The Final Countdown: Europe, North America travel blog

Fossil hunting on the beach at Lyme Regis

Lyme Regis

We have a wonderful cooked breakfast this morning, followed by a wander around the pub gardens. It is a lovely setting here, it would be fantastic in summer with the new deck. We were asked if we heard a crash during the night, (we didn’t), and see that an old oak tree had given up hanging on to the steep hillside during the night. It was not windy last night, but it was very wet. They had been asking the council to have several trees removed because they considered them dangerous, but the council had a lengthy, and expensive, process to go through because the trees are considered significant. The pub owners are just thankful that the tree fell during the night when no one was about. This is the second tree to fall this year, and they will be requesting the council to act urgently with the others.

We had looked at going to St Ives and Padstow, but decided we would do that next weekend from Penzance. We spent the rest of morning in the hotel making bookings for tonight, and waiting for Malcolm to call us back so we could make the arrangements for next weekend. We ended up calling him again and confirmed we are on for the following weekend, so booked the hotel in Penzance. We looked at travel options, and were shocked that the cheapest train fare was £98 return, each. We had a free bus ticket, and could use that, but it was 8 or 9 hours each way.

We decided to worry about getting to Penzance another day, we had been waiting around here for long enough. We drove to Lyme Regis, well known for its’ fossils. It is beautiful weather here today, and there are a lot of people about for the weekend. Navigating the narrow streets is a bit of a mission though. We find a park quite some distance from the beach, at least it seemed that way when we drove there, but we were pleased to find it wasn’t as far as we thought to walk back into town. We called in at the fossil shop, where there was so much on display it was difficult to decide what to get. We bought some small fossils from there (£13) and at the Crystal shop got a bead for Cynthea’s bracelet (£14).

The beach was quite steep at low tide, and covered in small round rocks. Tony picked up one and it had a couple of fossils in it, should have taken the other fossils back to the shop! High seas bring up fossils from the sea bed, so there is good fossil hunting after a storm.

We drove on to Portland, an island south of Weymouth. It seemed to take ages to get there, and we arrived just on dark. The hotel was difficult to find as directions from them were not that clear, and the sat nav wouldn’t work with no credit on Cynthea’s phone. We found ourselves at the top of the hill, and had to ask directions from a local because we knew we wouldn’t find it on our own.

Armed with new directions we finally found the Royal Breakwater and left the car in a 24/7 pay display car park while we checked in. We did not get a particularly warm or enthusiastic welcome – “Here are the keys, top floor, showers on that floor, breakfast 7-10.30, check out 10.30”. Someone (maybe the cook?) appeared from the bar to tell the person she had customers waiting (in the bar) – Tony felt like telling her we were customers too! We asked about car parking, and were told that there was only a few free parks in front of the hotel, and if we were in the pay and display park we would be clamped if we hadn’t paid. So we took our gear up to the room, and kept an eye out for someone to move from in front of hotel, then shifted the car. £35 for the night, included breakfast and free wi-fi. The room was ok, and better than we expected for the price.

There wasn’t a lot to do in the area, unless you drove some distance back to Weymouth, we didn’t even bother with the bar given the off hand reception we were given when we arrived. We have to have the car back in Cardiff by 3.30, and there are reports of serious delays on the M4 and M5, so we have an early night.

Getting back to Cardiff that late means we will not be able to get a bus/train until after 5pm, so we decided to spend the night in Cardiff. We booked in to NosDa again, £40 B&B. We get an email from Clare saying it is good to see us back, and she will be on night shift tomorrow. Also booked a bus to London on Monday, £20.50 for the two of us.

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