Monday, 8 April 2013

A Swanage Tale

Scooby took us off to Swanage on Friday 29th March 2013 for the Easter Weekend and what a FAB weekend we had. We had added an extra day to the Easter Weekend so we would have a total of five days off from work - so here is our 'day by day' account. 

The weather forecast for the whole weekend was dry with some sun, but cold and windy. Still we can wrap up against the cold and we planned to doo lots of walking so that should keep us warm. It would be 'bracing' but enjoyable.

We left early on the Friday morning and headed to Bournemouth first - could not get on the campsite too early.

We wanted to spend some time on the beach before going to our campsite in the afternoon.  We were parked 'on the beach' and making our first drink of the day just after 9.30am after a good run down.

It did not seem that long ago that we had been in a very similar position - which was true as we had been down to Bournemouth for the day on 16th February 2013 - see: Scooby and the Winter Sun Run Unfortunately, it would not be as warm as our February trip!

After our drink we decided to take a slow walk along the promenade towards Bournemouth. We did not go on to the pier this time, but kept on walking past the pier and out the other side. We eventually went as far as Branksome Chine and the Tropical Gardens that overlook the beach. Having walked through the gardens to the top of the cliff we found a suitably sheltered bench to sit and eat our pack lunch looked out to sea. 

We walked back towards Bournemouth along the top for a while and then back down to sea level along the promenade before arriving back at the pier. From here we walked through the gardens in to the to the town to pick up some provisions before heading back to Scooby. Another cup of tea was prepared and we had some hot cross buns as we looked across the beach out to sea.

By now it was around 2.30pm so we decided to say farewell to Bournemouth for this trip and head off to our campsite - Ulwell Cottage Caravan Park Last time we went to Swanage we used the ferry from Sandbanks, but this time as we were in no rush we thought we would drive round - which meant we could drive through Corfe and get to see the castle on our way. We had planned a walking trip to Corfe later in the weekend so we would not stop on this occasion.

At the campsite we checked in then made our way to our pitch - we needed to use our wedges to make Scooby level - but this is all we needed to doo. We plugged in the hook up, placed our mat and solar lights in front of the sliding door and Scooby could then rest for a few days. We previously decided not to take our awning etc. on this trip although there was plenty of room on the plot if we had decided to doo so.

We have stayed at this site before - see A Weekend in Swanage - so we knew what a FAB campsite it was, with great facilities and location - certainly one for you to consider if you want to stay in Swanage. 

After a walk around the campsite it appeared to be almost full with caravans and large campers. There were a handful of tents, one VW Classic Bay and one VW T25.

Behind our pitch were the Purbeck Hills, at the far corner of the site there was a gate that allowed you up on to the hills with a path that would take you all the way into Corfe - this would be our walk on Sunday. We only went a little way up the hill on this first day just to look across and down into Swanage - our planned trip for tomorrow. 

Pretty soon it was time to eat so we returned to Scooby for a Ham salad dinner followed by a home made apple pie and custard! After clearing up from dinner we settled in for the night to watch a DVD or two - it was very cosy with the heater on and a drink in hand. Tomorrow we would be walking all day starting on Swanage beach.

To see more pics of our first day please click the photo montage below.

We had a good nights sleep and awoke to partly cloudy skies and sunshine. We had a leisurely breakfast before getting ready and leaving the campsite at around 10.00am for the 20 minute walk to the beach and into Swanage. It was all down hill which was great, but coming back at the end of the day we wished it was down hill on the way back!

As we arrived at the beach we could see that the tide was in and the waves were crashing against the shore with some force. 

As we slowly made our way along the seafront, we took the odd pic or two, and before long we found ourselves in the town. 

We went to the train station to get a timetable and ended up in a baker's cafe for a coffee and the largest piece of bread pudding! It was FAB and filling.  

We walked back through the town and back along the beach once more. There were a couple of jet-skis just-a-bout to leave the beach. However, the tide had gone out a little since they must of arrived and they were stuck!

The two guys managed to get one out into the sea, but were struggling with the other one. I gave them a helping hand - running back every time the water came up the beach - and we eventually got the second one into the sea. Took a couple of pics obviously.

After looking around the shops again and then wandering along the beach and sea front a little more we decided before we went walking further afield we should consider some lunch. Well it was the sea side so we decided to have some fish & chips, which we eat sitting down outside looking out to sea. (Making sure no seagulls could reach our food).

We now needed to walk off all of this food so we took a slow walk along the coastal path out of Swanage, past the pier and towards the Life Boat Station and then on to the Coast Guard Look Out Point. 

From here we then continued along the coastal path up to Durlston Castle and Country Park, before ending up at the Lighthouse at Anvil Point.

It was mid afternoon by now and so we thought we might turn around and head back to Swanage town. 

By the time we had got back into the town we thought we deserved a warm drink so we went back to the same cafe for a drink, resisting the cakes this time. Another slow  walk back along the beach and then up to the campsite, arriving around 5.30pm.

We had planned to have a sandwich for tea, but we were both still full up from the bread pudding and fish & chips that we skipped this meal completely! We read for a little while before once again settling in for the night, heater on whilst watching some DVD's. In the course of the evening we did have a couple of hot cross buns - just to make sure we did not end up hungry in the  night you understand.

To see more pics of our second day please click the photo montage below.

We had another good nights sleep - must be the clean air and all that walking - and awoke to clear skies and brilliant sunshine.  

