Wednesday, 13 July 2005

Coastwalk , South West Coast Path

Chiswell → Castletown

[Still Falling, Antony Gormley (1983)]

Distance: 10.6 miles
Ascent: 428 metres
Duration: 5 hours 12 minutes

The island
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There seems to be some confusion as to the spelling of our starting point. My map names the village "Chesil" while Emma's map - and all the local signs - call it "Chiswell". The point isn't worth arguing; we finished less than half a mile from the start, having completed a circuit of the island we've been staying on. (This project would be so much easier if I lived on Portland.)

Portland seems to be an island with no centre. Quarries occupy almost all the uninhabited land. Quarries so deep I worry that the sea will flood the island from the centre.

The most interesting is the labyrinthine Tout Quarry, now a sculpture park. Here in 1983 Antony Gormley carved the first work, a life-size figure falling down the rockface. It was a treat to see, at a time when I'm looking forward to seeing more of Gormley's work soon on the Sefton coast.

[Chiswell, Castletown and Fortuneswell]

The rest of the western coast continued the theme of active and abandoned quarries until finally a wide expanse of common ground opened out and we reach the brace of lighthouses at Portland Bill.

Sadly we can't tell you about the eastern coast: in the space of a minute the clear blue skies vanished as the sea mist rolled in once more.

Posted by pab at 17:32 | Comments will be back later in the year. Please email me instead!