Welcome to Swanage Army Link.

The Swanage Army Link is a dynamic association that has evolved over nearly 30 years between the Swanage Railway, the British Army, the People of Swanage and the Royal British Legion.

Regular ongoing visits by the Royal Corps of Signals soldiers are core to this Link, as is Team Herston, formed in 2007, bringing together local residents and ex soldiers who work regularly on our core project – the upkeep of Herston Halt.

More recently we have been proud to welcome Heroes Haven into the fold.

Want to know more? See About the Army Link .

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Heroes Haven Donations

If you would like to make a donation to the Heroes Haven, please visit their site http://www.heroes-haven.org.uk (opens in a new window) and click on the 'Donate' link in the top right of the page.

Please enter SWCP as the reference.

SWCP:Day 29

D29. Fri 17 Jun. 473M. Dartmouth.

Once again the plan was to get up early, and get on with the task of the day. I woke at 05:30 and went through the photos on the phone deleting the ones that I did not want.

Much later, Jules, the heap on the floor of the £80 per night room stirred and I asked him to open the curtains and let me know what was happening outside. I’m sure he said it’s raining!

The task of the day (more walking) had been delayed, as breakfast was not until 09:00. I was happy with that as I could churn more stuff through the phone for the web, but Jules was increasingly frustrated by the wait.

We went to breakfast and were served excellent Full English, chatting with our hosts and also Mary who was visiting friends. There was all sorts of banter flowing, and much talk of the weather. It started to pour outside, and I said we could delay whilst I sent off a few more photos.

Jules was having none of it, and we left at about 09:50 during a lull in the rainfall. This actually lasted a couple of hours. We got down to the Ferry, and as Landlord Peter had stated, the captain of the little boat could be a bit lax in his timings, and although he should have left, he was actually just arriving. We hopped on, and as he took us to the dark side under the black cloud he took our photo too.

All I really remember was we made our way to Prawle Point is thinking on a number of points; my newly acquired boots that were not even 48 hrs old, the 23-mile route of the day and the impending weather. We were kept going by chat and comments about fellow walkers of the morning who all appeared to be in red, and with dogs. Progress was actually swift, and within two and a half hours we were at the Point and taking photos. We pushed on as the path gave way to boulders, and lumps of rock, which had all of the leg muscles working. We had not been allowed a tea break, so I forced the issue and we took shelter under trees and I boiled up the stream water just as the rain started. Clearly we were in for a sustained downpour, so we re-considered our route and made off for Hallsands. The rain was unrelenting.

We had done well and it was time for another tea break; this time with chocolate cake, and as we dumped out bags in the lobby of the Torcross café, and hung our coats on the chairs. puddles started to appear on the floor of the nice café. I called Robert, who sniggered “Is it raining over there” and then I’m sure the weather got worse. We made arrangements for one of the young waitresses to take a photo as we got bombed up and went outside into the elements. Unfortunately my phone was also full of water and the lens was all misty. Happily she took the shot of two grown men drenched, we turned to our right, remembered the 100s who fell at Slapton Sands in the WW2 allied practice beach assault which was intercepted by a German U-boat, and we dug out feet in for a few more miles.

By the time we reached Strete, it was easing off. We took a short break as Jules munched on some kind offering handed over by the landlady of the café (with a £5 donation for Heroes Haven). By now my feet were definitely feeling every step of the road. Most of the walk on this stretch was indeed road – with motor users usually very accommodating, and missing the puddles for us. Then there were others who were less so, or just downright miserable. We saw this large First double decker bus coming our way and so opted to get out of its path and jump up 2’ onto the grass verge – not even a by-your-leave!

Dartmouth was soon in sight. Jules had a trip down memory land, remembering the days before he became a Field Gun junkie, and undertook his Royal Navy Officer at Dartmouth, and I called Frank to ask where the hell was Victoria Road.

We bounced through the doors of the Seale Hotel, and the place contained Pauline and her two staff. She showed us round and offered the use of the drying room. Excellent! I got on with my usual first task when in plush accommodation – dobby. Washing ones’ smalls is not so easy in a tent, neither is showering, getting a good nights sleep, charging the phone or indeed shaving my head and all of these must be achieved before the next part of the Path.

Jules showered and rested his head on the bed which was 3 inches lower at one end than the other, and as I emerged from the bathroom with blood pouring off my burnt nose we were summonsed to the bar by Frank, who had his Holly in tow. Wet boots and nothing else to wear, I ventured into the now heaving bar with no footwear on. The locals must have thought me a tad weird, and AS I SPIED frank with some lady; I thought it must be Constance his wife. We got a beer and walked round to the other bar and I realised that the young lady was indeed Holly, who had grown so much in the last years since I had seen her last. She spoke so well, and we all caught up with recent news. They all went of to the comedy, and we retired to the room for a while before it was time to eat and went down to the Indian Restaurant next to the burnt out part of town.

Soon after arrival we got chatting to three Essex girls who were also supporters of the SWCP, and I overheard some bloke on the table on other side gobbing off about military types chatting up women. Fair enough. As the meal progressed he came out with more drivel before Jules engaged in conversation with the party of three. By the end of the night he was wishing us all the best, as I contemplated his classic suppressive behaviour!

We met Frank and his family at the Dolphin, passed some more tales for the rest of the evening, and I consoled Jules who was still gutted that his family had not been allocated any 2012 tickets; I promised that if I got one for the rowing, I would let him know!

 

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