Zamberlan design products for ALL outdoor enthusiasts… if you’re into walking long distance on the coastal path, hiking mega trails, climbing high mountains, or conquering that shear rock face… then they have something for you atZamberlan
If you want the latest technology, good quality, reliable performance, ultimate comfort and design then look no further……..Zamberlan consider all of these to be a priority. They use the best materials on the market and take the upmost care in their manufacturing. They continually make large investments on research, developing new moulds, materials and speciality soles.
With this ethos of business, they are second to none…
Zamberlan’s 2017 collection consists of 8 ranges of products, these are sub-divided into models and colours.
ALPINE… Boots in this category are specifically for high level mountaineering and are designed for use on high level routes, glaciers, ice climbing and when dry tooling. They are lasted to provide a precise fit with maximum sensitivity. They feature single piece uppers, premium HYDROBLOC® leathers, tough hardware, stiff midsoles and the reliable VIBRAM® outersoles. These boots can also be used with a variety of crampons… the exact choice of crampon will depend on their intended use.
ALPINE APPROACH… The mountain approach shoes are hybrid footwear that have features common with hiking boots and climbing shoes. They are designed to be comfortable when walking long distances like hiking boots. Sturdy and durable, they have multi uses.
CLIMBING… These climbing shoes are engineered to perfection… combining materials with different features it ensures a precise fit. Providing the user with great comfort and sensitivity, it’s easy to pick out the small footholds effectively when climbing. They are designed to be comfortable when climbing long routes outdoors and to cope with prolonged training indoors.
ICONA… This product range is produced with traditional construction methods. Only skilled craftsman have the knowledge and skill required to make these resilient boots and shoes. They are strong, durable and reliable. Built with top quality materials they are a special addition to the Zamberlan range.
BACKPACKING… These boots are specifically designed to deliver comfort and support during long treks, while carrying heavy loads. They are very resilient, sturdy and stable… they can cope with all terrains and weather conditions. Built with high performance midsoles they are stiff enough to give the support required on rough terrain. Combined with high grip soles and cushioning systems, they offer great comfort and performance and are designed to last.
TRAIL HIKING… The trail hiking collection are extremely comfortable. The rugged low and mid-cut shoes are suitable for light trail hiking or everyday use. With specific lasts and lightweight soles they fit perfectly offering the user plenty of cushioning and support.
SPEED HIKING… Speed hiking shoes are lightweight, dynamic and ideally suited for walking in the mountains or in the city. They feature components for running, hiking and Nordic walking and can be enjoyed at any pace over any distance. They are sturdy, comfortable, lightweight and guarantee the user the performance level required when needed. All the shoes in this range are equipped with VIBRAM® outsoles. This ensures the best grip on different terrain.
KIDS… Created for kids, they are designed to satisfy their needs ensuring great comfort, functionality and protection. With the use of high quality materials, GORE-TEX® linings and specific lasts that provide stability and flexibility. They are perfect for long walks giving great comfort and durability.
Zamberlan have more than 80 years of experience in manufacturing top of the range mountain boots. They stand out as one of the world leaders and innovators of unique technical developments. These have been put in place during strict manufacturing processes over the years. Whilst continually updating their machinery, Zamberlan continue to produce contemporary looking boots. With exclusive and specific methods of construction, Zamberlan are internationally known and have earned long lasting trust from world leading companies such as VIBRAM® and GORE-TEX® .
One of the latest developments is the new carbon fibre ‘Insole’ for the Alpine Range. This gives great improvement to the performance of their technical mountaineering boots. The sole is 4 times stiffer with the carbon fibre reinforcement, giving greater reliability and durability. At the same time reducing the overall weight and increasing the thermal properties of the boot.
Another development from Zamberlan is the ‘Norwegian’ and the ‘Goodyear’ welted technology that is used across the ‘ICONA’ range. This technology requires skilled people with knowledge and experience as it features two lines of specialist stitching. ‘Norwegian’ is used on the boots making them stronger, flexible and highly durable. They can also be easily re-soled. ‘Goodyear’ is used on the shoes making them softer, very flexible and extremely comfortable from the minute you wear them.
