Warm Swanage welcome lifts the blues for UK coast walker

Generous Swanage families made a real impression on round the UK coast walker Blue Wilson when her 11,000 mile journey took her into Purbeck.

Blue arrived in Wareham on Friday 16th February 2024 and spent her weekend walking more than 100,000 steps around Arne and Studland Heath via Corfe Castle – due to flooding – before tackling the leg from Shell Bay through Swanage and onto the South West Coast Path.

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BLUE WILSON

A walk to the end of Swanage Pier was a highlight of Blue’s weekend Purbeck trek

Boost for fund raising effort

Although Blue Wilson, a 49 year old groundskeeper, had wanted to finish her latest adventure in Kimmeridge, the muddy terrain and failing light slowed her down considerably on the cliff top paths.

But with 2,700 miles of her UK walk now complete, Blue was delighted with the warm reception she received in Purbeck – especially as generous well wishers who met her over the weekend pushed her fund raising effort for marine conservation charities through the halfway mark for 2024.

Blue has set an annual target of £4,000 to help Surfers Against Sewage and Sea-Changers, who have helped fund more than a hundred projects to enhance Britain’s coastline including a grant for Litter Free Purbeck.

BLUE WILSON

In Shell Bay at the start of a leg from Studland through Swanage to Worth Matravers

Hoping to complete trek in five years

People who stopped and talked to her while she was walking through Studland and Swanage made spontaneous donations – including one of £100 – which took her total for the year to £2,025 as of Monday 19th February 2024.

Blue has spent all of her time off work in the last two years walking sections of the coastline from the north coast of Scotland, and when she resumes her journey it will be the 150th day of her trek.

She had hoped to complete the adventure inside five years – but as she is now looking to cover Northern Ireland as well as every island in the UK, she feels that it might end up taking a lot longer, and the 11,000 mile journey could increase to 19,000 miles.

BLUE WILSON

Blue said that Britain’s coastal scenery was so varied and beautiful that she wanted to see it all!

Aware of threats to the coast

Blue Wilson said:

“I am having to take on this challenge in stages due to my work commitments, and hope to complete as much as I can at a time.

“During my treks I have become increasingly aware of the threats to our oceans, marine life, coastal communities and climate.

“I have seen first hand some of the great work my chosen charities have done and I want to help by contributing as much as possible to their future projects – hopefully, £20,000 for each charity by the end of the challenge.

“I’ve always been a keen walker and environmentalist, and I’ve completed several long distance footpaths, but when I was walking the Cleveland Way I was so amazed by the scenery of the coast that I decided I wanted to do the whole country.”

BLUE WILSON

Flooded footpaths meant a detour past Corfe Castle on the way to Studland

Fell in love with RSPB Arne

Having set off from Southampton on a half-term break from her job in Selby, North Yorkshire, Blue passed through Sandford and Wareham on her way to Ridge.

She took an unplanned walk around RSPB Arne, as she had fallen in love with the scenery having seen it on the recent BBC Winterwatch series.

But flooded footpaths on the way to Studland Heath – with one stream she had to cross looking to be waist deep – she detoured via Corfe Castle and the B3351 to Studland.

BLUE WILSON

The start of the South West Coast Path, a route Blue has always wanted to explore

“Always been my dream to walk this trail”

Blue Wilson said:

“It may not have been the best weather, but it was so amazing to reach the start of the South West coast path, it’s always been my dream to walk this famous long distance trail and I’ve talked about it for years.

“I am dedicating this part of my UK coastline walk to a dear friend in Devon who sadly passed away before Christmas.

“This section will take me through places that hold a lot of memories and will be emotional at times, and I hope I can do my friend proud as I embark on one of the most notoriously challenging sections of coastline!”

As it turned out, with wet clay underfoot and more rain never far away, Blue only managed 18 miles on her Sunday trek, which meant she had to cut short her intended route at Worth Matravers as the light faded.

BLUE WILSON

Rounding Durlston Castle to begin her journey along the Jurassic Coast

Muddy paths made the journey hard

Blue Wilson added:

“The first part was a gorgeous walk along Shell Beach to Old Harry rocks. A few dog walkers were out and I chatted to some friendly people curious about my challenge and who went on to make a donation.

“After taking in Swanage and visiting the beautiful pier, Durlston Castle and Anvil Point lighthouse, the muddy conditions really kicked in.

“Each step forward was followed by a foot sliding back and I nearly fell several times, slipping uncontrollably on the quagmire like trails. With arms, walking pole and legs flailing I’m sure I looked very comical!”

BLUE WILSON

Steep steps and slippery mud made the going difficult along the coast path

Hoping the weather will be better

Blue Wilson added:

“It really is a beautiful walk, but with the conditions at the weekend and having just managed to reach the top of some obscenely steep steps, the five miles I had left to reach Kimmeridge was likely to take four hours.

“I made the decision to peel off at the bottom of the steps and head for Worth Matravers, where I stopped at the Square and Compass for a celebratory pint of Dorset cider!

“It will mean a slightly longer first day’s walk to do next time I’m down here to make up for my not making it to Kimmeridge, but it’s the first time this has happened and I’ll try not to let it get to me!”

With the next legs of her journey scheduled for Scotland and the Orkney islands, Blue is likely to resume her Purbeck challenge in July – and is hoping the weather will be much better then!

BLUE WILSON

A pint of Dorset cider at the Square and Compass pub, Worth Matravers, to finish off an exhausting weekend

Further information

  • Follow Blue’s adventures on her Facebook page

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