This time, for its yearly hosteling weekend, the club had rented the Youth Hostel in Lulworth, which forms part of the Dorset and East Devon World Heritage Site (WHS) – it is also England’s first WHS awarded by UNESCO in December 2001. There were 17 of us in the 34 bed hostel so there was plenty of room for everybody. Andrew and Sandy had to cancel but we were joined on the walks by Mike and Heather, her sister and brother in law – who had rented a cottage down the road for a week’s holiday – and by Pam for her last Youth Hostel weekend with us before she returns to Australia. We travelled from Waterloo to Wool where taxis took us to West Lulworth. After settling in our respective rooms and a welcome cup of tea, we went for a short orientation walk around the village and down the Cove while Danny and a few others waited for the Tesco delivery. We all met in the Lulworth Cove Inn for a nice dinner and went back to the hostel in the dark (no street lights). A few people stopped at the Castle Inn to try one of the 40 ciders on offer. One person who shall remain nameless got lost on the way back to the hostel.
When we got up Saturday, the sun was out. Group B was in charge of breakfast. The vegetarians did not get any vegetarian sausages because they were hidden in the freezer (the sausages, not the vegetarians). After everybody was sufficiently replete and the washing-up had been done, we started walking. We climbed the 33% gradient from Lulworth Cove and down the 45% gradient to the scenic Durdle Door. The group then went three different ways: a few people (as Heather said) doddled around Durdle Door; another small group did a 7 mile walk and the majority of the party set off for the 10 mile option. We followed the undulating coast path, climbing two very steep hills very slowly and stopping to admire the view (and catch our breath) at the top. We stopped at the bottom of the hills too as the scenery along the coast was too beautiful to ignore. We passed Bat’s Hole Cove and its sea stack and small arch. Soon after, the mist came from the sea and the air became chilly. The group was spread out and we lost sight of each other but one can’t go wrong when following a coastal path! We had a quick lunch in the sun at the top of the cliffs and continued our walk to Ringstead Bay and Holworth House where we turned inland. We headed back to Lulworth via fields and farmland. We stopped for a coffee/tea/beer in the Blue Crab, a pub situated in a caravan park. A few of us stopped for another swift drink at the Castle Inn before going back to the hostel where some people were keen to watch Crufts. The team in charge of dinner did an excellent job. We had mixed salad for starter; the main course was vegetarian shepherd’s pie or chicken Chardonnay, both served with a baked potato and spinach. We had two choices for desert: hazelnut cheesecake or apricot and mascarpone brioche or both.
Sunday was another sunny day. After eating another full English breakfast and tidying up the hostel, we set off for a 5 mile circular walk. We headed north uphill towards West Down Farm and turned left towards Daggers Gate. We had so much enjoyed our coffee at the Blue Crab the day before that we stopped there again for a drink. The party then separated, some walking back to Lulworth and others making a detour via the nice valley of Newlands Warren to see what Scratchy Bottom was like. We followed the coast to a very busy Durdle Door, Stair Hole and Lulworth where we had lunch before going back to the hostel to wait for the taxis that were taking us to Wool station. Thank you Danny for organising another successful YHA weekend.