With such a diverse range Zamberlan continually provide support to the outdoor enthusiast. Manufacturing boots and shoes that are designed to deliver the whole package…’in our opinion’ it makes sense to invest in a product you can rely on. Visit Zamberlan to find out more about their full range.
When I think of a master craftsman I have this image of a mature cobbler standing there wearing a thick tarnished leather apron working with traditional tools. I imagine them manufacturing the boots to the best of their ability with perfection being their up most goal.
At Zamberlan the handmade boots go through this exact process. You sense their craftsmen have been making boots for them for years. There’s nothing more satisfying then knowing that your boots have had a human eye check and follow them through every part of their manufacturing process… from the first cut of leather, to the closure of the lid on the box… it’s the way you become a specialist in your field. It’s what makes you an artisan.
Giuseppe Zamberlan was the company’s founder and a ‘master craftsman’ in his own right. Like anyone who loves the outdoors he had a passion for ‘his’ local mountain range, the Piccole Dolomiti. After starting a cobbler business in 1929 he took the traditional Italian craft of making shoes, he applied modern manufacturing processes and managed to make a commercially viable footwear production line. This was achieved without sacrificing the benefits from hand making techniques. Giuseppe’s dream was to produce better and more reliable products. He also supported the revolutionary ideas of Vitale Bramani… he was the founder of Vibram®. After working together on ideas and with many days testing in the mountains they created the sole of ‘the future’… this would later replace the existing ones. Through his passion he created the company that we know today.
An orginal pair of old hand made boots
Selection of orginal hand tools
Some original tools and a pair of old handmade Zamberlan boots.
In 1970 Giuseppe’s son Emilio took his father’s place and started the process of taking the company from being just a local manufacturer to becoming a recognized company internationally. Emilio realised he needed to break into the export market and began to travel in order to find other customers to sell his boots. Within three years and with a move to better premises at Pievebelvicino. (at the foot of The Mini Dolomites) Zamberlan had successfully broken into the markets of Japan and the UK.
Emilio continued his work and with more innovative ideas such as the MULTIFLEX and BIFLEX midsoles introduced in 1983, the HYDROBLOC® tanning technique that improves the waterproofness of the leather in 1985 and the development of an exclusive sole with the company Vibram® called BIMESCOL in 1988. With these innovations he took Zamberlan to a whole new level of quality and usability. With the introduction of a quick production line the boots became a favourite in the domestic market and wider Europe.
‘DISCOVER THE DIFFERENCE’ became the company’s ethos in 1990 and during the following two years they’d entered the US market and began to produce boots with the revolutionary GORE-TEX® membrane.
In 1999 the decision was made to double the size of the factory and by 2002 Marco and Maria Zamberlan… the third generation, become involved in the general management of the company. They continue to introduce new innovative ideas, but maintain a respect for the company’s tradition. Like their grandfather and father they have a great passion for the outdoors. Hiking, climbing and mountaineering for their own pleasure gives them the opportunity to test out new ideas and new products.
In 2008, Zamberlan founded its own climbing association (AZA-Associazione Zamberlan Arrampicata) with both indoor and outdoor facilities and climbing walls that are located near its headquarters… to date the association has more than 500 members!
Zamberlan celebrates its 80th anniversary in 2009 with a sponsored expedition to climb the Baruntze in Nepal. The group consisted of Marco and 5 other alpinists.
From 2010 Zamberlan are awarded many international awards… one of which is the OUTDOOR INDUSTRY AWARD 2010. It was won for the TOFANE, this was a model with the new Norwegian Welted construction. That year they also won the prestigious BACKPACKERS’S GEAR GUIDE 2010.
Scene from the Zamberlan factory in Schio, Italy.
Scene from the Zamberlan factory in Schio, Italy.
Scene from the Zamberlan factory in Schio, Italy.
The factory production line.
