The Year in Retrospect – 2018 Day 6

Durdle Door
Durdle Door taken from Swyre Head

There were a few significant things in the final quarter of the year which meant a bit of a change in my leisure time activities, and a need to rethink my habits.

Initially I was able to return to the wonderful Dorset Coast Path after my self imposed absence during the school holidays, and it was great, especially during the sunny weather. The picture above probably has a slightly unusual composition but I wanted to convey something of the spaciousness of the coast.

Cottage Beside the Track
Thatched cottage beside the path in Hardy country
Hardy Country
The pond on the heath

There were some great inland walks too, some taking in Thomas Hardy country. I love walking this part of the county and I always try to reach the heathland pond above at sunset. On this day, there was not even a breath of wind so the pond was like a mirror reflecting the autumn trees above……until a dog walker threw an untimely stick in for his dog to chase which rather spoiled the effect I was after.

After the harvest, a beautiful rural scene

One of the significant events was that I had a 70th birthday πŸ™‚ ! This prompted my doctor to do an ‘MOT’ on me which showed that, despite all the exercise I get, my cholesterol reading was slightly raised. It also made me think about heart condition and aerobic exercise – walking is great but it can’t really be described as ‘aerobic’, leastways, unless you are able to power walk or if you are climbing in the mountains.

At the same time, my ankles and knees started to give me some problems which meant that I needed to walk shorter distances on ground which was less uneven. Riverside paths are of course ideal for this.

The Gentle Softness of an Autumn Evening
Gentle autumn tones along the River Stour

I therefore changed my plans for the last part of the year and dusted my bike off again. I had been focussing on walking for most of the year but I decided that cycling at least once a week would benefit my heart and protect my ankles, whilst still allowing me to get out in the countryside πŸ™‚ !

Its That Season Again
Out on the bike again

I have continued with that plan for some three months now, flatter, shorter walks combined with longer bike rides and this seems to have helped my ankles and general fitness. There were of course some initial pains to overcome – a saddle to sort out so that my posterior did not constantly complain, hamstrings to get used to being stretched etc but all that seems to have now settled down.

Autumn shades on Lady Wimborne’s Bridge near Canford Magna

As I have said before, I try to make use of the winter months to get up to date with ‘chores’ so that in the warmer months and longer days I am freer to get out in the countryside so overall, this plan has worked out well. It was partly the flatness of the landscape that made me take trips around the Witchampton area, plus of course it is a part of Dorset that I love.

Sunset in the Pastures
The flatter landscape around Witchampton

And harbourside walks too are usually flatter and therefore easier of the joints.


Despite the longest walk being around 10 miles only, the end of the year has been a great time. Weekly bike rides of up to 50/60 miles have continued and have been really enjoyable despite the wet and often muddy country lanes.

Overall, 2018 has been another awesome year when I have covered 1,800 miles on foot and two wheels.Β So, what are my plans for 2019? Well, I will talk about those next time πŸ™‚ !

Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time,
Your friend
The Dorset Rambler

If you would like to contact me,Β my email address is – comments and feedback are always welcomed.

All words and pictures in this blog are the copyright of The Dorset Rambler and may not be reproduced without permission.



  1. Lovely pictures. I hope the bike helps protect your ankles, although it is your knees I am concerned about when I look at the evocative picture of chestnuts. πŸ™‚

  2. Beautiful landscape. Wish you a wonderful and healthy New Year.
    Don’t you like to do some light weight training or swimming ? maybe it’s better than walking. πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks Dimitri. I have started to think about other things I can do, like kayaking for instance, but I’m hoping to prolong my trekking activities for a while yet πŸ™‚ Happy New Year to you too.

  3. I have not ridden a bike on roads in many years. But I have one of those daft exercycle things and am making myself use it more often.
    Thank you for all your entertaining posts. They are always much enjoyed. Good wishes and good health for the coming year.

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