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Sussex Scrapbook ~ Wildlife walks throughout the year
Green Man
July 31st - August 2nd 2015
Acton, Isle of Purbeck, Dorset.

This expedition had nothing whatsoever to do with superb coastal hiking, amazing wildlife, beautiful motorcycling or anything else as far as I was concerned. Yes, great, we found a young badger with its foot stuck in brambles at the entrance to its sett and we helped to release it; yes we swam in a beautiful bay during the most fantastic hike along the incredible Jurassic Coastline; yes we travelled by steam train from our camp to stunning Swanage for fish & chips and ice cream.
NO! This weekend away was all about transplanting some of the love I have for camping into Gill so that together we can explore more easily and cheaply and possibly camp together overnight in the mountains too. Like many people and especially people who are ladies of the female persuasion, she has a natural built-in dread of life under canvas which has unfortunately been reinforced by several bad experiences.
The key to camping is to SIMPLIFY. Make all of your equipment small, efficient and able to double up for another use. You need to know where all of your things are, even in the dark, so create a system so that you can put your hand to anything quickly. Food should be easily and quickly cooked with the minimum of fuss and needs to be filling and nutritious or else your other half can get all tired and stroppy.
To circumvent all unnecessary messing around I planned for us to eat a full English breakfast at the campsite next door each morning and for fish and chips and pub grub for evening meals. The weather that I had booked with the Met Office over 6 months ago (don't even ask how much that cost me) turned up bang on time and hot dry conditions with superb sunsets prevailed all weekend.
The bike, which had broken down with a puncture (in a brand new rear tyre) at Gatwick Airport and had to be recovered the day before we left performed perfectly and seemed to really enjoy the great, twisty roads around the Purbeck area.
Quite frankly my personal mission was a complete success and the ostensible reasons for going all went perfectly too. Gill came home and for several days afterwards could be heard quietly murmuring, "I like camping?!?" in an unbelieving, questioning sort of way. Well, keep up that spirit Sweetie, we're off to the Lake District in September and I'm thinking 'sunrise from above 600m somewhere'.

The view from our campsite with lovely Swanage in the distance.

All our worldly goods.

Swanage Railway from Newman's Cross to Swanage.

Lulworth Cove. The footpath east around the top of the cliff is closed due to rock fall.
The alternative is to walk around the cove itself.

Fossilised tree stumps.

Ominous looking climbs become frequent on this amazing roller-coastal ride.

The military have exclusive use of the whole coast but allow walkers through at the weekends.

The cliffs are huge but not as scary and as dangerous as the Isle of Man coastal path.

We've got to walk over all that! Well, if we have to.

The opening scene of Dr No recreated.

Just look at that! Who needs the Italian coast when we have this here?

Stratification on a massive scale.

Everything and nothing can be seen here!
The badger's foot is at the centre bottom, his head is in the middle and you can see the entrance to the sett between the two.
Gill took this picture very quickly while we were actually concentrating on freeing the poor thing.

It's hard to describe just how beautiful this area is, you'll just have to go yourself.
Forget about holidays abroad, all you really need is on your doorstep in good old Blighty.

Ok, time to get the hell out of Dodge and make plans for our next expedition. TTFN.

Take the time to read the countryside code for yourself and please stick to it at all times.