Dorset Weekend, Day 1, Oct 2022

Day 1 – Ringstead to Lulworth

It didn’t start that auspiciously, arriving in the dark, traveling through an apocalyptic rain storm and then my car battery conking out when I arrived, it was starting to feel like a bad idea! But then Saturday morning dawned, the sun was out, the wind dropped and Ringstead beach as a launch site beckoned. It was totally idyllic, the biggest headache was working out what to wear so we didn’t get too hot. After a short walk down from the car park and a full safety and trip briefing we launched straight off the beach and headed off eastwards, aiming to reach Lulworth Cove for lunch.

We played in some of the rocks around the headland from Ringstead, looking for the swells and gaps and practising our skills.  Some went straight in for full thrills, others took it more cautiously, easing into the thrills, but regardless of experience, there was something for everyone, and the leaders encouragement helped build confidence and stopped any hesitation. 

We were making good progress to Durdle Door, but before we reached the bay itself we had to pass through the Tolkien-like Bat’s Hole, a tiny sea arch only accessible by kayak, you paddle through and pop out into the next bay, next to the impressive Butter Rock stack.

Once through we carried on paddling towards Durdle Door. The arch doesn’t reveal itself when you approach from the sea until you pass it and turn back, then you’re faced with a really spectacular viewpoint, the full arch with beach behind, the reward unique to sea travellers. We all had the chance to paddle through the arch in the twinkling sunshine cresting the gentle swell, and then headed round to the next bay, Lulworth Cove.

But before we reached it we passed the intriguing entrance to Stair Hole sea cave so went to explore only to find ourselves joined by some free-climbers as one by one we paddled in, had a good look round and came back out.  The incredible rock formations you can see when you paddle through the cave are aptly named the Lulworth Crumple, and having a sea eye view gives a unique perspective on this part of the coast.

We carried on round to Lulworth for lunch once Liza and David had performed an assisted rescue for Johnathan who had decided to try his luck on a wave breaking into the cove. After lunch and added ice creams we headed back in the afternoon sunshine watching the paragliders catching the winds off the top of the enormous white cliffs as we paddled past.

We took the opportunity to do more rock hopping on the way back, confidence boosted amongst those of us who needed it, and the more expert paddlers spotting the more challenging bits and having a go.

At last we came round the headland with our end point in sight, a last push got us back to the beach, sun heading towards its ending we landed and loaded. I had an amazing day, had the chance to make new friends and improve my confidence and ability in a safe and enjoyable way. The day was rounded off with a successful jump start thanks to magic gadget Rich, followed by dinner and a pint in the Bankes Arms, Corfe Castle. A lovely end to a perfect day.  

If you enjoyed this blog, we also made a video of this day, which you can find here: Jurassic Coast October 2022 – YouTube or click play below (about 7 mins long):

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