Ticket To Ride

MY BUS to work leaves Weymouth Bay at 7.10am and gets to Bridport one hour later.

Motorists probably cringe at this commute – but I challenge anyone to come up with a more beautiful way to start the day, as the X53 rattles through seaside towns and meanders up the coast road.

The sun twinkles a pathway over the sea each morning. A lone tractor flattens the golden sands for the grockles to kick up, and the crows peck in its wake. The Punch and Judy hut sidles away as we turn past the Jubilee Clock and trundle down King Street.

Normally, at this time of day, two other passengers constitute a crowd on the top deck of this bus. So there’s never a fight for the coveted front seats – or panoramic views.

We head out of Weymouth towards Chickerell. (There’s always something different to marvel over as we rock and roll towards the Langton Herring turn-off. For instance: who owns the small plane I once saw, parked in a field next to a house near the Valentine Boarding Kennels?)

Horses swish their tails as we speed along. A foal drinks from her mother. Hardy’s Monument falls and rises in the distance, atop an undulating patchwork of green. We rumble past the gracious Portland stone homes of Portesham. St Catherine’s Chapel heaves into view over a field of Friesians.

A pair of tiny Shetland ponies blink back their fringes as we shudder to a halt outside the Swan Inn in Abbotsbury. Here, the thatched cottages are a lovely warm honey colour. Nodding fuchsias hang from baskets below latticed windows.

We swing past the turning for the Sub-Tropical Gardens and the horizon tilts as we strain up the hill. The Fleet lagoon glows lilac behind golden cornfields. Dotted white sheep are scattered over ancient barrows. Gorse straggles, foxgloves rear up. The sea is the same colour as pigeon wings. Frightened rabbits, mottled and sandy like the dry grass, streak away from us as we clatter past. Hares, pheasant, deer start away.

A buzzard sits, impassive, on a telegraph pole across a field of cows and curled-up calves. And now, Lyme Bay stretches out, out, out.

Higher and higher we climb, far above the jagged hemline of Chesil, almost to the coastguard cottage at Puncknowle teetering on the brow of the hill.

There’s a small herd of alpacas looking ever so serene next to the Sea Fret B&B. Then we begin our descent into Swyre.

Dry stone walls can’t seem to hold back the pastures from tumbling into the sea. Holiday parks and fields full of donkeys flash past before we arrive in Burton Bradstock.

Sitting at the top of the double decker makes me the same height as the thatched roofs, taller than the willows bending over the River Bride.

Before we know it, we’re taking the narrow lane up to West Bay. There’s a teepee at the Britt Valley Campground. Only the odd dog walker and pram stirs around the tiny harbour.

And so into into Bridport. Seagulls squawk. In a field opposite the Palmers Wine Store are scores of rabbits.

We pass the lovely ramshackle welter of indy galleries and boutiques and awesome honey stone of St Marys. There’s just time for me to catch a glimpse of Colmers Hill before I jump off the bus at Frosts the newsagents, ready to start the working day. All for the price of a £4.70 return ticket. Bargain!

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2 thoughts on “Ticket To Ride

  1. I too find this an incredible journey. The same route back from Bridport is even more spectacular (I reckon) because of the different angles on the views – especially looking down to the lakes in the shingle on the edge of The Fleet. I imagine your journey was disrupted by the snow recently – but you can’t avoid the raindrop on the glass.

    Wonderful, celebratory post.

    Esther Montgomery

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