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SWCP - Day 47 - Chideock to Abbotsbury

semi-overcast 18 °C

Steps / Distance: 41,807 28.5 km
Rating: strenuous, then moderate

Leaving Seatown was strenuous, with steep, dirt hills. I'm not sure I would have made it up some sections if it had been raining today as it was yesterday. The steep hill would have been a muddy, slippery mess, I think.
Looking back at Seatown, which a guy on a bench told me was the most beautiful place in the world.

Looking forward from the "Golden Cap" toward Eype Beach.

On Google maps, it showed the path in the water. I wonder if it was due to a recent cliff fall. The current path is more inlandPXL_20230705_085100290.jpg

Passing West Bay, about 1/3 of the way today. And, as usual, walking next to a golf course

Then, I must have missed or misunderstood a path marker because I ended up on a beach with horrible pebbly stone that were worse than sand to walk on. It was exhausting and pure drudgery.

The first footpath I saw I took. It was to a road and then the South Dorset Ridgeway route, which is an 8-hr alternate SWCP route. I didn't want to stay on it for 8 hrs, but for a short time it was following close to the main road into Abbotsbury. Once it started to deviate from that direction, I started to walk on the busy road. For about 40 minutes, I stepped off into the side berm or ditch whenever a car was coming. I would have liked a less busy alternative, but this road was still far, far better than walking on that beach.

From the top of the hill as I neared Abbotsbury, I could see Chesil Beach, which is an alternate route for the walk tomorrow. It is considered very strenuous and I'm going to opt for the inland easy route.

I arrived early enough in Abbotsbury to take in the main tourist attraction - the Abbotsbury Swannery. This has been around since at least the 1300's, but is thought to actually date back to the 1100's when the Benedictines founded the monastery.

It is quite the sight - hundreds of Mute Swans, Canada geese and other birds, all voluntarily nesting in Fleet tidal lagoon. This lagoon is uniquely able to support the colonized swan population because of an abundance of fresh water, essential for cygnets. The swan population, normally territorial, has adapted to be able to nest in close proximity to each other and to humans. Of course, this comes about because they are fed three times a day, so no need to be territorial when there's no shortage of food.

The Benedictines were not permitted to eat meat, except on rare special occasions; however, they could eat fish as much as desired. The decided (or maybe decreed) that cygnets were "fish" because they lived on the water and, due to their diet of eel grass, they tasted "fishy". As such, they raised the swans for food, eating the tastier and tenderer cygnets. As always, humans find ways to circumvent every rule.

I was there for a 4pm feeding. Also saw a couple of black swans.

And my favourite pic

Posted by Deb Godley 20:09 Archived in England

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