Kimmeridge, in Dorset, to be exact. Mr WithaY needed to go and forage for edible stuff for one of his bushcraft assignments, so he picked the best day of the week weather-wise and we headed out early.
Kimmeridge is famous for being part of Dorset's Jurassic Coastline. This does NOT mean that there are dinosaurs roaming the earth just outside Corfe, or that you will see volcanoes erupting in Weymouth.
Shame, because that would be excellent.
No. It's all about the Jurassic geology. And there's plenty of it to see. Creationist readers, probably best if you stop reading and go and make a cup of tea while I finish this. WARNING: There will be fossils.
So. A fairly long drive, a fiver to park in a big almost-empty field at the top of the cliff, a walk down the slopey slippy path, over a trip-trappy bridge, a nasty wade through the giant heaps of festering seaweed, and there is is! The sea!
The sun was out, the sky was blue and it was about as perfect a day as you could wish for.
We got there just as the tide was starting to go out, so we walked along the beach as far as possible - the red flags were out so the Army were firing on the range, and we couldn't go all the way around the headland as a result - but we were able to go most of the way. Then we turned around and walked back, peeking into the rock pools that were exposed by the receding tide.
The walk was enlivened by the occasional gentle patter of eroding cliff, showers of shale falling onto the beach. Also machine gun fire, I assume from the Army range. If not, it was all kicking off in Corfe big time.
I love the way you can see the different layers of rock in the cliffs, and watch how the tiny shale rockfalls gradually loosen up the bigger pieces of rock to cause a major cliff fall. Fascinating. Just make sure you stand several hundred yards away.
Closer to the water, the rock surface is eroded into geometric lines so that it looks like the skin of some giant sea-monster. I decided that if I ever film a low budget sci-fi movie, I will use Kimmeridge for the location, as it looks like the canals on Mars.
In my head.
We discovered these markings on a rock. I have no idea what they are, I assume they are man made but they might be natural. Whatever they are, they are funky and tribal looking, and I like them very much.
And of course there are fossils. Pretty much everywhere you look you can see them, and as more of the cliffs break apart, more are exposed.
There's a causeway that is exposed at low tide, and we were able to walk along it. A chap was there with a small dog, which was whimpering and straining at a tennis ball floating in the water, too far away to be reached. We discussed it with the chap. He was confident that the dog would jump in and fetch the ball. Any minute now. Aaaany minute.
As we watched, the dog screwed up its courage and leapt into the sea. At exactly that moment the tennis ball, waterlogged and heavy, sank like a stone to the bottom.
The dog owner sighed deeply, rolled up his trousers and waded into the water with a resigned look on his face.
I got the feeling that little scenario had played out more than once that day already.
Once we had walked along the beach, wading in the shallow water in our wellies, and staggering through the mounds of rotting seaweed, we went up the path to the little marine life museum/exhibition there. They had a small display of native wildlife that could be found in the area, and there were several volunteers outside cleaning a huge World War 2 mine that had pride of place in the flowerbed.
We passed a pretty waterfall cascading onto the beach.
Then we walked back along the cliff-top path to the car park, admiring the view from the hill.
Wellies off and back into the car to Swanage, where we walked from the car park at the edge of town through the park, and then to the excellent fish and chip shop.
If there's a nicer lunch than freshly-fried fish and chips eaten from a paper bag, sitting on a bench outside in the sunshine watching yachts on the sea, I don't know what it is. Mr WithaY went mad and bought his own mini bottle of ketchup, which left his lunch bag looking like an axe murder scene.
Lunch finished, ketchup wiped up and leftover chips thrown in the bin, we waddled back up the hill and headed home.
At one point as we walked on the beach, the breeze blowing and the sun shining, we agreed that it was much nicer than working.
In other news: I've got some forms to fill in from the council which will (hopefully) pave the way for a new business plan. Fingers crossed.