The Isle of Portland

I had not heard of the Isle of Portland until Ann and I looked it up on the map when she had to go to a meeting there last Saturday (April 24). It seemed like an inviting place to explore, so I loaded my bicycle on the car, and we headed south around 7:15 in the morning. 120 miles is a long way in England, even when you can do most of the trip on motorways. South through Basingstoke, Winchester, Southampton, the New Forest, Bournemouth, Dorchester and Weymouth, across a causeway and on to the island.

Ever heard of Portland stone or Portland cement? Has to be where the name came from because what they do is quarry limestone here---very high quality that is highly valued for sculpture and building purposes. There are still active quarries on the island. There is also a costal path that goes all the way around the island's dramatic coast line.

I had a lot of fun riding around all day and getting sunburned. Ann got to sit in meetings. We'll go back. See below for pictures of the island.





This wasn't on the Isle of Portland, but on the way there. Couldn't resist the heron standing on the roof, looking for fish in garden ponds.

Dramatic, rocky cliffs around virtually the entire island.

And a path that follows the coast.

The sign on the road said "Quarry". This rig was what I found---

along with a pretty sizable pile of rock on the nearby shoreline.

I came into view of this boat being lowered into the ocean with a block & tackle, with this man in the boat. I couldn't get my camera out fast enough to get that operation.

This was the crane used for the job.

Riding farther down the coastline path, I soon came in sight of the Portland Bill (see map).

Lighthouse, restaurant, and residence, and lots of bird watchers were what I found there.

Cycling back along the road I came across this prehistoric sight. Not much to see because the excavation wasn't open yet. Read the plaque, though. Interesting.

As I was sitting eating my lunch, I cast my eyes to the right, I spied someone climbing the rock face. There was a steady procession of climbers passing below me.

The climbers look like ants on the large boulders. It was a long way down to the beach.

This gull kept me company, eyeing my lunch. Fortunately, he/she didn't make a move, and posed very nicely.

A fisherman came by to check his nets.

And more climbers appeared on the rock faces---

Including one wearing sandals.

Viewing along the western side of the island to the mainland.

And on the eastern side, the harbor. You can board a ferry to the channel islands here.

You can also spend some time at the Young Offenders Institution, provided you meet their qualifications.

Tucked away in a cove are the ruins of a castle that belonged to Rufus, son of William the Conqueror, and a Norman church.

There's not much left of either building, but this doorway with its Norman arch, date it.

Beach huts populate the Queen's shore preserve.

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