To date Zamberlan continues to grow. With countless awards for their products, a new website in 2015 and the addition of a new production line specifically for the construction of climbing shoes the company focuses on the manufacture of high quality boots made in Italy. The company now exports more than 90% of its production world-wide. Zamberlan’s international presence is now in more than 45 countries. Although the collection continues to change with new technologies, new designs and exciting new colours the company remains focused. Made in Italy, high quality, durability, craftsmanship and innovation… the factors driving Zamberlan to be the best since 1929.
Built on tradition and with products made by an amazing team of master craftsmen, the original family are Zamberlan’s driving force. Although the outdoor market is tough… with their passion and continued efforts, they get successful results. As a world renowned boot manufacture supplying boots to the whole of the outdoor market… including ascents of Everest, they will continue their success and be ahead of the competitors. One thing we can be sure of is more exciting products from Zamberlan in the future…
The strong smell of ‘new’ hits you straight in the face and you feel something good is inside.
I peeled back the protective sheet and was welcomed with a stylish new boot from Zamberlan.
The 900 ROLLE GTX…
Accent colours, clean cut lines and a sleek style that will make you feel proud to wear them anywhere…
I’ve used Zamberlan products for a number of years now and I’m never disappointed when I open the box on arrival. I buy Zamberlan because of the quality, fit and style. With the core range still made in Italy, you get what you pay for. This is a company built on standards, the quality has always been there.
The first job in testing a new boot is to break them in. With all my boots I first choose to wear them out and about in my everyday life. This gives me time to break the leather upper in before I venture outdoors onto the Jurassic Coast. When out on the coast I like to make the most of my time and I don’t want to have problems with my feet or boots. This is one of the reasons I always go for Zamberlan… I’ve never had any troubles with breaking in my previous models as they are made so well, they work with my feet and seem to give up that new toughness quickly.
The 900 Rolle GTX are no exception to this and after only an hour had become very comfy around my feet and ankles. The Leather was beginning to soften up nicely and I didn’t even get any strange looks while wearing them at my local coffee shop! I like the Vibram sole on this model, it has a great aggressive design. The green and grey colours of the PU wedge work well together and match in line with the grey leather uppers. With a splash of an accent colour, it gives the sole a modern and sleek look.
The protective rubber rand has been glued on extremely well and there’s not a glue mark anywhere except around its edge where it’s sealed to the leather upper. Too often I see other makes of boots with poorly glued edges. There’s nothing worse than looking at a brand new pair of boots with glue smears all over them… to me that oozes poor manufacturing. The Vibram Curcuma sole is also glued to perfection… leaving you satisfied that they will do their job throughout their outdoor life.
The Hydrobloc Perwanger leather upper has been cut so perfectly, it has stunning shapely curves… the parallel stitching that secures it meanders around its edge like an Amazonian river with a design that seems soothing to my eyes.
Looking inside the boot you find Zamberlan’s anatomically shaped foot bed and the GORE-TEX Performance Comfort liner is stitched and fitted extremely well. When I get new boots I always put my hand inside the boot to see if there are any high spots or hard creases to be found. These would indefinitely cause an issue with rubbing further down the line but with this boot and as with previous Zamberlan models I have owned the lining continues its sleekness throughout. The micro porous membrane is extremely breathable and waterproof… it kept my feet dry.
With ‘High Resistance’ treatment, I really like the soft galvanized look of the lace D rings and hooks. I also thought the lace colours fit nicely to the overall colour scheme of the boots.
The boots also come with the vibrant coloured logo of the Italian flag fixed to their side, this confirms construction in Italy and is your guarantee of a quality build. Also nestled close is the striking Gore-Tex badge… a pair of medals I’m always pleased to have on the side of my boots.
The grip on the Vibram Curcuma sole is excellent. When applying pressure through the boot you can feel the texture of your terrain… and adjust your moves accordingly. The PU wedge absorbs any shock and the boots grip with full response… moving forward is effortless.
