Dorset Barchetta Meeting – May 2023
The venue for this year’s meeting was the imposing Duchess of Cornwall Inn, Poundbury and the event was organised in fine style by Chris Rocker and his able partner Aneta, who were keen to show us the best their county had to offer. The ‘village’ was designed by the now-King Charles, the central square named in tribute to his late grandmother, Queen Mother Square. This really did make a striking setting for the 20 cars and their owners who descended upon the hotel, taking over all the available rooms, on the afternoon of Sunday 21st. (It was whispered that one couple, who shall remain nameless, in their over-excitement, attempted to descend a week early! This became referred to as a planned ‘reconnoitre’.) (Editor’s note; it was Dave & Sue Skelding! Shhh.)
On the afternoon of our arrival, some took the opportunity to explore the town of Dorchester, home of Thomas Hardy, while others soaked up the sun on the hotel patio. Our colourful cars made a great sight in Queen Mother Square. Friendships were renewed in the sunshine through the afternoon and during dinner in the hotel’s dining room, where some discovered an unexpected fondness for vegan ice cream!
Next morning, after breakfast, we began our exploration of Purbeck and the Jurassic coast in perfect weather. After some teething troubles with directions and radio contact, the convoy learnt to stay together and we visited Blue Pool, (so called because of its mica content), before going on to lunch on the Swanage seafront. A chance for fish and chips by the seaside! A further drive with lovely coastal views took us to the lovely Lulworth Cove and Durdle Dor, which some reached by a short boat trip for close-up photographs. On return to Poundbury, a pleasant dinner was taken in the nearby Engine Shed.
We awoke on Tuesday morning to more glorious sunshine. A drive towards the west of the county to West Bay took us on some sweeping roads with more lovely views to the coast, then on to Lyme Regis at lunchtime, where Chris and Aneta had arranged exclusive parking on the Cob slipway.
This attracted great attention from locals and tourists alike. We then continued to the beautiful gardens at Mapperton House for an afternoon stop before returning to our hotel on a route that gave us a sneaky view of the magnificent (in more ways than one!) Cerne Abbas giant. There was time for more socialising under the parasols before a short AGM and dinner in the dining room.
Our final day took us to North Dorset, again in spectacular weather. How did Chris arrange that? We first drove to Sherbourne, a lovely town where the local schoolchildren were thrilled to see our convoy come down the High Street. We had ample time to explore the historic centre and shops and enjoy a coffee. Then on to Shaftesbury where a fine last lunch was taken at the San Tonino Italian restaurant before a chorus of thanks to Chris and Aneta for a fantastic trip which had provided so much.
There were then only final goodbyes before heading off on our various ways home, but not before most took the opportunity to explore the lovely town centre, especially the famous Gold Hill of Hovis TV advert fame. Not many braved the walk down the hill as the only way back was up the hill!!
Thanks to Chris Pearce for photographs