Report from November 17th

The day started brightly with Swanage being revealed in bright sunshine, a vast improvement on yesterday’s torrential rain. A walk around the harbour gave some good views of the bay and pier and the climb up to Dirlstone castle gave a last view of the Isle of Wight.
Dirlstone is an area of paths and gardens and seemed popular with birdwatchers . One group were looking hopefully into about an acre of thick bush and scrub in the hope of spotting a Palla’s warbler reported there while another couple were more successfully watching a peregrine falcon on the cliffs. I got a nice view of it too.
The coast path now started to prove extremely tricky as the rain had converted large parts of it to sloping ice rinks. The ground was so slippery that if you stood still on it you would start to slide. However the hills and cliffs made for spectacular viewing though slowing progress down further as I stopped to photograph them.
At dancing edge I met a couple I had met the day before at Old Harry’s rocks who were impressed with my progress. By this stage I was not impressed as I realised that my plan of getting to Weymouth in two days walking was looking as infeasible as Liz Truss’s budget.
I called in to the coastwatch point at St Aldhelms for a bit of shelter from the wind that had now appeared.
The afternoon was taken up with sliding up and down in a cross wind climbing the hills round Houns Tout whilst trying to find a place with a phone signal to rebook my hotels as I now definitely knew I needed an extra day to get to Weymouth.
Once I’d done this it took the pressure off a bit and I wild camped in a sheltered spot after a tough 14 mile day.

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