Lyme Regis and The Cobb

I was killing time slightly as there was something I had planned to do whilst in this area, but it was not open until the following weekend so I just began mooching westwards along the south coast.  With the storm ‘Barny’ just blowing in the constant wind and rain meant that nothing was very memorable – mainly as I couldn’t really see it.

I stopped once or twice at beach type places, but in England motorhomes are neither particularly welcomed nor catered for, so it was tricky finding somewhere to park – and often even though there was plenty of room, motorhomes were specifically excluded.  Somewhat shortsighted of the authorities I feel.  I expect many of the council members run B&B’s or campsites, but neither of these are really much use to me.  Even if I decided to bed and breakfast, they would be unlikely to accept Phoebe, so that would make staying impossible,  and in any case I would still need to park somewhere near.  Most of the caravan sites are too far away from anything I might want to see, and even if I ordered a taxi it wouldn’t be able to take my scooter so wouldn’t be able to get around once I arrived.  The result is I simply have to drive on, and anything I might have spent in such places is lost to them.

Parked up in the rain I got on the internet and found a carpark at Lyme Regis which was not too far from the town, which allowed motorhomes and I could stay all day, albeit having to pay double fees as I take two spaces.  And in this blustery wet weather perhaps an atmospheric walk along  the famous Cobb felt the right thing to be doing – even if I didn’t have a hooded cape with me.

For those who haven’t seen The French Lieutenant’s Woman this might seem mystifying, but for those who have you will know exactly what I mean.  And I have to say even in November I did enjoy it there.

*A relevant bit of the film can be found at the bottom of the page*

The town itself is charmingly picturesque, though very hilly and a bit difficult to negotiate with an RV, but we made it though and even though the carpark was on a slope it was nowhere near as bad as the one in St. Ives last year, where I half expected that I might discover Thebus had fallen over onto his side when I got back.

The morning at Lyme Regis dawned beautifully – this was the view down out over the bay

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And another over the Lyme Regis harbour, a little later in the day from a different viewpoint

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We set off early and I took Little Miss Phoebe with me for an exploratory walk: she really is getting the hang of walking along at the side of The Supter.

Down the steep hill to the harbour area where an old gun looks out over the bay,

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Then though some of the old streets of the little town.

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Sadly the Museum was closed, but this was the path outside its doors.  I would have liked to have taken one of the guided ‘Fossil Walk Tours’  as this is a major part of the Jurassic Coast, and in fact one of the first fossil hunters lived here – but it sounded quite long with a fair amount of clambering involved so I decided not to risk it.

1024px-Mary_Anning_paintingMary Anning – Fossil Hunter                                                  ** see bottom of page for more information

Then striking out along the splendid coastal path running east from the town, with the waves thundering and dashing in against the newly constructed sea wall.

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Then along the seafront with its charming and picturesque old houses and cottages.

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And down to the beautiful harbour, the little boats nestling secure and calm within its massive haven walls.

Old steps up to the top of The Cobb

I didn’t risk a walk along the top of The Cobb Wall with Phoebe, with or without a hooded cloak, so it was back to Thebus to give her breakfast, and leaving her to sleep I headed down again alone.  This time it was easier to take photos and I left The Supter at the bottom and climbing the steep steps of The Cobb walked along the sloping top until the crashing waves ahead made it look a little too risky, but a memorable day and all the better for its storminess.

I had decided to treat myself to a meal, but off season on a Monday limited the choice and in fact I felt fairly underwhelmed by the offerings and by my meal when it arrived.  Never mind.  Some you win – some you loose, and the visit there was well worthwhile, I just wish I could have taken a black hooded cape.

 

*

 

**    From Wikipedia
Mary Anning (21 May 1799 – 9 March 1847) was an English fossil collector, dealer, and palaeontologist who became known around the world for important finds she made in Jurassic marine fossil beds in the cliffs along the English Channel at Lyme Regis in the county of Dorset in Southwest England. Her findings contributed to important changes in scientific thinking about prehistoric life and the history of the Earth.

Mary Anning searched for fossils in the area’s Blue Lias cliffs, particularly during the winter months when landslides exposed new fossils that had to be collected quickly before they were lost to the sea. It was dangerous work, and she nearly lost her life in 1833 during a landslide that killed her dog, Tray. Her discoveries included the first ichthyosaur skeleton correctly identified; the first two plesiosaur skeletons found; the first pterosaur skeleton located outside Germany; and important fish fossils. Her observations played a key role in the discovery that coprolites, known as bezoar stones at the time, were fossilised faeces. She also discovered that belemnite fossils contained fossilised ink sacs like those of modern cephalopods. When geologist Henry De la Beche painted Duria Antiquior, the first widely circulated pictorial representation of a scene from prehistoric life derived from fossil reconstructions, he based it largely on fossils Anning had found, and sold prints of it for her benefit.

Anning did not fully participate in the scientific community of 19th-century Britain, who were mostly Anglicangentlemen. She struggled financially for much of her life. Her family was poor, and her father, a cabinetmaker, died when she was eleven.

She became well known in geological circles in Britain, Europe, and America, and was consulted on issues of anatomy as well as about collecting fossils. Nonetheless, as a woman, she was not eligible to join the Geological Society of London and she did not always receive full credit for her scientific contributions. Indeed, she wrote in a letter: “The world has used me so unkindly, I fear it has made me suspicious of everyone.” The only scientific writing of hers published in her lifetime appeared in the Magazine of Natural History in 1839, an extract from a letter that Anning had written to the magazine’s editor questioning one of its claims.

After her death in 1847, her unusual life story attracted increasing interest. An uncredited author in All the Year Round, edited by Charles Dickens, wrote of her in 1865 that “[t]he carpenter’s daughter has won a name for herself, and has deserved to win it.” In 2010, one hundred and sixty-three years after her death, the Royal Society included Anning in a list of the ten British women who have most influenced the history of science.

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