Saturday 30 December 2017

Coastal walks and cobwebs.

Our famous views were perhaps not as special on this morning's walk and the threat of rain was never far away but on a day like this the coast path is the place to be. I could see white horses topping every wave from home and the familiar sounds of a 'big sea' day could be heard way before I reached the cliffs but the walk was only going to get better.
In truth, there wasn't much in the way of wildlife but this happens sommetimes, what matters is the sea and watching waves as they roll, break and crash into rock. They have done this more or less the same way for millions upon millions of years, it works wonders in clearing your head.
On a day like this you can have coast walks or cobwebs, but you can't have both.

Wednesday 27 December 2017

A Natural Thermometer.

It can be difficult, while you are out and about, to get an accurate idea of just how cold it really is. Without the right equipment to hand you have to rely on nature to tell you but the signs are there if you look.
For example: if you see a Squirrel with a runny nose you can be sure that it is pretty damn chilly!

Tuesday 26 December 2017

Boxing Day

It was good to get out before the clouds and rain this morning and a bit of fresh air was needed after the last few days. Peveril Point was on the cards today as it's close and always a fine place to visit. The views here, in every direction, are superb and this morning there was enough wind to whip up the waves and keep the haze away.

Saturday 23 December 2017

Knock, Knock...

This morning's early wander was damp and grey and took me through the woods to Durlston Castle. This is never a bad choice and is my 'go to' dog walk when the weather is not great.
Before I even entered the woods though the main sound was of two woodpeckers trying to out knock each other, and this means the start of a game of hide and seek that I enjoy far too much.
It took a while, partly because of the echo and partly because of the gloom, but I finally spotted the first Great Spotted Woodpecker high in the trees happily headbanging but the second remained hidden. No photo today as it was far too dark under the trees but this is one from a sunnier day after another game of Woodpecker Hide & Seek.

Thursday 21 December 2017

Winter Solstice.

This morning's sunrise didn't quite explode from the horizon in bands of red and gold but rather tiptoed behind the clouds as if no one was paying attention.
So, in the best tradition of children's television here is one I took earlier (a couple of years ago) when the skies were clear and the weather behaved itself.

Tuesday 19 December 2017

Frost: Head for the Heather

We woke to another beautiful, frosty day here on the Isle of Purbeck but if you want to get real frost you have to step away from the coast and head inland. There can be a real difference in temperature between the beach and the heaths beyond Corfe Castle. It is easy to forget that the sea is a balmy 11 degrees at this time of year, well above that of our rivers and so if you want a better frost, head for the heather.

Monday 18 December 2017

Before the Sun

Getting out before dawn changes a walk.
You rely on sound more than sight and that is difficult for a species that has lost so much in the race for success. The more we achieve the more we seem to forget.
This morning there was little going on at the cliffs with the only sound being the hushed heartbeat of waves as they brush against the rocks below. Every now and again a larger wave hits and causes more of a cannon than a whimper but this doesn’t last long and hush returns. On the horizon colour appears long before the Sun and you are allowed a feeling of relief knowing that daylight will be hear soon. Your vision improves as the day brightens but you have yet to see the Sun, although life along the cliffs is waking up. Jackdaws begin their familiar call as they bundle through the air, gulls fill the rest of the silence and you realise that the waves seem quieter!
There is something special about a sunrise even though it is an event that has happened every day for the last four and a half billion years or so and will continue to happen for a while yet fingers crossed. Watching the sky as it colours and brightens, being aware that so many people have already seen this morning’s Sun from so many different places on the planet, and yet there are still plenty who are waiting just like me.

As I watched a dawn, that took hours to start and seconds to finish, I was aware of a slate grey Peregrine sitting not too far away watching the same Sun and having her own thoughts, no doubt much more important than mine.

Sunday 17 December 2017

It's All About The Light

Early on a cold, crisp blue-sky morning and there really are few places I would rather be than the cliffs that form the southern edge of the Isle of Purbeck and sitting pride of place is the Anvil Point Lighthouse. Whichever direction you approach, it is always a welcome sight.

