– – – EXPLORING THE COUNTRYSIDE AND LANES OF DORSET – – –
The second Dorset hill that we are looking at this week is the beautiful Golden Cap, an icon of Dorset’s Jurassic Coast that sits between Bridport and Charmouth.
Golden Cap is very distinctive because of its flat top and its golden coloured cap, both of which you can see in the distance in the picture above. It takes its name from the golden coloured sandstone which tops it and which in fact stretches all the way down from the Cotswolds.
The headland is recognisable for miles whether you approach from the east or west and it is the highest point on the south coast of Britain, rising to 191 meters (627 feet) above sea level. To climb it takes effort as the sides are steep but the views from the top are spectacular and make the effort worth while.
As a ‘local lad’ I backpack the Dorset coast regularly and it is always a joy to climb to the top of Golden Cap and then take a rest to drink in the amazing views. It is hard climbing up with a 20kg pack on, but it is equally hard dropping down the other side, especially if you are going to drop all the way down to the beach at St Gabriel’s Mouth. This remote beach is in itself worth a visit although it is more usual to continue along the coast path to Charmouth and Lyme Regis.
This part of the Dorset coast is truly magnificent and is always rewarding to walk. If the Jurassic Coast was a crown, then surely Golden Cap must be one of the main jewels!
I mentioned in my previous post that there were categories of hills and mountains, so where does Golden Cap fit in with that? Well it is in fact a TuMP! What does that mean? Well a TuMP is a hill that has a prominence of thirty meters i.e. that rises at least thirty meters above its immediate surroundings. The acronym doesn’t actually work very well because it means literally Thirty Meters Prominence……so the letter ‘u’ doesn’t actually stand for anything. In fact, the letter ‘u’ is only there because of the next category of hills up which are HuMP’s (Hundred Meters Prominence). I said it wasn’t an exact science 🙂 ! Anyway, more about HuMP’s and TuMP’s etc in tomorrow’s post 🙂 !
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