Waited around for a while hoping it would clear, or at least show some signs it might clear in the not too distant future, but it stayed resolutely pea soupy to say the least. So with a heavy heart (me), and an I told you so glare (Sarah), we headed back to the house for a bacon sarnie, but not before stopping at Peveril Point again to get a few shots, as going back empty handed was unthinkable.

Looking down the jetty at the undulating sea
A view along the shoreline

After the required porky sandwiches and caffeine libations were dutifully stuffed away, we headed back to Kimmeridge bay, as we had it on sound authority that the tide was out. This was good news for two reasons, one, it meant the rock ledges would be visible, and two, it meant we could now discern the rock ledges. I realise this is one reason, but it’s a bloody good one.

The rocks at Kimmeridge Bay were once the floor of a deep, tropical sea, rich in pre-historic life. They formed in the Jurassic period, 155 million years ago. ‘The Ledges’ are Limestone fingers of rock that formed from fine silts during this period and extend from the base of the cliffs out to sea. They contain some incredible fossils, but are only visible when the tide is low.

This fossil is about the width of two hands spread out, so a decent size.
These are a bit smaller, but there are plenty of them to see on many of the ledges.

Interestingly, a couple of hundred yards up the shoreline is the BP "nodding donkey" oil pump, which has been pumping continually since the late 1950s, making it the oldest working oil pump in the UK

The sequence of rocks here provides such an excellent record of this part of the 
Jurassic coast that geologists have adopted Kimmeridgian as the term for rocks 
of this age all around the world.

The fog, at least on the coast, had now lifted entirely, yet again leaving a cloudless blue sky, so it was out with the ND filters and more long exposures were on the cards, which was becoming quite the theme of the trip.

One of the ledges edges, as it were.
Stretching out to sea, looking very photogenic.

After exploring the Ledges it was time for a cream tea, thanks to the ever reliable cafe in Kimmeridge village. Before popping back to Swanage to get a few shots of the old pier. I decided to break with tradition and leave my tripod behind. I was going freestyle.

A view of the old pier
We also took a stroll on the beach, I liked the look of these slightly dilapidated beach huts. 
I also had a go at some panning shots along the seafront.

We then hightailed it to Lulworth Cove, to pay a visit to that impressive limestone archway, and one of the most iconic sights along the Jurassic Coast, namely Durdle Door. The sun was starting to dip towards the horizon when we arrived, but it was obviously dancing to the same tune as the evening before. It was heading into a thick cloud bank in the distance, the only clouds in the sky.

I set up the camera along the shoreline to get what I could of the evening sun hitting the side of the archway, which had a nice warm look to it. Making sure to include the movement of the waves, as the tide slowly made its way up the beach, being particularly eager to gobble up my shoes it seemed.

Looking along the shoreline to a warmly lit Durdle Door
I couldn't resist another minimal type shot of a single rock formation out at sea.

As the sun immersed itself into the cheerless slab of cloud, we took the steep climb back up to the car. And for the second day in a row I felt as if Death himself were reaching out his bony talons and beckoning me to join him in the everlasting siesta.

Stopped on the way back to Swanage at the Halfway Inn for a very decent burger, and as a bonus I got some chips served in a tin can, which is all I ever wanted from a chip.

Got back to the house around 8.00, feeling like it was way past my bedtime already, with my fingers crossed I would get a good night’s sleep at last.

Back to Day One

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