I tested the boots on a 10 mile walk along the Jurassic Coast, they were comfy, gave good grip and breathed nicely. The support from the Zamberlan Flex System worked to its full potential allowing my foot good flexibility on the coastal path and my ankle felt fully supported throughout. The boots have a lowered back to improve fit and heel locking, during the test this kept my heel nice and secure. Zamberlan’s 900 Rolle GTX boots are a boot I would happily recommend to anyone on those backpacking trails and for use here on the Jurassic Coast.
With this boot and other new products about to be added to the family, Zamberlan ‘in my view’ will continue to stand out from competitors in the future. With their new range of boots coming to the market, I welcome you to Zamberlan’s…
When you order a product you expect it to arrive crisp and new… with Zamberlan there is no exception to this rule. The boot box looks like most other boot boxes, carrying the company’s logo and address details… but this box comes with a colourful image on the box deplicting a moss covered rock face. It is printed in ecological colours and the box is also made of recycled materials. Constructed with environmental friendly adhesives… it’s 100% recyclable.
Opening the box for the first time brings back memories of Christmas past when as a child you craved for that excitement of opening a gift for the first time… as an adult you never grow tired of this feeling. From the minute you open the box you’re hit with the smell of quality. The fresh aroma of treated leather and the biting smell of the moulded rubber Vibram soles inside, it hits you like a brick wall and stops you dead in your tracks while you savour the moment.
Inside you find a carefully covered product and after lifting the dust protective cover you find the first of a pair of boots. The cover has been wrapped around the boots in a way so that when you peel it back Zamberlan’s logo shows in either orientation… It’s evident that the boots have been packed with care. The first thing you notice are the colours, clean lines and cut edges on the boots. The intricate parallel stitching of the leather upper leads you around the outer edges of the boots like the yellow brick road.
The boots have great style and colour range, the sole is glued to perfection leaving no smear marks. They are presented so well you’re almost scared to touch and lift them out of the box.
On removal of the first boot you are welcomed with a small bundle of booklets carefully fixed through a lace fixing on the side. It contains boot care instructions, details about the Vibram soles, information on the Hydro Bloc protective finish, a Gore-Tex label and a tag proudly discribing that the product has been hand crafted in Italy by their expert artisans ensuring high quality and value. You even get a little cut leather logo… they are not trying to hide anything here, they are proud to shout about the product’s attributes.
The boot box they come in is completely recyclable and is intended to be used for boot storage after delivery. Protecting them from dust, direct sunlight and helping them ventilate, it is the perfect storage solution to help preserve their shape. Even the boot box oozes Zamberlan quality and deals with impacts to the environment without compromise…
You’ve not even worn the boots but by the time you’ve taken delivery and opened the box you begin to realise that with Zamberlan’s Packaging you’ve already…
‘Discovered The Difference’
Now the best bit… to get on the Jurassic Coast to see what they can do!
Zamberlan 900 ROLLE GTX
‘Tested on the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site’
So… I’ve decided to do my first ever gear review about a product that I’m very passionate about. This is about a product that I’ve been abusing for the past four years.
I’m not getting paid and have not been asked to do it… I don’t have any glossy photos of a new product and I’m by no means a fitness freak.
Generally gear reviews are done by those who are at the top of their game, You don’t get reviews from the man on the street, the one who gets the most from his equipment. The one that abuses it the most.
I don’t get given free products and I can’t afford to have a wardrobe full of boots that suit every occasion. So, when it comes to footwear I have to buy what I can afford and hope it’s a good all-rounder… So who am I and what do I do?…
I’m the end user and I’m currently training to become a summer mountain leader. I run my own small guiding company here on the Jurassic Coast and work as an ambassador promoting the World Heritage Site. Other than when I’m away on mountain training days I don’t get to climb mountains locally, my time is spent on the coast… This area can be very challenging and I still need reliable boots that work and last for me.
When it comes to boots I want a pair that can do everything. They have to be good in the mountains, they have to be able to cope with the coastal path and I need to be able to wear them all year round. I’m a keen fossil hunter here on the Jurassic Coast so my boots need to cope with the algae on the rocks, the thick sticky clays and the salty sea water that they are exposed to on a regular basis when I’m out hunting.
