Well, today is due to be another hot and humid day and I am walking the first quarter of the Jurassic Coast Ultra Challenge, i.e 24.5k Poole to Corfe Castle.
I joined the competitors at White cliffs, having picked up my bib number, etc the night before. As part of the 9.50 wave we gathered for a final briefing and warm up and then we were off!
The first leg was to the Sandbanks ferry crossing where our timers were halted while we waited for the ferry. A couple of minutes over the water and we made our way to Shell Bay ready to walk along the water’s edge past the nudist beach (eyes down everyone(!) and along to Studland where we followed the paths and road up the hill, diverting off near the top to make our way along the hilltop towards Old Harry Rocks. On top of the hill was a signpost with the 12k marker. Nearly at our rest stop.
We nearly missed the right turn that took us down to Swanage as we were following others who had not noticed the pink arrows and had gone the wrong way. The path led us down to Swanage and our rest stop, where we were timed in. I must say they provided a good selection of pastries, crisps, flapjack, Haribo sweets, etc and a most welcome cup of tea. A quick 15 minute stop and we were on our way again.
Little did we know how tough the next bit would be – the walk up to the top of the Purbeck hills in the scorching sun. It seemed neverending! Eventually we reached the top and it was a straight walk along the top to Corfe Castle. The views throughout were amazing and we even passed some cows walking towards us on the path.
By now, we had been walking over six hours and had had enough but we were nearly there. The path took us down to the road that winds round Corfe Castle itself and the finishing point was just beyond Norden station and the park and ride.
Finally we had made it! I made sure we were timed in (but their machine were awry again as I had a text later that evening asking where we were). I am the kiss of death for technology!
Ironically we had completed it in a similar time to our last walk, although I reckoned we had beaten it by 4 minutes.
We were presented our finisher’s medal and enjoyed a quick drink of fizz in celebration, then we picked our t-shirt and went of to find our baguette meal (mmm… steak and onion) which we ate on the way to catch the shuttle bus to Wareham Station. It’s a short hop down to Poole where we were picked up and taken home for a much needed bath!
I’ve decided hilly walking in the heat isn’t for me but at least we did it!