Random Images from Dorset and Devon

Quick note: I’m still experimenting with my post formats. If you want to skip all the spiel and jump straight to a gallery and slideshow, click here.

I absolutely love Dorset. It is pretty much my favourite place in the world. I guess it’s the air, the amazing scenery, and the fact that for two weeks every summer I basically grew up there. In fact, I first visited Dorset some 23 years ago when I was only three, and have been back for at least a day virtually every year since.

We had such a return last week when, finding ourselves in Devon for a (really rather good) wedding, we decided we might as well stay in the area for a while, and booked into a campsite in Charmouth, near Dorset’s border with Devon. Wait, I’ve made that sound far more spontaneous than it actually was. Yes, we planned it. That’s why we had a tent with us.

Anyway, during the four days we were there, we popped into a few places along the coast (and inland for that matter), where I found occasions to break out my camera and take some snaps. Since you’re reading this here, you can rest assured they’re not just standard holiday pictures.

Our first port of call (well, more of a harbour, in fact) was Seaton, which we popped into on the way from the wedding in Devon to the campsite in Dorset.

The Seaton Coastline

Once we had the tent set up – fortunately the wind held off long enough for us to get it secured without it blowing away – we took a stroll down to Charmouth beach to take a look.

Charmouth beach. It contains more history than you could possibly imagine. If you’re a creationist than the space above is probably blank.

There, we found some people playing with R/C cars on the sand.

I never had a remote control car when I was younger. At least now I have a R/C Halo Warthog.

They were obviously using the opportunity to take some cool pictures of the cars themselves. I sat back and grabbed a few snaps whilst they were playing about:

Kicking up sand with a wheel spin. It’s like Top Gear, only not.
They built a ramp, which meant they had a few good tumbles too.
Kicking up dirt as it skids across the beach. This is pretty much the shot I was shooting for.

The next day, we took a fossil hunting stroll along Charmouth beach, one of the world’s most renowned fossil spots (I myself have a few decent examples from that beach, including this fine little number).

Holly certainly got into the swing of things.

All they found of him was a muddy set of prison clothes, a bar of soap, and an old rock hammer, damn near worn down to the nub. I remember thinking it would take a man six hundred years to tunnel through the wall with it. Old Andy did it in less than twenty. Oh, Andy loved geology… Geology is the study of pressure and time. That’s all it takes really, pressure, and time. That, and a big goddamn poster.
Whilst Holly takes a look at her rocks, I take a look at the view.

When we stopped for lunch, I decided to take a snap of the bottle of apple juice and tart it up a bit.

It’s just a bottle of apple juice. I just removed most of the colour with the aim of being ‘artistic’.

After our fossil hunt (we had a decent haul, admittedly mostly found by the wife), we found ourselves suddenly and unaccountably set upon by the sun, which had apparently been occupying itself elsewhere up until that point, so we decided to scale a local hill (where I took the shot of the beach at the top of this post).

We also had a flyby from a microlight, because that’s the sort of random thing that happens on the coast in Dorset.

That isn’t flying. It’s falling with style. No wait, that would be a glider. Or Buzz Lightyear.
I thought only James Bond had those.

To capitalise on the sudden good weather, we headed out to Lyme Regis in the evening, where I discovered they’ve apparently been poshing up their seafront a bit. They’ve put in some nice gardens up on the hill above the beach with a fancy, almost Kew Gardens-style walkway in it. Although, as far as I can tell, it’s only good for the photo ops.

The only problem is the harbour looks more impressive when the tide is out.
Between the trees is Golden Cap, one of the highest points on the south coast.
Lyme Bay. The ‘Jurassic Coast’ is named for its stunning geology, not the age of its inhabitants. Yeah, I said it.

On the Monday we accidentally wondered a fair way back into Devon. I had figured I had better do something other than ‘just’ Dorset whilst away, so we headed in a Devon sort of direction and before long we found ourselves sitting in Exmouth. I’ve never been there before, so I was impressed with its geography.

Although I do get distracted by moving objects.
See? There’s impressive coastline. And a boat.
Yeah, I know this is three images of the same boat, but I really like the splashes in this shot. And if you think three images of the same boat is excessive, just wait until later.

After a quick stop in the town centre for a rather enjoyable full English, we headed back out and found a little piece of home: a garden area by the water with dozens of tame squirrels.

