Sunday, May 07, 2006

"For £7.50, I want swan-in-a-bap"

A beautiful morning, and we had coffee and toast in the garden, where we were visited by a friendly robin.

Drove to Chesil Beach, a huge bank of pebbles stretching along Lyme Bay to Portland. Walked up the slope to look down on the sea, and all along the shore in both directions were groups of fishermen. We walked along the coast path to Abbotsbury Swannery, which is located on the Fleet, the brackish lagoon behind Chesil Bank. With a history going back hundreds of years, it was mentioned as a source of food for the medieval monastery there, but the mute swans have probably been nesting there as long as the Fleet was there to provide a food source. Had very good coffee and fruit cake in the cafe, the cakes are made on site.

It was nesting time, and everywhere as you walk through are the swans sitting on their huge nests, regally ignoring you. Lots of other wildfowl mingling with the swans, mostly mallard and moorhen, but we saw a black swan, and shelduck.

There is a list posted of birds spotted on the site in the last few weeks, and the signage is very good all the way through, updated with the latest info. As well as display on reedbed management and history, you can see a bouncing bomb, as tested on the Fleet and dredged up a few years ago! Wandered through the gift shop (bookmark and chutney) and back to the car (saw several kestrels on our way there and back again).

Drove out to Portland and the lighthouse at Portland Bill. Hadn't realised how big the headland was, there are whole towns on it. Bit of a grim feel to it, although how much that was due to the now once more grey and cold weather is debatable. Had a look at the lighthouse and Pulpit Rock (saw a wheatear). The landscape has something of a Blake's 7 set feel to it, what with the hewn rocks and the MOD enclosure. We attempted to buy some tea at the Pulpit Inn, but having let us order drinks (halves of Ringwood) they stiffly informed us that that was all finished and they were closing in 20 minutes (4pm). Bet Avon never had this problem.

Drove instead to a viewpoint overlooking Weymouth harbour (I think, it was very foggy) and had a cheeseburger and a bacon roll from a van, freshly cooked and tables to sit at. Who needs a roof, eh? Drove down into Weymouth and through the centre, but at 20 to five on a Sunday there wasn't a lot of point in stopping, so drove back through Bridport.

Very pretty villages in this area, and saw one of the other cottages we'd considered (in Burton Bradstock), but it was right next to the main road, so definitely made the right decision where we are. Back to the cottage for tea and cake. Cooked pasta for dinner, and watched Top Gear and Supernatural. Sorted.


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