Saturday 20 February 2016

Portland Bill

While we were visiting Weymouth recently, we decided to make the short drive down to Portland Bill and the infamous race and over falls to the south of the peninsular. When sailing we always make a course well to the south to avoid the turbulent waters. Looking out from land even on a relatively settled day I’m in no doubt it’s been a wise decision

There’s been a lighthouse on Portland Bill to warn shipping since 1716, the present one dating from 1906.

All around the island the remnants of quarrying can be seen, where Portland stone was extracted for the construction of many of the fine buildings in London.

The view from the top of the island looking north, in fact it’s not an island as it’s joined by permanent causeway and road. To the left is Chesil beach which runs away north west to West Bay and Lyme Regis and provides protection for the Fleet the protected stretch of water which loks like a river and is now a nature reserve. At top right is Weymouth and to the centre right, Portland harbour once home to the navy and now redeveloped as the UK National Sailing Academy.


  1. Though I have never set eyes on any of it, Portland Bill and it's treacherous overfalls live strong in my consciousness because of various stories over the years - one in particular involving the late Adlard Coles and his little Tumlare design yacht 'Zest' making a trip (If my memory serves me correctly) from Torquay to the Solent.

  2. Alden, basically you don't want to go there, I know there's an inside passage between the race and the rocky shore, but we've always gone wa-ay south to avoid it all, and even then we managed to get our 16 ton cutter surfing down some of the waves.

    I think there was an account in Cole More sailing Day's - great book.



  3. I know the name from Eric Hiscock's books. Some of his earliest adventures were in those waters and of a foggy night he was saved more than once by that light.


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