My perfect boot would also need to take crampons and keep me warm while doing my winter walking, give me good grip while scrambling rocky ridges on mountains, cope with long distance walking along the coastal path and have good breathability when tackling the Jurassic Coast in the heat of the summer.
The coastal path here on the Jurassic Coast gets extremely muddy during the winter months so I need a boot that supports my ankles well and is water tight.
Over the past few years my personal choice has been Zamberlan boots. They have always fitted my feet perfectly and never caused any foot problems when in use. With my current level of outdoor activities, I’ve been burning a pair of boots out in two years. Over the past four years I’ve been wearing Zamberlan 996 Vioz GTX boots. I’m just about to finish using my second pair and now wondering what I should get next and if it should be another pair of Vioz.
So, what do I like about them…?
I always buy boots that have Vibram soles and Gore-tex linings. Vibram make the best soles and you can be guaranteed you’ll get the grip you’ll need when out on the hill or mountain. Next the linings… as I mentioned before the Jurassic Coast can get extremely hot in the summer months. I’ve often been stuck out on the South West Coastal Path in the soaring heat and Gore-Tex has proven itself to be the best in these conditions for breathability.
I also like a boot that fits tight to my ankles… I like to feel as if someone is holding my ankle with two hands. Only then do I feel comfortable pushing myself during certain activities… especially scrambling! The Zamberlan Flex System allows movement with ease while fully supporting my ankle.
Zamberlan boots seem to mould around my feet and ankles perfectly. The leather tongue goes right to the top of the boot creating a perfect water seal which means you can tackle any bog knowing your feet will stay dry to that point. When walking on the coastal path you come across worn paths with a v formed in them. In this v you’ll find the usual thick mud and water. The sides of this v are very dangerous and slippy… you need to tackle them by walking straight through and you need a waterproof boot capable of doing so. Zamberlan 996 Vioz GTX are perfect for this task.
Vioz boots are NOT crampon rated… once a year I go away with friends to the Lake District for winter walking. I need crampons for this but can’t afford to waste silly money on crampon rated boots and crampons that cost the earth as I would only use them for this one trip. The only option I have is to wear flexible crampons on my Vioz. I use Grivel Monta Rosa crampons that are actually C1 rated. They fit well and I’ve had nearly 10 trouble free days winter walking using them. It works for me but I know Zamberlan would NOT recommend the use of such crampons on the 996 Vioz GTX boots. I would recommend talking to them first to see what they would advise you to wear.
This year while scrambling down the Fiacaill ridge in the Cairngorms, I got into a sticky situation. I was trying to descend down over a large quartz boulder… I couldn’t see the bottom so I had to lower myself feet first. It was like tip toeing in the dark while holding on for dear life. It was at this point that I realized I was completely reliant on my boots as I frantically fought for grip. This was the deciding point where I knew buying the same pair again was the right option. I got off that ridge safely because of my boots!
After four years worth of good use I can’t fault these boots in anyway. They have performed constantly throughout my activities. The comfort has been phenomenal and the grip has been astounding! I really can’t endorse them enough. I always recommend Zamberlan when asked which boot is best and I will continue to do so. These boots are still made by the original family in Italy. The boot is the same as it has always been and so is the quality.
You’ll feel like a king while wearing these out on the hill and mountain and that’s why they should be called ‘KING VIOZ’
It’s been nearly two years now since I’ve reignited my passion for fossil hunting. Just recently I’ve been more and more exposed to fossils in some way or form… either at meetings, festivals, or on the beach.
This has only fueled my eagerness to go and hunt for them. In the past I only found time to hunt occasionally due to family commitments… This has meant that I now find myself spending more and more time on the coast. Time is limited with a full time family and on going house renovations but I find the time when I can and make the most of it… it’s not unknown for me to be out until the early hours hunting in the dark. I enjoy the solitude and have an amazing head torch!
