Rollerblading on the Rodwell Trail

ROLLERBLADE on the Esplanade? You must be joking. It’s all dug up for the Weymouth Transport Package.

The Rodwell Trail, a two-mile-long stretch of tarmac, snakes along the coastline over what used to be the railway line linking Weymouth to Portland, from Asda to Ferrybridge.

I park at the new builds at Whitehead Drive, former site of a 19th-century torpedo factory. Through a gap in suburban shrubbery, the smell of salt hits me in the face. I step through onto the Rodwell Trail and next to it is Portland Harbour, hiding behind a curtain of rushes.

The skates have been wintering in the attic for six months. Tightening knee pads and wrist guards, I wobble off, hoping not to mow down any toddlers or dogs.

It’s tough taking photos on eight wheels, but I’m captivated by the Cornishware blue of the sea. The tide is low as I whizz down to the crumbling Sandsfoot Castle, built by Henry VIII to withstand attacks from the Continent. Below tinkle the masts of Castle Cove Sailing Club. I could wait forever for a seagull to fly into the frame.

The Rodwell Trail is ideal for skating – long, smooth stretches of tarmac, with only slight inclines. (Extremely tough on the thighs though, and hours later, my bum is still aching).

Soon, the railway arches hove into view, along with still recognisable platforms and halts.

Hedges give way to tree-lined verges, in fact it’s all getting rather foresty at the edges.

On the way back, I keep trying to snatch pictures of Portland brooding in the distance. It’s beautiful, but this being Weymouth, the path is studded with the occasional greenie, or abandoned pram.

Despite the early spring sunshine, there’s not many people about. Cyclists ping their bells, an old lady laughs ‘be careful’, and a dog whines, confused, then barks as I wheel past.

Finally, I get a photo of Portland looking grey and misty. Thankfully, I flop on a bench and unstrap the skates from my aching feet. Think I’ve just skated two miles. Ow.


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