Saturday 16 December 2017

Saturday Morning: Studland Part 2

On a cold, frosty, blue sky morning the most difficult decision for me is where to wander! The early walk is for the dogs of course and it is always good to let them run off the lead but when one of them is a Lurcher that can be difficult around here. So, after yesterday’s slightly shortened walk along Studland beach I broke with tradition and went to the same place two days in a row.
Studland is perfect for the dogs, especially early before more people arrive, and this morning it was just that. I mentioned the blue skies and frost earlier but unlike yesterday there was no wind and the only sounds were the waves lapping against the sand and the distant rumble of the chain ferry bringing more welcome visitors to the Isle of Purbeck.
There cannot be many better ways to start a day than a walk on a deserted beach, wearing out a couple of much loved dogs, with Old Harry appearing above a mercury sea, silhouetted against a clear blue sky.

Friday 15 December 2017

Friday Morning: Before the blue skies.

I have used the word 'chilly' a few times lately but this morning took 'chilly' to whole new level. The beach at Studland was beautiful, as it always is, and the Sun was working hard to clear the final ominous clouds from an otherwise clear sky but the wind was something else!
it was blowing across Poole Harbour, through the entrance and passed the ferry, then straight along the beach picking up sand and blasting it against face and legs. This wasn't too bad as I walked with the wind at my back and it didn't take too long to pass Pilot Point, the problem was when I took a photo my eyes blurred with the sand and wind and my fingers were struggling against the cold. The journey back was not as easy, straight into the wind and if anything it felt colder. The beach looked superb though, as sand waves swept towards me, and it was hard to resist lying down to take a low shot but I wasn't about to spend the rest of the day cleaning sand from my camera.

Sunday 26 November 2017

Sunday Morning: Just Before Breakfast.

It was cold on the cliffs this morning! The sort of cold that catches your breath and makes you wonder if you have enough layers on!
Even now though, on a Winter's morning the heat of a distant Sun still warms and soon you can enjoy what has to be the best part of any day. I had a time limit this morning (I had to be back home to drop the dogs off before returning for my walk at 10.30 and I don't like being late) and the worst thing you can have on a morning like this is a time limit.
There was still a chance to be impressed by the views from Durlston Head: north past two bays to Old Harry and beyond, across the water to the Isle of Wight or just straight out to a distant horizon, they never get boring. When you reach the southern cliffs the views change and the activity increases with sea birds taking to both the air and the water and the most perfect soundtrack accompanies you. In prime position this morning, giving me a look that is reserved only for a apex predator, was a Peregrine getting ready for breakfast.

Friday 24 November 2017

An Afternoon at the Ledge

How long it takes to get to get to Dancing Ledge is up to you! The walk along the cliffs from Durlston will take an hour or so if you want to rush, longer if you take time to read the landscape around you page by page. From Langton it takes barely 20 minutes: the walk is easy and the view, when you reach the ridge, across to St.Aldhelm’s Head hits you in the face much more powerfully than the wind. 

Yesterday was blowing well, I knew that from my wave watching at Durlston just a few hours before, but wind can do nothing but improve a walk here. Roe Deer can be seen along the hedge rows here, keeping out of the wind, and two separate families were on show. It is always good to see this year’s youngsters doing well and both family groups had successfully increased the small numbers that we have on the Isle of Purbeck. Later a lone Roe Buck, a big lad at the peak of his fitness, burst from the undergrowth and ran from a Lurcher that was doing its best to keep up but there was more power in the deer’s legs and the dog soon gave up. I have a similar dog and it is a reminder as to why I keep mine on the lead when there are deer around.
Dancing Ledge was deserted when I got there but the waves didn’t care who was watching and continued to hammer the rocks with far more force than any quarryman. Cracks are visible along the cliffs and they widen with every impact: it was obvious that the next fall would not be too far away as the process of erosion reshapes our coast. 

When it is time head up the hill it is impotant not to forget to look behind you, you leave the sea soon enough so make the most of the views while you can.

Quiet but never silent.

I missed the Sun this morning, not because I was late but because the early wander was done and dusted by the time the clouds cleared. When...