Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Soggy, mystical, ancient Britain

I've just returned from a holiday on the Jurassic Coast- six hours driving back with a two hour detour at Stonehenge. As you can see from the photos, sun was in scarce supply and fossil hunting in the pouring cold rain takes grit and determination, not to mention a strong constitution. What a wonderful time I had though! Simply extraordinary. I learned things I didn't know and found a 190 million year-old fossil on Charmouth beach- more of which I will share later in a separate post. The story of how I found the fossil is fascinating. Even more strange is sharing a table in a restaurant with a paleontologist who was on a hot date with his new girlfriend but patiently went through all my finds and explained what they were- more on that later too...but consider this, what exactly are the odds of finding a paleontologist when you need one?

I LOVE this country in all its soggy glory. A stodgy pasty never tastes as good as when eaten in the rain while staring at a grey, foamy sea.

Stonehenge was interesting but the hordes of tourists ruined it for me. Any chance of connecting with some ancient mysticism wasn't going to happen while little Charlie was screeching about wanting a wee. The English Heritage staff were all surly and unfriendly and frankly I could have saved the £17.50 entrance fee by ignoring the signs and driving past along a side road. I would have seen Stonehenge in the distance only but I would have been spared the interminable wait to buy a ticket then once inside, another wait for a shuttle bus to deliver us at the stones and then back again. Security was extremely tight and my bag was searched and I was scanned on arrival. PS It is estimated that 100 men would have had enough strength to move each of the stones below.

Stonehenge. Photo copyright SvD.

Charmouth Beach, Dorset. Photo copyright SvD. This beach is rated as one of the best places to find fossils. Do wear comfortable, heavy soled shoes as there are rocks (not stones or pebbles) on this beach. You might want to throw your shoes away afterwards as the tarry black rock sediment is impossible to clean off. You can keep what you find but it is forbidden to dig for fossils. A museum full of fossils and things you didn't even know existed is on the beach. A really GREAT experience.

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