Saturday, 23 May 2009

Four go mad in Dorset

Just back from a nice holiday in Dorset with Mrs S and the in-laws. The high point for me was finally getting to visit Bovington Tank Museum only fifteen years after first expressing a desire to go. We did get to Monkey World next door once when the kids were small which is not quite the same thing.

The Mark I tank was smaller than I thought

Like many men I have a grim fascination with these machines and to see them up close and be able to touch them was quite an experience. I enjoyed seeing the tanks built in period up to the end of World War II but the more recent examples in the museum made me feel a little uncomfortable. The museum is well worth a visit – we were there for 3 hours and only really saw about a third of it.

The Tiger tank was bigger than I thought

My second favourite destination of the week was Maiden Castle, which is a massive Iron Age hill fort just outside Dorchester. We’ve driven past it many times over the years but this was our first trip on foot. We went on a sunny day but at the top of the hill there was a force 10 gale blowing. Undeterred Mrs S and I managed to walk the entire circuit of the rampart, which must have been over a mile in circumference.

One of the ditches at Maiden Castle. These things are huge and you can’t really get a sense of scale from this photo.

Interestingly, on the very top of the hill just as I was starting to absorb the atmosphere and imagine the place populated with Ancient Britons, Mrs S announced that she had great reception on her iPhone. This enabled her to complete several transactions on her eBay shop from the top of a scheduled monument.

Corfe Castle from base-camp

And finally, number three for the week was Corfe Castle. We had been there before but quite how we struggled up the hill to the Keep with a pushchair, toddler and baby escapes my memory. The view from the top is great and there are enough ruins left to make it worth the climb. Most of the walls show evidence of the attempts by Cromwell’s men to blow the place up at the end of the Civil War – they didn’t succeed completely but they didn’t do a bad job either.

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