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Photographer's Note

Taken yesterday near to sunset on the Jurassic Coast after learning a valuable lesson about the sea. Before taking this shot, my wife and I went for a walk around the base of the cliffs near Kimmeridge. I knew this area gets cut off by the sea at high tide, so planned our trip around this. High tide was about 6.30pm and we would be back long before at around 4pm. I'm sure you can guess what happened!!

We wandered about 2.5 miles down the coast at the base of the cliffs - an incredible walk with such beautiful scenery. The horizontal rock ledges are literally full of fossils - we counted probably hundreds of ammonites as we walked. We rounded a couple of small cliff outcrops and then had a picnic on the shore. I was ever watchful of the tide, but it was about 300 feet away from us, so I thought we were fine. How wrong we were! When we decided to head back we were suddenly shocked at how different the coastline around which we had just walked seemed to be, so we quickened our steps, knowing that with the tide coming in this fast we might get cut off at one of the cliff outcrops. When we reached the first outcrop our hearts sank - the sea was all around the cliff base and rising with every minute. I found a tiny ledge on the cliff and started to climb around but straightaway slipped on the wet rocks and slid into the water. Knowing we didnt have a choice we stepped into the water (which thankfully wasnt that cold!) and began to wade around the cliff edge, as waves splashed up around our legs. We managed to get around the first headland and back onto the shore, at which point we started to hurry with a real sense of urgency knowing that we still had 3 more headland outcrops to get around with ever rising tide. The next one again had the sea at its base, so again we carefully waded through, this time with deeper water up to our thighs. Again we got through and back to dry shore, and after one more wade we started to make quick progress. But I knew that the final outcrop right by Kimmeridge Bay also gets cut off by high tide so we couldnt afford to slow down. We dashed over the rocks all the way back and were thankful that the final headland was dry. Phew!!

A real lesson learned there. Being mainly a coastal photographer Im always concious of the tide and wouldnt just venture out without knowing something about what the tide is doing. Yet, I was still completely unprepared for how quickly the tide approached us here. I think because Kimmeridge has horiztonal rocky ledges that stretch far into the sea it gives a false sense of security that you have plenty of time. But in reality, with the ledges being so flat the tide only needs to rise by a few cm's and will come in quickly.

I'm sure nobody on here is as naive as me, but please take this as a word of warning if you do go round that coast at Kimmeridge - its quite deceptive how quickly the tide rises.

Luckily I didnt have my camera backpack and tripod with me or I think I would have been in serious trouble. Not only would I have lost track of the time as I took photos, but also it would have been much more difficult getting back with the kit.

After such an adventure, I was determined to get some photos on the Dorset coast that evening. So we headed to the wonderful Pondfield Cove, and knowing that I had a safe escape route, I grabbed a couple of shots as the sun descended.

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Additional Photos by Adam Burton (AdamBurton) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 65 W: 3 N: 1118] (8585)
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