Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Durdle Door, a bit of wind and me staying upright!

Here I am, my first adventure of the year. I woke up at 6am with a smile on my face and a prayer for no rain. I have run out of excuses not to do the things I wanted, or to try new ones.

I started 2016 with one of those painfully clear moments that I was going nowhere really fast and life was passing me by waving and laughing at me. Self awareness is a bitch like that, you wake up with a realisation about yourself where you look like an absolute dick. At that point the world will never be the same and there are a whole ton of things you need to change to stop being a dick. You realise that it doesn’t matter how old you are, you will always discover things about yourself that you want and/or need to change. The bonus to this? Life becomes better, change is no longer scary, it is exciting, enticing, needed. And no, before you accuse me of making New Year’s resolution that are nothing but a passing moment, this is nothing of the sort, this is me realising that life is indeed a box of chocolates but that chocolate is ALL good, even the orange cream ones and I am going to eat the whole damn box even if it makes me sick. I am also genuinely unashamed of just how bad this analogy is, Mr Gump had the best outlook on life and we can all stand to learn a thing or two.  

So here I am the car packed, the sandwiches made - enough to feed a small army when there was only 4 of us going - I collected my walking posie and off we went to the Jurassic Coast and Durdle Door in Dorset.

I didn’t know what to expect or how I would do, I hadn’t done anything like this in years. I knew that the area we were going to was beautiful, I knew that the cliffs were going to be white. Anything beyond that was a mystery.

The start of our root, which was circular, was Hambury Tout, and what a mean way to start it is. A steep hill by any standard the path was paved in what looked like a Roman road and was as slick as anything. Every step I took came with a prayer of “don’t fall over, just don’t fall over! Not yet!” You see I had one goal and that was to try and not fall over on this trip. What felt like an eternity later but was most likely 15 minutes I was at the top, my small win was that I didn’t fall over but I was sweating under my windproof and thinking I need to do more cardio. The thought didn’t stay with me long as I was smacked in the face with a stunning view and all the pain then and after was worth every second. The day was grey and overcast the winds were in excess of 25mph and I didn’t care. I could smell the sea, the taste of salt in the air welcomed me and I felt at home, I was exactly where I wanted to be.

The steel hue of the clouds didn’t wash out the landscape of either colour or magnificence, the cliffs were more brilliantly white than I thought. The hills were mottled shades of brown and green and the sea was a brilliant turquoise slowly turning grey as it met the sky, and there just where they touched was a dazzling line of silver light where the sun shone through the clouds and reflected off the English Channel.The saying “Every cloud has a silver lining” has never been more true or expressed in a more awe inspiring way.   

The day wore on and the hills didn’t get any smaller, the wind got stronger and I fully expected to feel miserable at the conditions but instead every time I licked my lips I would taste the sea and a smile would spread through my face. Every hill I climbed up gave me another and another breathtaking vista. I stood on the edge and watched as seagulls soared on the wind and swooped in and out of their nests on the cliff face. The wind buffeted me and I felt the exhilaration that comes with the wonder of what it would be like to jump off of this height. My mind soared into possibilities of other treks, of skydiving and bungee jumping and the misery I had awaited didn’t materialise. I was the picture of happiness and I would have kept walking for ever, perfectly content with the simple comfortable silence or easy conversation of my three friends around me. There was no forced chatter, no dull small talk, no awkward pause when no one knew what to say. There was simply the joint goal of getting to the top of the next hill and back down the other side.

Like all good things this had to come to an end, the conditions were deteriorating,  we turned inland and looped back to the car park where I was hoping I was not going to find a parking ticket for having overstayed our welcome. We walked through green pasture land, still able to see the sea as well as the descending clouds and mist and the immanent rain. Turns out the fates had our back and we made it to the car before any real rain started, we were muddy, windswept and grinning. Part of my smile had to do with a clean(ish) ticketless windshield.  

As all perfect days should, this one ended in Kebab Kid where we actually sat and ate in the restaurant so that I would not be breaking my “lent”(a long story for a different time), I even pulled out the pretend plastic cheese slices out of my burger.

I have barely been back and I am already looking at adventure two and three and ... oh the possibilities! Yes, still smiling and no I didn’t fall over, not once! 

Yes, I climbed UP that hill and did NOT fall down!

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