THE HARDY COUNTRY

THE TRIP TO SWANAGE started on a cold bleak day, 20th April, on the platform at Waterloo. As I was first to arrive I had a look around before anyone else appeared. Gradually the party began to arrive looking lonely and out of place. Then at 11.30 a.m. we were all in the train as it slowly glided out of the station.

The journey to Swanage was uneventful but the weather seemed to brighten imperceptibly as we approached the 'Hardy Country'. When we arrived, we went to the boarding house to unpack. The boarding house was clean and well kept by two middle-aged ladies. After tea the programme said we were to have a short walk, getting familiar with the town and cliffs, but most of us just went anywhere we could think of.

The next day after breakfast we made ready for one of our longest walks - over Durlston Head, a considerable hurdle - to visit a farm. When we arrived we were shown over it by the farmer and it was quite interesting. Then we walked along the top of the Downs to Corfe Castle, an old ruin on the top of a large hill. We were then to have walked back to Swanage, but being tired many of us caught a train and travelled back in comfort.

The second day was fine just as before and we visited the Purbeck Quarries to see what kind of stone was found round about. It was a bit disappointing but interesting in parts. Then we walked across the valley to another farm, this time an old manor dating in parts from the eleventh century. It was a large farm and there were lots of interesting things to see. When we arrived back at Swanage some of us went swimming, but it was very cold and we didn't stay in long.

Friday was spent on a coach trip to Poole to see the Potteries, which were quite good but we didn't see much. Then we went across the bay by ferry and walked home over Durlston Head. Some people attempted to go round the cliffs but got stuck and had to make a detour.

On Saturday we had a heart-breaking walk to Kimmeridge, a mere twelve miles over rocky foreshore and downs. It was very nice but once we nearly got cut off by a waterfall right by the sea and we had to paddle round it. When we arrived twenty-five minutes late to catch the coach, we were just about all in and we tumbled into the seats to arrive just in time for tea.

Sunday was free except for a short project in the afternoon. On Monday we went to Portland and Chesil Bank, a huge bank of pebbles 30 ft. high. Our lunch was spent on Portland Bill. Then we went past Maiden Castle, a huge earthwork of ancient Briton origin, to Dorchester, a famous old Roman town. We arrived at Swanage rested and ready for tea.

Then on Tuesday it was time to return and, as the train drew out of the station, the memory of the holiday was still fresh in our minds.