Diesel Unit waits at Corfe Castle Station

We slowed down a bit today as we are within reach of one of our prime objectives – the Swanage Railway. We filled up the water tank again this morning as there was a handy tap within reach of Bertie without turning a wheel. Our route today just takes us to a park and ride by Corfe Castle so we had time for a short detour in to the edge of Bournemouth to see if we could find the house where Eileen’s great aunts lived and where she stayed for holidays as a child. We found it and Eileen tooks some piccies. Then it was onwards to the Norden Park and Ride just beyond Wareham. Sadly this rather fine car park closes at 6pm and does not allow overnight parking which is a great shame as it would make a super stopover.

We bought our tickets and got on the old DMU (diesel multiple unit) that was just like the ones that ran up and down the East Suffolk line when we first moved to Wenhaston. However we alighted at the next station (Corfe Castle Station) to watch the steam train come through and then wait for it to return and take us to Swanage. Surprisingly that train was very busy and it was not easy to find a seat so we paid an extra  £1 each to upgrade to the very swish first class carriage. It was a lovely run from Corfe to Swanage with great views and countryside and the train took us right into the heart of the town as  Swanage station is only one street back from the main sea front.

Swanage
Swanage

We had the best part of a day ahead of us and treated our selves to lunch on the sea front. As it was nearly high tide our table on the edge of the promenade was directly above the gently slapping waves. Having eaten rather too much we walked along the sea front up to pier and then back to the gardens by the bathing beach. We had plenty of time and the sun was shining and the view was wonderful. We actually did very little and mainly just sat and gazed out across the harbour watching the boats, and paddle boarders falling off their boards (what a silly way to enjoy the water!), the dogs retreiving sticks and the hardy souls bathing. Although a little hazy we could see Bournemouth and Poole in one direction and straight out to sea we could just make out the Needles on the far west end of the Isle of Wight

The steam train took us smoothly back to Bertie in good time for us to vacate the car park at 6pm. Just a short drive to a wild camping spot I had found at the foot of Maiden Castle. This corker was on the Park4night app and there were several recent reports from motorhomers who had stayed there. The car park is owned and run by English Heritage and is the access point for the famous, huge iron age hill fort.

Bertie parked at Maiden Castle seen from the ramparts.
Bertie parked at Maiden Castle seen from the ramparts.

What a spot that proved to be – right at the foot of the hill with the great hill fort looming above us. Eileen was tired after our day in the sun at Swanage but I just had to get up that hill and followed the path that started by Bertie up on the highest of the three ramparts and followed it around to elaborate earth works at the entrance at the western end and returned down the main path. What a spot to spend the night!

Mileage reading tonight: 120291kms
Mileage reading at home: 119740kms
Mileage today: 91kms
Mileage total:   565kms
Steaming to Swanage