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As most of summer seems to have rushed by in haze of work and rain then a short break seemed like a good idea. After January's trip when we failed to get to Brownsea Island then a return trip to Dorset seemed like a good idea. We chose Swanage to stay in this time and found a B&B on the north end of the beach. On the first day we drove over to Studland and parked at the National Trust Car Park at the end by the chain ferry. We caught the ferry over to Sandbanks and the boat to Brownsea leaves from just by the ferry slip. I still want to work on the ferry, even after 33 years. On the island we visited the nature reserve run by the Dorset Wildlife Trust and spent some time in the hides. We saw terns and spoonbills. The picture to the right shows one of the avocets that we saw. However, we didn't see any red squirrels. In Berlin they were everywhere and were used to people, these ones were much more nervous.

As well as the feathered birds we saw one other very rare bird. We were treated to a flyby of the only flying Vulcan bomber. It had been displaying at the Bournemouth Air Festival and its exit route out took it over Brownsea Island.

The next day we went for a walk from Swanage to Corfe. We walked from the town centre to the bridleway that goes up Nine Barrows Down. This is part of the line of the Purbeck Hills and runs all the way to Corfe. The ridge extends beyon Corfe and the castle sits in the gap. The ridge of the down is a natural walk with superb views on either side. We were lucky with the weather with a lot of sunshine. As you walk towards Corfe you first get a view of the castle in the distance. As you get closer it gets bigger until you are suddenly standing opposite the castle and seeing it from a different angle. It is an impressive castle from any angle but this view was particlularily good, maybe because it was a new one.

After lunch we had a quick wander round the castle. We have been a number of times but we never tire of going around the castle. Rather than walking back to Swanage we caught the steam train. Here is a view of the train leaving Corfe for Norden. We went the other way back to Swanage on a later train. One of the steam locomotives failed and so we were treated to the sight of a diesel working the line. The weather played its ace here, it started to rain just as we boarded the train, not bad considering the weather that we have had all summer.