When out I can easily spend 3-4 hours on a hunt. It’s back breaking work and to find anything you need to put the time and effort in. After a while you begin to understand your sites and find little pockets that hold fossils. You have to know your sites inside out… the sea is constantly changing them… one minute you have a hot spot and the next it’s gone… the sea has washed it away. It is also this same process that reveals other pockets where you can find new and exciting finds.
The need to go hunting is a strange thing… it feels like a magnetic pull or a child pulling at your sleeve. If I haven’t been for a while I get withdrawal symptoms… if you’re already a fossil hunter you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. I’m always eager to get out and hunt, as long as I come back with at least one new fossil for my collection I’m happy and it’s been worth it… even if it did take me 4 hours to find in the dark!
Setting your eyes on a fossil for the first time in millions of years is a fantastic feeling, words really can’t describe what it feels like. It is like it’s been waiting there all this time to be discovered by me. I respect the coast and the fossils I find and try to remove them responsibly and carefully.. it’s important that you don’t damage the surroundings. I collect out of passion and to build my collection… sadly, to often I see damage caused by those who collect for profit.
I regularly go fossil hunting with my friend Steve. It’s always a good hunt with him as I learn so much more about fossils, we look for new sites to investigate and go and see what they have to offer in the way of fossils. Steve is great at finding fossilized bones from marine reptiles… he can spot a bone a mile away! If your fairly new to this, it will be a while before you get to find bone fossils… it’s going to take time before your eyes are up to speed.
Hunting is a messy job… you’ll be constantly digging in thick, sticky clays and clambering over damp, algae rich rocks. I wouldn’t advise you go in your Sunday best! Old trousers, shirt and sturdy boots are a must.. A thermal top to keep you warm while out on the coast, as you can get extremely exposed to the elements. If you’re close to looking like a tramp you’re sorted! (no disrespect to tramps)
Next you’ll need a good tool kit… you’ll need a geo hammer, chisel, goggles, trowel and of course a rucksack to carry it in. As you fossil hunt more and more your tool kit will grow and you will add tools that suit your specific hunting locations. It’s amazing how you start to look at gardening tools in a different way and a trip to a garden center is even more interesting these days! The best tool you have are your eyes… it takes a while to train them to recognise the shapes and textures but be warned, they can also play tricks on you! It’s easy to see things that aren’t even there… especially when you’re tired after a long hunt.
It is important that you check the tide times in your area before you go, The tide can come in very quickly and you can get cut off in seconds… It’s best to hunt on a receding tide, you’ll feel much safer and will know that you have plenty of time to search for fossils. You’ll feel much more relaxed and can concentrate on the job in hand without the worry of a rising tide. Stay away from landslides and don’t climb cliffs… they are dangerous! Search for fossils on the foreshore, it’s much safer here and the sea will of done all the cleaning work for you.
If I find something of interest I always take it home. There have been too many times when I have discarded a muddy object, got home to think about it and wished I’d brought it back. You’ll never find that item again when returning to the site. Someone else would of picked it up or the sea will have washed it away… you snooze, you loose. It’s that simple!
When it comes to being a collector, it’s not just about the collecting. When you find fossils they are generally not in the best of condition and sometimes break on removal. Once home a good soak, clean and a touch of superglue normally brings them back to life. For that extra touch some oil or varnish will bring the colour out and make them presentable as a show piece. Sometimes you find fossils encased in stones… you’ll need to invest in some professional air prepping equipment to expose them… or you could take your find to a specialist and pay them to do all the hard work for you. It’s all part of being a hunter.
I love it when friends and family visit… I get to show them my new finds from the Jurassic Coast and tell them the story of how it was found… every fossil find has one! I’m just not so sure they always share my enthusiasm!
You have to go through this process… it’s what makes us… THE HUNTER
I arranged to meet Frank first thing Thursday morning at a lay-by near Ulwell Caravan Park, Swanage. From here I had planned to take him to Old Harry Rocks. A visit to this location had to be included in his trip to the Jurassic Coast. It was important for me to take him via a route I thought suitable for photographic opportunities.
