Swanage. My one true love and my first taste of paradise. There you sat, all jaunty and all unassuming at the bottom of the world where the land meets the sea, meets the sky. You had sand, not the tropical kind, but rugged, misshapen sand which blew across the road in the wind and formed perfect peaks of salty, stony mess.

You weren’t tropical, you weren’t especially warm and you weren’t everyone’s cup of tea.

But you were mine, and you were beautiful.

Love Letter To Swanage

I played on that sand every summer, and every summer you accommodated an older, bigger person making space for what I was becoming. You changed every minute, but then again you never changed at all. The crazy golf looking out to sea, the paint peeling with cracked balls and bent clubs. The same fish and chip shop day after day, the salty hot taste lingering on my tongue until to the coolness of the ice cream washed it away.

The wind breakers, the deck chairs, the jelly shoes and the cling-film wrapped sandwiches. I loved it all.

Sometimes we climbed on you Swanage, we climbed way up high to look across the bay to other places that we loved – but we didn’t love them quite as much as we loved you. I sat on the grass with my grandad and counted the daisies in my hand as the sun came out from beneath the clouds and put a spotlight on that moment.

We watched each day as Old Harry’s Rock came into our view, and every time I asked who Old Harry was. Each time we saw him, his wife would be somewhat changed, different. I likened it to changing her outfits each day but in reality you were eroding and changing her before our very eyes.

The whiteness of those rocks and cliff edges used to sparkle against the blue sea. Although you were chalky, it never felt like school or like blackboards. It felt like starting again each summer. The freedom and the love that you welcomed me with every time I was wrapped within your arms.

Sometimes a place steals your heart, it leaves you forever changed. Here's a love letter to SwanageClick To Tweet

Love Letter To Swanage

And then, despite my enduring love for you Swanage, for the bay, for the coastline, for every stretch of everything across the Jurassic way you disappeared from view. Memories bright at first, then hazy and then enveloped in the darkness of age and difference. When I talked about you fondly it was in caricatures, in sketched set-pieces that I wasn’t sure were ever real but they sounded good so they became my memories of you.

But they weren’t. Because you are so much more than that to me. You are where everything started, and where everything will end. You made me. You changed me. You’ll do it again and again.

Many years later, I sat inside you again, high upon a cliff face looking down on you, scrambling around and exploring and finding you for the second time. I took someone special, as someone special who was there with me once had been taken from me and I needed, wanted to remember. You were completely the same, and yet completely different. You seemed colder somehow, harsher and less forgiving of my change and my age.

This time the sun didn’t shine down on that moment, instead the clouds gathered and the wind picked up pace. You always knew how to reflect my mood with one action. With silence.

I remembered then, everything you are to me without the hawkish cartoons and faded half-truths. I remembered than that I am you. Without you, I wouldn’t be sat there, in that moment, sharing memories with someone new and starting again.

One day, I’ll bring you the next generation of me. You’ll hold them in your sandy, loving, rugged arms the same way you held me 20 years ago. You’ll shape them, you’ll teach them and you’ll mould them. You’ll accept the change, the yearly difference in their being as now I can see you have changed. You are different too. You’ve grown and shrunk with the passing years and the weather beating down on you and the people sharing the coastline.

We all change and grow, but some things will always stay the same. I love you.

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Swanage | UK Holidays | Dorset | Travel Tips
Swanage | UK Holidays | Dorset | Travel Tips
Swanage | UK Holidays | Dorset | Travel Tips

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  • Dada KS

    Often the dearest place in the world is the place you go since your childhood. It might not be the most beautiful but for you it touch your heart and soul. I have some childhood memories of places that makes my heart warm. Hopefully next summer Ill able to visit some next summer!

  • Hannah Anderson

    I’ve only been a few times but Swanage is a beautiful place! Lovely photos πŸ™‚

  • Kara

    This is where I live and I love Swanage. The globe is magnificent isn’t it

  • Oana A. Nicolescu

    I have never been to Swanage but I can understand why you love this place. Everything is so perfect, the globe is gorgeous, the water is crystal blue and the steep cliffs reflecting in the water are magical. Love the idea of writing a letter to your childhood place.

  • Beautifully written, Sam! It’s evident that you have many fond memories of your time in Swanage, sometimes that warmth never truly leaves you. I hope the future generations get to experience your love for this place as well!

  • Brooke Herron

    I too, thoroughly enjoy coast areas that aren’t tropical and aren’t warm-though most of my friends prefer the sunny spots where they can tan and drink cocktails. I love a nice crisp breeze, some rocky jutting cliffs and always blue and green in view πŸ™‚

  • Danik Bates

    I havent been to Swanage since I was a child and now I want to go back and walk around the cliffs. Maybe a walk from Swanage to Durdle Door is in order.

  • Wow it looks just like Les Boules in GaspΓ©sie (Quebec Province, Canada). I can only imagine how nice it looks in real! You are lucky it was so nice out πŸ™‚

  • This is such a deep letter, through your words I can perfectly imagine Swanage even if I’ve never been there. I also have my “special” place in the world, and it’s so true: sometimes a place can steals your heart. Thanks for sharing your feelings! πŸ™‚

  • Wow this is such a personal letter. I read it with one breath and experienced every word along the way. Thanks for showing me Swanage

  • James Smith

    I had never heard of Swanage but after asking my Dad if he knew about it he told me he took me as a young boy. I need to visit the south of England and Swanage is definitely on my list, evening if it’s just to take a reflection photograph like yours!

  • wow I haven’t heard of Swanage and only briefly been to Northern Ireland once (Belfast a decade ago?). A really great personal story of your experience really made me feel like I was there.

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