A pleasantly hilly journey through a verdant swathe of Dorset brought us to West Bay; the tiny fishing community surrounding Bridport Harbour.
It hadn’t been my intention to come here, however my kayak caddy/TV enthusiast girlfriend was desperate to find the location of the television drama ‘Broadchurch’ and the forbidding cliffs, ‘where someone got murdered’.
Much to my obvious disappointment, we didn’t meet David Tennant, or Doctor Whoever; we didn’t even sample the ‘Broadchurch Burger’ offered by a local eatery.
We did go to the beach though, which is spectacular. Dwarfed by sheer columns of sandstone like giant’s ankles, we rested on the toes for a while. I was a little concerned by the number of large boulders lying around, clearly thrown from the sky.
To the west, the coast also feels quite temporary. Hardy plants cling to the rocks as waves thud the shore, the undertow sucking away the shingle with a hiss.
I came prepared with my stand up paddleboard and had planned some surfing or generally paddling about, however as low tide approached, the wind had increased to a force 4/5 and I felt it was wiser to stay on the beach, given my lack of experience in rough conditions.
The West Dorset coast can be a hostile environment. The seabed shelves steeply into deep water and the surf is dumped on the sand with a quite frightening ferocity.
The hump-backed Isle of Portland rose like a whale from the shimmering sea, far away at the tail of Chesil Beach.