Frank arrived just after nine that morning. Whilst getting ready to set off we discussed his previous day at the Lulworth Estate… I asked him if he’d had a good time and was enjoying the accommodation there. He said he’d had a great time and loved that section of the coast. I also ran through a few points of safety for the walk to Old Harry… we had a discussion about how nice his hire car was and I asked him if he was enjoying driving it.. he replied… “yes lovely, I’ve only driven on the wrong side of the road twice this week!!” We both looked at one another and laughed.
We headed off up the steps to the Obelisk which lies on the western side of Ballard Down. There are a few steps to climb here and its fair to say it’s painful first thing in the morning!
Once at the top we headed right along the ridge of Ballard Down. I wanted to go via this route because as you walk along the ridge you get good views; to the right Swanage, Durlston point and the Purbecks. To the left you can see all of Poole Harbour, Studland and the coastline right down to Christchurch and beyond.
Heavy rain was forecast that afternoon and I knew that having done a prewalk to all the locations the previous day, we’d be pushed for time to fit everything in that I had planned for Frank. Once again time was tight so we made our way to Old Harry Rocks as quickly as possible… we still had enough time though to make good conversation and take in the views!
Whilst on top of Ballard Down I stopped Frank and pointed out the coastline around Swanage. I explained to him that this part of the coast was early Cretaceous… where we were standing and the coastline to our left was late Cretaceous. His comment at that point was… “so the cliffs that are chalk are late Cretaceous and the rough cliffs over there are early Cretaceous”… It was evident that Frank was now starting to understand the different dinosaur periods of the Jurassic Coast. It was good to know that I was doing my job well and Frank would leave with an understanding of the coastline. From here we headed down to Old Harry Rocks and continued our discussions on the coast, work and family life.
We reached Old Harry Rocks in good time and Frank set his equipment up to take his first photo. I ran through the hazards of the cliffs at this location and left him to concentrate on his work. The cliffs here can be very fragile at the edges. I often see holiday makers putting themselves at risk for that perfect selfie…I advised him of the best places to stand to get the shots he wanted but would not put him in any danger. Again I was asked to model in a few photos so he could get a good perspective of the view to Old Harry. After a while we made our way to Joe’s Cafe on South Beach, Studland.
Joe’s Cafe is nestled right at the end of the World Heritage site. It’s one of the best locations for walkers and visitors to the Jurassic Coast to grab a coffee and snack. You get fantastic views of the end of the Jurassic Coast and if you walk along the beach for a couple of hundred metres you can physically touch the end of the World Heritage site. I’d been on at Frank all morning about making sure we had time to pop to Joe’s.. What can I say, I needed my coffee and one of their renowned brownies!
After a good break, good conversation and a chance for us to compose ourselves we headed back to Swanage. The skies were starting to turn grey and we knew that time was against us. We’d had the best of the weather at this point so we put our heads down and headed back to the cars quickly. On the way back we only went and bumped into a good friend of mine, Robin. He was on top of Ballard Down with some of his friends. We stopped, had a quick chat and I introduced Frank to them. I asked Robin what they were up too… he replied “we’re off to Joe’s cafe for a coffee and brownie!” I looked at Frank and we both laughed! We told Robin that we’d both just been there and done the same. I don’t know if Frank realised but at that moment he’d just become part of the social life that is to be found here on the Jurassic Coast. If there’s one person that I always bump into on the coast it’s Robin. Once back at the car we discussed the next location and Frank followed me to it.
Our next port of call was a view point called Houns Tout. I really love this location as it’s a great place to view another big chunk of the coastline, I always get a sense of feeling that I’m high up in the sky here. It’s another excellent point in Dorset where you can view right down to Portland and Weymouth to the west. I warned Frank beforehand that due to the deteriorating conditions we might not get good views. When we arrived at the car park, it started to rain but he was still happy to go. We put on our waterproof clothing and made our way there quickly. On arrival the cloud line had dropped considerably giving us a poor view. Frank was happy he could still take some shots and pulled out a waterproof camera cover to protect his equipment…it was obvious he’d dealt with conditions like this before.