Now, as anyone who’s read this blog before will know, I have a small penchant for photographing ostensibly cute woodland creatures. Especially in wooded areas where my tendency to shoot at a slightly quick shutter speed enhances the shadows and lighting for what I call the Alice in Wonderland effect (purely because the result reminds me of the cinematography of one of the adaptations of the classic tale).

This shot reminds me of the Cheshire Cat.
“You may have noticed that I’m not all there myself.”
We took it upon ourselves to ask this squirrel which way we should go. “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” it replied. We told it we didn’t much care where, as long as we ended up somewhere. “Oh you’re sure to do that,” it replied, “if you only walk long enough.”

After visiting the squirrels, we continued our drive deeper into Devon. We eventually got as far as Teignmouth, which seemed like a nice place until you looked at some of the road signs.

Only a half-step away from “get out”.

So with that, we returned to the familiarity of Dorset.

Ah, Chesil Beach. It’s like someone built a beach and forgot to attach it to the land.

On our final day, we headed out via my favourite place to be stationary in Dorset (as there are some truly fantastic roads throughout the county), Swanage.

No sooner had we parked, I caught sight of a lifeboat going past the bay. If you were paying attention earlier, this is the excessive boat bit.

A Severn-class lifeboat passing past Swanage Bay, presumably coming from the RNLI HQ in Poole.
The lifeboat passes by Swanage Lifeboat Station, with the Isle of Wight in the background.
I guess this is what they call ‘making a splash’. Hehe. What?
A quick bit of research tells me that lifeboat 17-33 is a relief boat, that provides cover for other boats whilst they are out of action due to maintenance.

It costs thousands of pounds a day to run the RNLI, and despite the fact they are an emergency service they receive no government funding and are financed entirely by charitable donations. So, if you spend any time at all near or on the sea in the UK, go here and give them a few quid. Seriously. This post will still be here when you come back.

Done? Good.

Anyway, from atop the windy cliff where I snapped the pictures of that lifeboat, I had a great view of the channel, choppy and splashing against the rocks at Peveril Point.

The ferocity of the waves is simply stunning sometimes.
The black and white helps bring out the waves. Yeah, okay, I’m getting artsy again, and trying to replicate something I shot at a similar location last year.
Another artsy shot.
There was a time, when I was younger, when I thought that the reason old photos and movies were in black and white is because humanity hadn’t invented colour back then, so the whole world was just shades of grey.

We weren’t the only ones enjoying the wind and the view. A few birds were making the most of the weather.

This seagull, for instance, was floating around looking for trouble. I like the contrast of the white of its body against the blue of the sea.
And this, as yet unidentified, bird of prey was using the wind to remain totally static whilst hunting. My wife bought a bird spotting book which I hoped would make me better at this bird identification lark but this fella didn’t seem to be in there.

If you haven’t heard of Swanage, or Dorset, you at least should be familiar with one piece of its scenery, especially if you’ve ever opened a geography text book.

Old Harry Rocks. I think that’s ‘rocks’ the noun rather than ‘rocks’ the verb, but I could be wrong on that one.

After that, I sat down and turned to taking some desktop wallpaper images. If there is ever any demand for such I thing I might release some of these at a more desktop-optimised size.

Calm, soothing. Just what you need for a desktop image.
I like the yellow against the blue in this one.
If you were the size of an ant, this would be an awesome private island. But you’re not.
I love seeing the moon during the day. It’s also a lot easier to photograph.

Swanage also has an excellent stream railway. We managed to miss the steam train photo opportunity twice, but there was a nicely regaled diesel locomotive parked at the station.

Meh, I’d already photographed the steam train anyway.

Finally, on our way out, I stopped and took a snap of Corfe Castle.

Corfe Castle stands proud amongst the Purbeck Hills.

Well, that’s almost your lot. As I’m still experimenting with ways of displaying my images on this blog, you can see all of the above images (and a few more besides) in this gallery of the photos, or check out the slideshow below.

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2 Comments

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  1. craftsbythesea June 8, 2012 — 10:22 pm

    Great photos especially Swanage and Corfe. There were some great waves today in Swanage and out by the lighthouse. Nice to see Corfe from a different angle.

    Like

    • Thanks!

      It’s always nice to capture locations like this in situation when most wouldn’t photograph them, like in windy, rainy weather. Everyone must have a photo of Swanage in the sun, not everyone will have captured great waves crashing into Peveril Point in a storm.

      Like

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