Coast at Lyme Regis

Autumn beauty in Dorset and Devon

England was resplendent in its autumn colours for the last two weeks of my stay. My sister and I rented a house between Teignmouth and Torquay for a small family gathering. The house was located on a hill with a beautiful view of the Devon coast. It had a large kitchen table that was perfect for family chats and catching up on the news.

View from the house
View from the house
Sunrise
Sunrise

On one day, we made a foray into Torquay and had a walk along the beachfront. On another one we caught the small ferry from Shaldon over the estuary to Teignmouth and explored that small coastal town. We also enjoyed walks in the late afternoon across the fields to the undulating Coastal Path. I would love to have hiked more but there was not enough time and my cousins were not as enthused with the idea as I was!

I spent my last weekend with friends in Weymouth. We took a day trip to Bridport, where we explored the market, and then drove on to Lyme Regis. All the boats were high and dry in the harbour as the tide was at its lowest ebb. Rock formations and sand patterns were exposed on the beach. The sun was out, but the wind was bitter as we strolled along the Cob wall. It didn’t deter the large number of people wandering around and one or two even ventured into the cold water. We didn’t linger but returned to the high street and bought pasties for lunch. These we ate as we walked along, guarding them from the marauding seagulls that have been known to snatch ice creams and sandwiches from the arms of babes!

The Cob at Lyme Regis
The Cob at Lyme Regis

The following morning, after completing my first ever lino print under my friend’s guidance, we walked down to the beach where a race track had been constructed. Approximately 140 motor bikes were competing against each other in various noisy races. There were a few breakdowns but no accidents or injuries. Somehow, the riders avoided collisions. The wind blew straight at the spectators and sand blasted our faces. We returned home with it in our ears and hair but the event had been fun to watch.

Motor bike racing on the beach
Motor bike racing on the beach
Dorset Coast at Eype

The vagaries of the English weather!

The weather couldn’t have been better for dog walking along the Dorset coastal path at Eype.

But the following day, it turned extremely gloomy. Chesil Beach was shrouded in cloud and there was drizzling rain at Portland Sculpture Park and St George’s Cemetery.

Chesil Beach
Chesil Beach

Traffic, traffic and more traffic!

Friday afternoon motorway traffic at Winchester
Friday afternoon motorway traffic at Winchester

I left Norwich on Friday and headed down the A11 to meet Geoff and Ginny, friends from way back when, at a hotel near Stanstead. There, we had coffee that extended into a most enjoyable lunch, sitting next to the duck pond. Unfortunately, the hotel was right under the flight path so it got a little noisy periodically!

Afterwards, it took an unbelievable 5 hours to reach Weymouth. I was anticipating the M25 and M3 being slow but hadn’t considered the time I would arrive at the Winchester bypass and the consequent traffic. To say I was pleased to arrive in Weymouth is probably a slight understatement but the journey served as a reminder as to why I choose not to live in England anymore.

Saturday was spent in a far more relaxed manner. After a leisurely breakfast, we drove out to Lulworth Cove and walked to the next cove, in the opposite direction to the one all the tourists were taking to toil up the steep cliff path to Durdle Door. It was a good decision, as we met no one else on the track itself and the only people in the cove seemed to have arrived by boat.

We sat on the beach for a while, eating our sandwiches and admiring the chalky cliff faces and the unusual stratified rock formations. When it looked as though it was about to start raining, we set off back to Lulworth, where it was now extremely busy. As ice cream is an essential part of any visit to the seaside, we queued up with everyone else so that we could indulge ourselves (blackcurrant and cream is highly recommended!).

Sunday saw me on the move again. This time, I was flying to Knock (Ireland), from Bristol to stay with my sister. The journey was, once again, quite slow, and I only just returned the hire car in time. (Following the GPS lady’s instructions, I had also managed to bypass the petrol station that I would normally have used and ended up driving some distance to find another one. Sometimes, it is not wise to follow all her advice!)

Bristol Airport was the busiest I had ever seen it but everything went smoothly and it wasn’t long before I was airborne. It is only an hour’s flight, so the transition from the beautiful sunshine of England to the cold and grey of west Ireland was very quick. The weather has been variable ever since. We have had a couple of trips into Sligo and one to Enniskillen in ‘The North’, but, otherwise, time has been spent relaxing at home, which is also needed from time to time.

We did manage to get a couple of visits to the beach but Strandhill was a bit too wet and wild when we arrived for our walk so we sat in the car and ate ice creams instead! However, Russ, Minnie (the dog) and I went for a lovely walk at Dunmoran on Friday afternoon when the sun finally came out. The beach is very long and is part of Sligo Bay so we could look across to the mountains of Donegal. It was very revitalising. And Minnie enjoyed chasing a stick! Sadly, there were no ice cream shops.