After a few minutes Frank finished taking photos and we headed around the top of Houns Tout so I could show him Chapman’s Pool. Chapman’s Pool is a stunning cove and worthy of a visit when walking the Jurassic Coast. Here we met some walkers who were systematically walking the whole of the coast around the UK. Frank had a good chat and took some photos with them. The rain had briefly stopped so we said our fairwells to the walkers and made our way back to the cars.
From the car park Frank followed me along the Purbecks to the next location. This location was my final surprise for Frank. I wanted him to leave the Jurassic Coast with a special memory that would last forever… I had worked hard the previous day to plan Franks last experience here on the Jurassic Coast, it involved getting permission to visit this special site. At this stage in the day I hadn’t told him where we were going, or what he was going to see… He followed me off the main road and along a narrow lane. The weather had become worse now but this time we didn’t need to walk far. We pulled into a small quarry and parked the cars. We put on our waterproofs and I checked in with the owner just to let him know we had arrived. I had given him arrival times beforehand so he knew we were coming and surprisingly we had actually managed to make it on time!
We set off from the cars and walked through the quarry and out into a field. Frank still had no idea where we were going but followed me into the field. Halfway through the field I stopped him, asked him to close his eyes and to trust me as all would become apparent shortly… This must of seemed strange to Frank as we’d only known each other for just over a day! He did as I asked and I then led him towards the special location. After a couple of minutes I stopped and asked him to look down and open his eyes, there was a silence for a minute and he didn’t say anything….
He then looked up with a smile and said “is this a footprint… a dinosaur footprint?” This was his final surprise, I had taken him to a secret location on the Jurassic Coast and he was stood in a huge dinosaur footprint! The footprint is believed to be that of a Sauropod dinosaur and one of many at this special site. I think it took Frank a while to take it all in but I could see I had done the right thing by guiding him here… I could really tell by the look on his face. I showed him a picture of what the dinosaur would of looked like so he could get an idea on how big they were. Sauropods were very large dinosaurs and reached a height of up to 18 metres. The Purbecks are full of footprints similar to these.
It was raining hard now but I told Frank to make sure he had as much time here as he wanted to enjoy the moment. We spent around ten minutes on site and Frank and I both took some photos of each other stood in the footprints. After a while the rain got the better of us and we decided to head back to the cars. I had planned to take him to Durlston Castle and had a talk arranged there for him. Sadly we had lost a bit of time through the day and on arrival found it to be closed. Frank was not concerned at this point and said that he’d had more than enough to take in for one trip and was happy with his final day. We both decided it was time for a drink and we headed to the Halfway Inn near Corfe Castle.
On arrival we opened the door to a warm welcoming country pub, with the conditions we’d put up with over the last few hours, it was just what we needed! Frank got a couple of hot drinks in, we found a table and sat down. I ran through the locations of the day and he asked me a few questions about the geology to correct his notes. Once we’d done this we sat and chatted like good friends laughing about the weeks events… it was amazing how much we had in common. I handed Frank a small box and showed him some fossils from my collection, they were all labelled so he knew what they were and I told him they were for him to take home and show his children. I hope Frank thought it was a nice gesture as unfortunately we didn’t find many fossils when at Charmouth. I wanted him to go back with at least something. Knowing my own children well, I knew if he went home and talked to his children about the Jurassic Coast and the fossils that are found here, they would want to see some.
We sat and chatted for nearly an hour and I then realised Frank was tired and struggling to stay awake. I reluctantly decided it was time to go as Frank still had to get back to his accommodation and I didn’t want to consume his evening. I asked him to stay in touch and said if he ever came over again I’d love to catch up and take him to some other great locations along the coast. Ideally you need two weeks to get to see all of what the Jurassic Coast has to offer and I felt we only touched the surface during our couple of days together.
It has been one of my best experiences so far on the coast and I felt I was able to impart a great deal of enthusiasm and knowledge to Frank on this amazing World Heritage Site. I had some new experiences along the way and even picked up some photography tips from him. The best thing from all of this is that I made a friend… I’m now regularly in contact with Frank and I look forward to hearing about his future projects.