Saturday, 24th July 2021
The Isle of Portland is a tied island, 6 kilometres (4 miles) long by 2.7 kilometres (1.7 miles) wide, in the English Channel. It’s part of the England County of Dorset and is situated on the south coast. The southern tip, Portland Bill, lies 8 kilometres (5 miles) south of the resort of Weymouth, forming the southernmost point of the county of Dorset, England. A barrier beach called Chesil Beach joins the Isle of Portland to the mainland. Portland stone, a limestone famous for its use in British and world architecture, including St Paul’s Cathedral and the United Nations Headquarters, continues to be quarried on the Isle of Portland.
Tony in the gun room at Portland Castle alongside a life-sized cardboard cut-out of a 16th century Tudor archer. The archer is wearing a green tunic and a round metal helmet. He is holding a longbow and has a quiver full of arrows attached to his belt. He is also carrying a dagger held in a sheath. Portland Castle is an artillery fort constructed between 1539 and 1541. It is one of a series of forts built on the orders of Henry VIII to protect England and Wales from the threat of invasion by France and the Holy Roman Empire. It was built from Portland stone with a curved central tower and a gun battery, flanked by two angular wings. During the English Civil War (1642-1651), the castle was held by the Royalist supporters of King Charles I, and they survived two sieges before finally surrendering to Parliament in 1646. The castle continued in use as a fort until the end of the Napoleonic Wars (1815), when it was converted into a private house.
Tony next to a small cannon and a life-sized cut-out of a 17th century soldier. The soldier is depicted with a sword in a sheath, held with a leather strap. His dress includes a wide-brimmed black hat with a red band, a dark jacket and grey-brown trousers.
Tony with an 18th century gunnery soldier or musketeer. He has his musket in one hand and is holding a clay pipe in his mouth with the other. He is also carrying a sword. His dress includes a black Tricorne hat, a blue jacket with red and yellow trim, white trousers and long black boots.
Tony touching a large cannon on the lower gunnery platform. The cannon is pointing through a gun opening in the ramparts towards Portland Harbour, which it was intended to protect.
Tony feeling a pile of 17th century cannon balls on the lower gunnery platform.
View of Portland Harbour, including harbour walls and lots of small boats moored. The coast of Dorset visible beyond.
Phoenix breakwaters in Portland Harbour. These two large concrete blocks were part of the floating docks for the 1944 D-Day Landings on the Normandy beaches in France, but were never used.
Another view of Portland Harbour and the Phoenix breakwaters from Portland Castle. Stone ramparts in the foreground.
Tatiana and Tony sat on the parapet wall of Portland Castle with the harbour in the background.
Tony, Tatiana and Spud (Tony’s step dad) outside the front entrance to Portland Castle. This stone outer gateway is surmounted by King Charles II’s Coat of Arms. The entrance is presented as it would have looked in the 16th century, later 19th and 20th-century additions were mostly removed when the Ministry of Works opened the castle to the public in 1955.
Another view of Tony, Tatiana and Spud leaving Portland Castle. The entrance gateway is behind and to the left adjoining the outer wall is the Captain’s House. The Captain’s House became a private residence after the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815 when the castle was disarmed. Today it contains the castle’s ticket office, tea room and gift shop.
Portland Castle seen from the beach. The keep is in the foreground and the Captain’s House is further back to the right.
View of Portland Bill Lighthouse located on the southern tip of the Isle of Portland. The lighthouse was constructed from sandstone between 1903 and 1905 replacing two older lighthouses. It was first lit in 1906, automated in 1996, and is still operating today. The light has a range of 18 nautical miles (33 kilometres; 21 miles) and is today an LED (light emitting diode).
Another shot of Portland Bill Lighthouse, which is painted in distinctive white and red horizontal stripes, and stands at 41 metres (135 feet) in height. The building on the right was formerly the lighthouse keeper’s quarters and is today the Visitors’ Centre. As of summer 2021, the lighthouse is closed to tours, but will, hopefully, reopen sometime in the near future. When running, the tours allow visitors to climb the 153 steps to the top of the lighthouse.
Tony, Tatiana and Spud in front of Portland Bill Lighthouse.
View of earthworks at Maiden Castle, located in Dorset, 1.5 miles south of Dorchester and around 16 kilometres (10 miles) north of the Isle of Portland. Maiden Castle is one of the largest and most complex Iron Age hillforts in Europe. It covers an area of 19 hectares (47 acres). The site’s extensive ramparts were mostly built during the 1st century BC, although there is evidence of an earlier Neolithic enclosure from about 3500 BC, and later Roman activity in the form of a temple from the late 4th century AD.
Maiden Castle showing parts of the series of grass-covered mounds and ditches which today make-up the site. When constructed, these ramparts would have been bare white chalk. Tony climbed up the steep hill to reach this point at the top.