I was on the horns of a dilemma today. My original idea, when planning the weekend, was to go from Southwold to Great Yarmouth, but, looking at the maps in more detail, that seemed too far. Lowestoft, on the other hand didn’t seem far enough. There was no logical place in between to stop between the two, so I decided on discretion- helped by the fact that there is a bus between Lowestoft and Southwold which would save me a huge taxi fare. It was the right decision as my camera ran out of space for more photos just as I walked into Lowestoft.
The day started very well – I parked for free (!) near Southwold pier and walked along the front for a few hundred yards. The pier is a real Art Deco gem. The sun was shining, and the wind much less fierce than yesterday. Owing to the massive storm surge last December, much of the coast is inaccessible. I turned inland on the Suffolk Heath and Coast Path. It was a delightful morning – the path was mainly along a byway, with banks of windflowers on either side – true bluebells, primroses, ragged robin and sweet woodruff. I like Suffolk, it feels more rural than Essex, and the countryside is gently rolling, rather than completely flat.
After some 5 or 6 miles inland, the path turned directly east to the coast at Kessingland. I stopped for elevenses (see review), then followed the path directly onto the beach. I was a bit apprehensive that it would be miles of shingle, but, although there were a few sand dunes to negotiate initially, it was possible to walk on firm sand. The view was different from any coast I have walked on before. A vast expanse of beach – the tide was out, a completely flat, rather than sloping foreshore, and low sandstone cliffs. Oddly, the landscape reminded me of the high plains in South America – an impression enhanced by the presence of a lone rider, walking, then cantering along on a grey horse. The only thing to spoil the picture was the rider’s high-vis jacket – not sure the ‘ealth ‘n’ filth have got to Bolivia.
I could see a marvellous kite from a good mile distance – it was a giant squid, with beautiful waving tentacles, dancing on the stiff breeze.
Advancing towards Lowestoft, I had to look lively as the tide was coming in, forcing me to walk on the shingle, dodging around fishermen. These chaps have all the gear -several rods on stands, windbreaks and one even had a girlfriend, clearly bored out of her mind as she huddled on a beer cooler in layers of down -presumably she is still in the courtship stage of pretending to love his hobbies.
The sun was out, and the nippy wind was not enough to put off the determined holiday-makers out with bucket and spade. Those who know me well, will be aware that children are not really my thing, but it is great to see so many of them building sand castles, digging to Australia, scooting along the prom, flying kites with dad and playing ball games. I almost smiled at them, but was returned to sanity when I passed a clutch of them at a chip shop all chanting “we want food” at the tops of their voices.
I was very fortunate only to have to a few minutes for a bus, and got back to Southwold just as fat spots of rain began to fall. I did a very light weight 13 miles, but they were all enjoyable.