South West Coast Path Adventure – Leg 2 – Dodging Bullets

Leg 2 of our SWCP adventure was planned from the end point of the previous run at Kimmeridge Bay heading to Bowleaze Cove Weymouth; a 16 mile/26km stretch taking in the infamous “rollercoaster” section of hills around Lulworth Cove.

The original plan for this was to do it last Saturday (14th November) and we set an early alarm to shuffle cars to the start and finish points to get the run done. After the lessons of Leg 1 new shoes were ordered with better grip for the real wet mud and despite some pretty horrendous weather we set off from the car park at Kimmeridge. A mere 1km into the run we hit the Lulworth Ranges, the firing ranges used by the Army for exercise and training. Much to our disappointment the gate was locked and the ranges were closed to the public for the weekend. 1st epic fail of our journey early on leg 2 but safety first and all that! A 1km run back to the car and it was onto plan B.

SWCP Leg 2 take 2…… same plan…. new day ….. ranges open with clear access and no risk of being shot at! This ended up being day 1 of a double header weekend of trail running on the path. Alarm set again, cars put in place and we were on our way. We knew beforehand this section was going to be tough and accumulate some serious elevation with the hills along the stretch. Mentally it was broken up into 2 parts, the first 11km to Lulworth Cove and then the next 15km from Lulworth to Weymouth. The rain was holding off but we got our first real taste of screaming headwind that is likely to plague us all the way to Cornwall!

No shortage of Hills!

Leaving Kimmeridge and its straight into climbs and descents, walking the uphills even being a significant test and not smashing the legs too hard on the downhills being the trick to keeping going. The ranges are a stunning place to run though and despite the relentless hills and headwind Lulworth eventually came around to present stunning views of the cove and a much welcomed coffee and flapjack. After a quick refuel it was onto the next set of hills, passing Durdle Door and edging ever closer to Weymouth. The wind still relentless in our faces but new shoes providing incredible grip even on the steepest climbs and descents. Once over the bigger hills after Lulworth there are some much more runable sections as the path swept down into Ringstead beach, Osmington Mills and eventually into Bowleaze Cove. After the hills earlier on in the run it felt awesome to get some more consistent sections of running in and tick the Km’s off a bit quicker!

Popping out onto the clifftop over looking Bowleaze 26km later we were glad to be getting out of the wind. We knew going into this section that the elevation was going to be a big one and that the times werent going to be fast. The wind really added to this with each climb also having a headwind! Its a very rewarding section of the SWCP though with stunning views at every point, long grinding flights of steps and steep descents eventually transitioning into a more flowing path just as the legs need it.

Run 2 Stats
16 miles – 4h09 Moving Time – Total Time 4h54
4455ft Elevation
2 Flapjacks – 1 Tea – 1 Cofee – A few Clif Blocks

Leg 3 will be a flatter affair, starting with the road miles through Weymouth taking us out onto the loop of Portland before finishing at Ferry Bridge. Approx 19-20 miles, potentially very exposed to the elements but on trails I know incredibly well.

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