The Summer is coming to an end, the days are shortening and many of us have used up all of our holidays. However, the sea is at warm as it gets, our fitness is at a peak, the tourist hordes have dissipated and the weather at this time of the year is often perfect for some brisk coastal hiking, so let's head off to Dorset for the weekend!
We leave London early on Saturday and return late on Sunday, but we'll pack enough in for it to feel like a proper break and no holidays will be required for most of us!
This coastline is famed for it's scenery of majestic cliffs, spectacular rock formations and sheltered bays, as well as fossil deposits and having the most sunshine in he UK.
The group size is limited to only 12 and I am hoping for close to 12 nationalities to come along!
We will stay overnight at the youth hostel in Swanage, which is on the "Jurassic Coast" section of the South West Coast path and famed for it's lovely beaches and impressive cliffs. We have two of our own private LEC rooms reserved. Note that you will be sharing with up to 5 other group members and sleeping in bunks.
We'll travel on the 08:35 train from Waterloo to Wareham and then take the #40 bus to Kingston, from where we will start the hiking at around 11:30.
We will return from Bournemouth directly by train on Sunday evening - we are unlikely to get to Waterloo before 22:30.
The emphasis of the weekend is moderately strenuous hiking, but it will also be a sociable trip, with stops to enjoy the views, including the world-renowned geological formations, photography and for the all important bathing opportunities!
On Sat, we'll hike around 10 miles, taking in several stiff climbs, a lot of rugged clifftop scenery and the chance to dive straight into the sea from the rocks at Dancing Ledge.
There are very limited refreshment venues on this hike, so bring food and drink with you - we will stop for a picnic around 14:00.
In the evening, we will head into town for a restaurant / pub meal and if we have the energy, there are plenty of venues for further socialising.
On Sun, it's a very different 12 mile hike onwards to Bournemouth, with the highlights being the clifftop view at Ballard Point, Harry's Rocks, the beaches and heathland of Studland and the the promenade into Bournemouth. Neeless to say, there will be another opportunity to dip our toes and we will stop for a pub lunch.
£65, which includes led hikes on each day, the return train and bus fares and one night B&B at the hostel. Payment instructions will be provided when you RSVP.
It is advised to travel light, as we will be hiking with our luggage on both days. The hostel has a drying room, so wet clothing can be dried. Bedding is provided, but bring your own towel. The hikes are not very long (max 12 miles per day), but this is a very hilly area, the clifftop coastline that we will be hiking along for considerable lengths is fully exposed to the weather and some scrambling over rocks is involved, so appropriate hiking equipment / clothing and adequate levels of fitness are required. If you have walking poles, it is advised to bring them with you.
The hostel has the usual selection of board games, but please do bring along any games you can easily carry that are suitable for the train journeys and / or beach - I will bring Scrabble and a Frisbee.