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Dorset Group 17 Sep 20: Isle of Portland Circular Walk

On a bright but breezy day we split into 2 groups of 5 at the Olympic Rings Monument with its commanding views across Weymouth Bay. Heading east into the wind we passed the Verne High Angle Battery looking out over Portland Harbour with its 8 furloughed Cruise Ships.

Passing a group of Llamas out for exercise on the  East Weare Cliffs we descended the steep cliff path to reach the track of the former Weymouth-Portland Railway. Following the shoreline into Church Ope Cove with its remanats of Rufus Castle we took a refreshment break in the hidden remains of the 12th century church of St Andrews.

The route of the old coast path led us through stone piers, cranes and other quarry workings to the southern tip of the island at Portland Bill with its 3 lighthouses; where we lunched at either the Lobster Pot Cafe or the Pulpit Inn.

The return circuit along the leeward side of the island on narrow cliff paths yielded spectacular westerly views of Chesil Beach and the Jurassic Coast before diverting inland to Tout Quarry and the Sculpture Park displaying the work of local stonemasons.

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