82e – Church Ope Cove to Portland Bill

As we walked south from Church Ope Cove I felt that the landscape was almost Mediterranean.  We were completely alone.  The sky was a blistering blue and glared off the limestone cliffs.  The sea rippled in an inviting turquoise colour rather than in the steely green-grey I often see off England’s shores.  Overhead, a young buzzard hovered as it hunted.  We watched it for a long time.  It seemed to follow us as we went.  Were we disturbing its prey as we crunched our way along the path?  Or maybe it was hunting us!

35-buzzardThe Coastal Path south of Church Ope Cove is a solitary, beautiful stretch of coastline that I would recommend to anyone.  After so many quarries, prisons and immigration centres to the north side of Portland it was a pleasure to get back to a stretch of rugged coastline.  Except the ruggedness still had a structured look to it.  None of Portland is untouched.  Its stone has been lost to too many construction projects. Every cliff face had a blocky look to it, showing where the stone had been cut from its face.  We weren’t quite walking in a Minecraft game but the comparison springs to mind.

Looking Back NorthIndeed, we soon reached reminders of Portland’s contribution to the urban landscape of so many cities across the world.  Massive stone blocks had been set at the side of the path.

But these had not been discarded.  They a purpose – they had some ropes looped around them.

Portland Climbing StoneWhy where there ropes looped around these blocks?  I leaned over the cliff edge and peered down – ah!  A climbing lesson – Portland is a much sought-out climbing destination.

Portland ClimbingThe students were all sat around a climbing instructor who was running through the order of the day, which was clearly for the students to take the strain of the rope and climb up to the plateau above.  With us at the top.  Or perhaps other people who would come along after we left.  Other, more sinister, people who could easily snip the rope when these climbers were only half way up, were they so inclined to do so.

It’s not that I don’t trust complete strangers who carry a pair of kitchen scissors with them when they walk in remote places.  It’s just this:  I would be quite happy to place my life in the taut fibres of a piece of rope.  It’s the taut fibres in the minds of the people walking by the anchor point I think I would be more inclined to worry about…

Walk #82 Statistics (of which this post forms the fifth part):

Map

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2 Responses to 82e – Church Ope Cove to Portland Bill

  1. Ooh-er, we share the same dark thoughts about climbing ropes. Like you, I wonder what would happen if some nasty person decided to cut the rope. Agree this is a wonderful walk, and it sounds like you had the perfect day for it. Good to see you out walking again.

  2. I’ve been looking forward to this bit! For the first time, passed C O Cove by boat recently when going deep-sea fishing out of Weymouth. It definitely needs an on-land visit, I can quite see! RH

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