Leg 3 of the SWCP was the second run in a weekend of back to back adventures. A seemingly simple one on paper and the one that was going to be the most familiar by far of the whole 630 miles! Bowleaze cove, through Weymouth, round Portland and ending at Ferry Bridge. All roads and paths I have been running or riding on my whole life!
Another early start and a simple car shuffle made this one logistically easy as well. The first 12km all being road, nice and flat down Weymouth Sea Front and looping round Nothe Gardens towards Portland. A nice start to get the legs going after the previous days hills and providing some great views of Weymouth Town and out over the bay and Portland Harbour. Once at Ferry Bridge, the stretch to Portland and back with a loop of the island is a simple Half Marathon, incorporating Beach road, “the hill”, “the Bill” and back again. A run that if the weather wasn’t playing nicely would be very exposed to the elements. Thankfully, although not the warmest, the wind and rain held off and made it much more pleasant.
When running paths you have done so many times its easy to take the surroundings for granted. We therefore made a conscious effort to play tourists, seize typical photo opportunities and avoid making this chapter of the blog a case of ‘blink and you miss it’. I had never seen the face of the Jubilee Clock in Weymouth lit up pink before so that was a definite opportunity for a few snaps of a very quiet, early morning Weymouth seafront. Next came the long hill up the “incline” which took us to the top of the island. This stretch never gets any easier but once up to the Verne Prison its a stunning rocky coastal run down to the Bill, dropping down the Goat Path behind the Y.O.I to East Weares. Passing places like Church Ope have been such a big part of my life and hold a lot of memories so we took a couple more photo opportunities before passing the cranes, boats and sought after beach huts on the approach to Portland Bill.
With an early start on a Sunday we weren’t expecting much opportunity to stop for a coffee but did hold out some hope that as we reached the Bill that the cafe would at least be offering a take-away. Unfortunately we were out of luck and this was to become the first leg of our journey without a coffee and cake stop opportunity! Portland Bill and its famous lighthouse is something I will quite literally carry with me forever, having it tattooed onto my left arm makes it quite hard to forget! Tea and Coffee-less we rounded the bill and head up the hill towards the NCI lookout and the West-Cliff section on the top of the Island. This part of the SWCP has seen some significant land fall and erosion over the past few years so some slight diversions are in place. The bridge just past Blacknor Fort is a particularly dodgy part of the path but gives stunning views over the cliff edges towards Chesil Cove and up Chesil Beach. We continued up through Tout Quarry with its many carvings and sculptures before dropping down again and back across the beach road to finish the leg.
The last 2 miles across the beach road were dragging like they always do but we hit Ferry Bridge and the old pub in good spirits with another big section of path ticked off.
Run 3 Stats
19.5 Miles (56.5 out of 630) – 4h06 Moving Time (13h14 so far) – 4h28 Total Time (15h24 so far)
1476ft Elevation (8770 out of 1614931)
2 Clif Bars – No Tea or Coffee!
Run 4 will be up the Fleet, Ferry Bridge to West Bay (Or Broadchurch) Travelling up Chesil Beach and into the hills that take us close to the Dorset/Devon Border.