Day 91 Thurs 30 June: Two good nights at the Harbour House in Weymouth, in a room with a mini balcony, a harbour view, all mod cons, friendly, helpful and good humoured hosts and two good breakfasts. What more could I ask? Not a lot, so I didn’t. Even so, a very kind and generous discount was given, in recognition of the “worthy cause”. Thank you Doris.
With no rain, peaceful, quiet, beautiful country lanes, a few good leg-warming hills and the prospect of cycling along the Chesil Beach road from Abbotsbury to West Bexington (as suggested by Garmin and Google maps) there was not much to complain about. Great progress, until the tarmac stopped at East Bexington. The road became a rough track which became a narrow, slippery, bumpy coast path, which became a flooded mud bath. Not the cycle lane shown on Garmin. A local lad reckoned he might just about get his mountain bike through, but wasn’t going to try. He was clearly amused and pleased to inform me, with a grin and a nod towards Fondo, that there was “no way mate, not on that. You’ll have to go all the way back to the main road and up Abbotsbury Hill “.
At last, plenty to complain about. I’m not sure why, but the Dorset and South Devon roads are more inclined to go straight up and over the hills instead of around them. This became the hardest day of cycling since Scotland, by a country mile (or 60). If those North Yorkshire climbs of a few weeks back qualify as God’s Own Country, I hesitate to re-christen this part of the country, over endowed with mega hills, deep green valleys and stunning coastal views.
Up and eventually down to Lyme Regis, along the neatly restored and reinforced promenade, to the boat house at the shore end of a familiar structure. The Cob, made famous by a French Lieutenant and his Woman (aka Jeremy and Meryl) in the 1981 film of the John Fowles book. This solid stone boat house could not be seen in the film. Nothing to do with clever CGI. It wasn’t built until the late 1990s. Thanks Sylvia, (RNLI Shop Volunteer and Lifeboat Crew Mother), for signing the chart as a representative of the volunteer crew who were all earning a living elsewhere in the locality. There’s always one last resort when it hasn’t been possible to make contact with any of the crew, but cycling off the end of the pier (or The Cob) just to gain their attention probably isn’t a good idea.