The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Swyre Head and Nine Barrow Down

Sat 24 January

We woke up on the (not-really-an-island) Isle of Purbeck this morning and it didn't take us long to realise that, in spite of the gusty wind that had rocked us during the night, it was another glorious day. Little time was wasted in springing out of bed and marching towards the coast.

It took about five minutes for the sea to come into view and not an awful lot longer for us to reach our first objective of the day: Swyre Head.

Gone was yesterday's heavy haze and the views from the top of the tumulus, which forms the recognised summit of this hill, were fine - along the coast and over to Corfe Castle and our next objective beyond.

Time constraints had cut down the distance of this first outing from 9 miles to just over 2 miles, so it wasn't much longer before we had completed our circuit and returned to Colin.

Not knowing what the parking situation would be in Corfe Castle on a sunny Saturday, we didn't pause before heading off there and by luck more than judgement, we found ourselves in the village car park. That was not the most cost effective solution, but at £2 it proved to be money well spent as it caused us to walk through the village - an incredibly pretty picture-postcard sort of a place. I imagine it's heaving in summer.

Out the other side of the village, a permissive path was taken on impulse, which took us brutally straight up the hillside. We certainly gained height quickly and, once at the top, it was just a gentle walk up the broad, grassy ridge to the top of Nine Barrow Down.

Our objective, on this occasion, was a tuft of grass lying 55m ENE of an oil tank which sits in the middle of a field. A tiny bit of trespassing was required to get there and, although a field housing an oil tank may not sound attractive, it provided a fantastic vantage point, giving views of a large tract of coast, including Poole Harbour. I was rather taken with it and the landscape wasn't at all what I had envisaged that area to be like.

We opted to retrace our steps most of the way along the ridge (the alternative was a path along the bottom of the hill, but the views from up high wholly justified the repetition), by which time it was getting busy - mainly with horse riders and mountain bikers. The only variation on the way back was a gentler (non-knee-killing) descent. Oh, and we detoured the few steps into the bakers in the village and rewarded our efforts with baked goodies :-)

The stats for the second outing were 7.3 miles with 850' of up.


(I'll post photos in due course, when the quality of mobile signal warrants the purchase of data on the laptop.)

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. I discovered the addittions in Dawson's appendices too late on my forray to the south:

    From my blog post:
    The unclimbed additions that I missed:

    Swyre Head SY 934 784

    Nine Barrow Down SZ 008 811

    Cheriton Hill TR 197 396

    Lewesdon Hill - ST 437 011

    Also I climbed Pilsdon Pen ST 413 011 which is shown as an M in Dawson's book, but does not appear on either of the website lists, so it must have been demoted.

    1. I'd like to tell you that you didn't miss much ... but they were quite lovely in the sunshine. If you should find yourself nearby any time I'd recommend the Corfe Castle start for Nine Barrows.