• mcp avatar

    By - visited on 21 August 2015

We arrived on the outskirts of Lyme Regis and crossed into Dorset on day 57 of our trip. We calculated we'd need 6 days of hiking to complete the Dorset section, with a rest day already booked on the Isle of Portland, which just happened to coincide with some particularly nasty weather. We hoped Dorset would entertain us with pretty view and new adventures, but the desire to finish the trek and get home to loaf around was undeniably stronger and all we could really think about.

Dorset has a very scenic coastline, possibly the best of all the SWCP county sections from what we saw. Saying that, we took in a lot of coastline on the previous sections, so maybe the memory was fading a bit. The sections from Lyme Regis to Burton Bradstock and Weymouth to Worth Matravers are superbly undulating and visually very impressive, so that was the highlight. Mother nature threw some foul weather at us, but by this point we were well hardened to it and nothing was going to mess with our focus on the finish line.

Overall, Dorset did us proud. I guess you could say that this county section felt most familiar to us, both in terms of proximity to home and the fact that we've hiked some of its paths before. It was a previous walk up to White Nothe that actually started us thinking about taking the time out to hike the whole SWCP. Returning back to that same place having walked 600 miles all the way round was an interesting time to reflect on the question 'Did the path deliver all we hoped it would?' The answer to that is a solid 'Yes'. It was definitely harder than we expected, and on certain days it threw us a really tough physical, mental and/or weather challenge. We didn't have as much time as we dreamt of to just dawdle around and soak up the atmosphere. It was a mission to get through the miles, and of course we were taking quite a bit of time out to do the video / photo capture. But all in all, it definitely delivered a grand experience with lots of adventure and memories. Hiking it all in one (thru-hiking as the Americans would call it) is our preferred way of tackling the National Trails as it lifts the sense of challenge. I think it would be more enjoyable if you broke it up into sections with a large gap in-between, but you miss out on the full expedition feeling of doing it in one. At the end of the day, you should plan it how you want to do it and then just go for it. I doubt you'll regret it regardless how it turns out.