We had a leisurely breakfast before getting ready and leaving the campsite at around 11.00am - we had lost an hour due to resetting the clocks to British Summer Time! Today we would be walking into Corfe.

At the corner of the campsite there was a gate that lead out on to the Purbeck Hills with a path that would take you all the way into Corfe - around 4 miles. 

We took the 'high road' to walk along the tops of the hills so we could see Swanage to our left with Studland and Sandbanks on our right as we headed towards Corfe. The views were amazing, particularly with the blue skies and sunshine.

The walk into Corfe lasted until lunchtime. During this time, from high on the hills, we had seen the steam train travelling back and forth to Swanage with its distinctive plumes of steam and familiar 'toot toot' from the whistle echoing down the tracks. We would get the train back to Swanage. 

As we approached the end of the path into Corfe the train was in the station. We took a quick snap of it whilst stationary and then waited a couple of minutes for it to pull out before capturing it going over the bridge with the castle in the background - what timing we thought.

We eat our pack lunch in Corfe, after which we walked around the town taking the odd pic here and there, with a few of the castle as you might expect. 

Then it was time to catch the steam train back to Swanage. Having got our tickets we waited on the platform for around fifteen minutes for the train, making polite conversation with the station master in the afternoon sun. 

After a 'toot toot' from the train's whistle we were off, heading back to Swanage in style on board a real steam train. After a pleasant journey, in Swanage the train would need to take on water etc. and so another photo opportunity presented itself, so we captured the train leaving station.

By the time we had arrived back at the campsite it was around 4.30pm so we got out our chairs and read a little in the late afternoon sun along side Scooby, enjoying a nice cup of tea too! You cannot beat tea by the Bay. Before long it was time for dinner, this evening we would be having a home made Chilli, followed by Macaroni for him and Rice Pudding for her! 

After clearing up from dinner we settled in for the night to watch a DVD or two - it was still very cosy with the heater on and a drink in hand, plus some chocolate Easter Egg. (Well it was Easter Sunday). 

Tomorrow we would again be walking all day, starting with a steep hill climb via the steps in the hillside, before heading across the hill tops to see 'Old Harry'.

To see more pics of our third day please click the photo montage below.

Well we had yet another good nights sleep and awoke to overcast skies - still the weather was due to improve in the afternoon. We had a leisurely breakfast before getting ready and leaving the campsite at around 10.30am. For this trip we would leave the campsite via the main entrance, turning left and crossing Ulwell Road to access the gate that takes up onto the Purbeck Hills once more.
The steep steps can clearly be seen from our campsite and they certainly took a while to complete as they take you up to the top of the hill. There is an obelisk at this point as well as signs indicating distances and the path in each direction. From here we would be taking the path to see 'Old Harry' which was around 3 miles away.

Great views again from the tops of the hills, but unlike yesterday's brilliant sunshine the overcast skies today restricted the view a little - it seemed even misty in the distance. Today, for the first time,  we wore our thermal hats to protect us from the wind - as we said at the start of this Blog it would be 'bracing' but enjoyable.

As we continued our walk we had views of Swanage Bay to our right and Studland Bay to our left. As we approached the end of the hills we went along the the coastal path out to the point in order to see 'Old Harry'. It was very windy at this point - fortunately coming off the sea - as several gusts certainly moved us!

After the obligatory photo session we made our way back into Swanage, but this time not along the hill tops. We would instead take the coastal path right down into Swanage. Before the path disappeared in to the side roads at the edge of the town there was a small green with a couple of benches. As it was around 2.00pm this is where we stopped and eat our pack lunch and once again look out to sea.

The afternoon had cleared up a little with the sun breaking through at different times. We walked into Swanage and found a little place to have a hot drink and a cream cake. After we had warmed up a little we then decided to walk back to the campsite. 

On the way we decided that we would go for a swim in the pool at the campsite (all included in the pitch price) which was nice as it was not too crowded - being the Bank Holiday Monday when many campers had gone home.

After our swim the campsite was bathed in sunshine, the skies had cleared and we were to enjoy some late afternoon sun. After a little time reading I went for a walk around the campsite with to take some final shots of the site in the sun. 

When I returned to Scooby our Pasta dinner was well under way. After clearing up for the last evening of our stay we sat down again, heater on, playing a DVD and finishing the chocolate Easter Egg. Tomorrow we would be going home, though not too early.

To see more pics of our fourth day please click the photo montage below.


After another good nights sleep we awoke to clear skies and brilliant sunshine.  

We had a leisurely breakfast before getting ready and then disconnecting the electrics, rolling Scooby off the ramps and packing everything away. 

Once the roof was down we ended up leaving the campsite at 10.30am.


We would once again not use the ferry, but drive 'the long way round' so we could drive one last time through Swanage and Corfe.

Of course we had to take the odd snap along the way. 


Arrived home at lunchtime where we first had a quick bite to eat then we fully unpacked Scobby before treating him to a Meguiares Wash on the drive - to remove all of that salt and sand from his coat.


What a FAB weekend, really enjoyed it all. The weather was totally dry, no rain or even a dew in the mornings and we had sunshine. All this on an Easter Bank Holiday Weekend! It was however, cold all weekend and the wind was rather 'bracing' - but we still enjoyed everything. As long as it is dry anything is Doo-able! 

Well that's our Swanage Tale - hope you enjoyed it - we certainly did.

That's All Volks!