Day 35 – Rochford to Canewdon 20th October 2013

IMG_4884Today’s weather was almost the opposite of yesterday’s, warm and quite sunny during the day with an absolutely tremendous squall towards the end of the day that left us soaked to the skin.

I met Tom and Chris at Canewdon, and then we drove back to Rochford to continue walking along the banks of the Roach, but this time on the north side.  I was thinking how unpleasant the name “Roach” is, but Tom assured me it was named for the little fish, rather than the scuttling insect, which made me like it better – although it would be more interesting if it were named after the illegal substance…. perhaps all of the fishermen of Rochford sit on the banks in the summer puffing away on bhang.

The path continued much as before, up on the embankment a few feet above the salt marsh, which had a tasteful collection of shopping trolleys and old junk visible nearer the town.  There were very few houses, but quite a lot of boats out in the main channel, which Chris and I recognised from yesterday.  To break the day up, we stopped at the village of Paglesham Eastend for lunch.  There is a little boat yard there and we were delighted by a half rowing boat that has been ingeniously turned into a little sheltered view point.IMG_4891

The pub was run by an absolute dragon of a land lady who was extremely harassed by the Sunday lunch rush.  We were so intimidated we had to take it in turns to make our various requests as each of us had to retire after receiving what Pooh might have referred to as a very hard stare indeed! IMG_4894

Munching on our excellent roast beef sandwiches outside the pub, we got chatting to a gentleman who seemed to know a bit about everything.  He and Tom were soon deep in a discussion on the military tactics of Boudicca.  This meant we left the pub a little later than intended, but as the day was only 15 miles, it didn’t matter.

Striking back to the water’s edge, the path runs north for a mile or two then turns west into the estuary of the river Crouch.  This is wider than the Roach estuary, but otherwise practically identical.  We could see Burnham on Crouch on the opposite bank.  Because of all the inlets, one can see the sails of ships without the water being visible – it is quite strange, the sails seeming to be rolling along the land.IMG_4889

We could see Canewdon church tower on a slight rise to our left, at least, we could see it until the sky turned inky black and the heavens opened.  Even my rainproof trousers eventually sank under the weight of water and began to seep.  The rain shower lasted for about half an hour, then gradually wore off as we walked up the slight rise into Canewden.  There was just time for a swift half in the pub there before heading home.

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Day 34 19 October 2013 – Shoeburyness to Rochford

IMG_4869Just got back from a satisfactory day, beginning the east coast, accompanied by Chris.  As anticipated, it was flat and also rather rainy, not very heavy, or windy, but relentless.  Since the previous very wet day, near Beachy Head, was with Chris, I am beginning to wonder if he is the culprit!

We set off from Shoeburyness around 9.45.  It was not raining at that point and we could see the Kent shore with the various power stations and sewage plants I walked past back in the winter.  It doesn’t seem very long ago, but I have covered a pleasing distance since.  It was a bit odd to be walking with the sea on my right, but I am sure I will get used to it.  The contrast with the South West is amazing – from the relentless ups and downs over the chalky cliffs to a vast expanse of mud flats.  When we started out the tide was a long way off shore and there were people and dogs dotted across it.  We walked past a group of chaps setting themselves up for wind kiting on the mud.  It looked like great fun, but the geese who were circling ready to land did not seem so happy to see what they were sharing the coast with.

After a mile or so we had to turn in land to avoid the defence works at Shoeburyness – the road took us through a residential area and we had the bizarre sight of some dismembered mannequins in the street.  They would be very creepy at night!IMG_4873

Eventually, we turned back to the coast, but not much further on we turned in again to walk along the Roach estuary.  The island of Foulness was next to us, apparently you need a pass to go onto it as it is used for something terribly hush-hush.  The swing bridge to the island was up, so, given there is no land access I am comfortable that it is not on the route!

The path runs along a low embankment, built up, I suppose, to make the river Roach navigable.  It was not an eventful day, the path just would in and out of the various inlets with boats in various stages of dilapidation dotted around.  There was a curious section of bumps in the landscape, which we concluded, owing to the smell and the little pipes dotted around, was landfill.IMG_4877

In total we covered just under 19 miles, and, happily, towards the end, the rain finally stopped and we were able to dry out before getting back into the car.