50km and 1000m in Dorset

Following closely on from my 6┬ádays in Washington DC was a week in Dorset, near Corfe Castle, on holiday with family. The weather didn’t play ball too much earlier in the week, but nonetheless my brother-in-law is getting himself back into running and hence provided a good running companion for much of the week.

I managed exactly 50km in Washington, without a huge amount of elevation, but in Dorset, and in particular near the Purbeck Way, a ridge-way of a “Way”, I managed to climb over 1000m in elevation. I usually struggle to make Strava’s climbing challenge, and indeed on arriving on holiday I was 400m short with just a few days left, but I managed to pass 1500m for the month of March within the first three days of the holiday.

On the first night we ran with a huge torch as being in the countryside, it’s a bit dark in the night. We were staying in a place called Harman’s Cross, which as the name suggests, it set out in a cross-shape reflecting a cross roads. The main road goes from Corfe Castle to Swanage, and the road crossing it goes into the hills on either side of the valley we were in.


As you can see if you follow the above link, we ran a cross shape almost perfectly, and we did this on Good Friday, the day that Christians celebrate the death of Jesus on a Cross.

Following on from this, the next morning we went out to run along the coast from Langton Matravers to a lighthouse near Swanage.


This was an epic run in so many ways, as the weather was foul, with high winds (Storm “Katie” was on its way in), and a very challenging terrain on the best of days, running through fields and up and down narrow pathways along the cliffs. It also involved a huge amount of elevation, over 200m for a 9km run. It was great fun though, really enjoyable and refreshing.

The next morning we headed out up the hill towards the Purbeck Way, the ridgeway above where we were staying, and once we got to the top we turned left to run towards Corfe Castle. The views on the top were fantastic, 360 degree panoramas for many miles around, and as we got nearer to Corfe Castle, a great view of the castle from above.


We ran down the hill at Corfe Castle and came back along a back road that skirts the Purbeck Way. This road turned out to be probably more hilly than going up the ridge, as it undulates so much. Good challenge though, and running narrow country lanes is great provided cars don’t come along unexpectedly…

The next two runs were on my own, two 6km routes I’d devised to keep myself out of trouble with the wife. I thought the first was quite hilly, going up to the back road mentioned in the last run, but it turned out this was nothing compared to the hill on the second run, up towards Worth Matravers.



Our last run, on the last evening, was truly the epic run of the week, and one of my most enjoyable runs ever – enjoyable for different reasons than the House of Cards Half Marathon. We ran up to the Purbeck Way again, but turned right rather than left, towards Swanage, and in particular towards our final destination of Studland, via Old Harry, a coastal stack. The run was timed to perfection as the sun was setting as we ran along, and it set just as we finished in Studland, having got some great photos at Old Harry. It was another hilly run, but somehow when you know the view is going to be awesome once you make it, that makes the hill a bit less hard work. In places it was seriously steep, reaching an incline of near 20%.


So, 51.9km to be precise, and 1018m in elevation gain (that includes an extra short run with the wife one evening). A great week, and I’m increasingly enjoying my running as it gives the opportunity to get out and about when otherwise we might sit around in the house doing nothing. I feel refreshed this week, back at work, even despite not getting as much sleep as I might whilst away due to deciding to go running.