Just got into bed feeling completely exhausted. Last night, I hardly slept at all, behaving elected to stay at the Youth Hostel in Sheringham with Chris and Rita who walked with me today.
Unfortunately, I was in a shared dorm with two perfectly lovely women, who unhappily both snored like drunken sailors. Now generally, one person snoring is just about bearable if it not too loud but both of them were appalling in both frequency and volume. I was reminded of the Ancient Mariner – they cracked and growled and roars and howled all night without ceasing, First in counterpoint, then in harmony, and finally in some devilish syncopation that kept me awake all night. Even the chickens at five am couldn’t bother me as I was ready wide awake.
Other than the noise the YH was good – excellent meal last night, though breakfast was indifferent.
Rita, Chris and I set out around 8.45 along the front at Sheringham. The forecast had been for torrential rain at 9am, but it did not materialise. We walked along for a half mile or so. Then, after going a little too far, and having to turn back, climbed up onto the low cliffs at the golf course.
The loveliest part of the morning was being surrounded by sky larks. I have never seen so many – not just in the air but on the ground too, and seemingly, unafraid of humans. It really is the sound of a British summer. We walked for about four miles on the cliff path. As well as the sky larks, we saw plenty of butterflies and also seven spotted burnet moths.
Our favourite sight of the day was a group of “fishermen.” Well, their fishing rods were propped up, working away, but the chaps themselves were lolling on a large, inflatable sofa, with a cooler full of beer. We thought they were probably watching the match on their phones at the same time. No doubt they will return to their wives with stories of all the fish that got away.
Eventually we came down to the shingly beach at Weybourne, then turned inland to Salthouse where we stopped for a coffee. Rita left us there and Chris and I continued to Cley-next-the-sea (apparently pronounced cleye to rhyme with eye.) A number of these towns named “next-the-sea” really need to be renamed “used-to-be-next-the-sea-in-the-early-middle-ages,” often being a mile or so inland.
As we walked towards Cley we were delighted by the sight of a very elderly man, he must have been 90 plus, walking towards the sea with a collar and tie and tweed jacket and cap, long staff in his hand. We decided he had walked to the sea every day of his life since his was a nipper. He was very gentlemanly, and touched his cap to us as we passed.
Going through Cley, the path runs inland along the main road to cross a river. Carelessly, Chris and I were so carried away by the delights of home-made Norfolk ice cream (I chose Norfolk Apple Crumble flavour – mmm!) that we missed the turning back towards the shore and took an accidental 2.5 mile detour, only discovered when Chris wondered why the sea was behind us instead of to the right. Grrr.
The Norfolk coast path is uneventful. It is hard going on the shingle areas, and the beaches today were all shingle, not like the beautiful sounds further east. There are numerous churches along the way, all unfeasibly large, remnants no doubt of the days when East Anglia we the most prosperous, and populous area of the country after London.
We walked steadily though Blakeney, Morton and Stiffkey – no idea how that is pronounced, although we have heard that it is Stukey. We did come up with some interesting variants. Well, I say we walked steadily. But the signage is poor and we often had to double back to find the track as it meanders through the wetlands. Despite predictions of violent storms and heavy rain, we encountered no more than a few drops. About a mile out of Wells, we met Sally and Trevor and, with the addition of Bridget, who will walk tomorrow, adjourned to the Albatross, a splendid floating pub in a converted Dutch Barge.
I am unusually tired tonight, both as a result of last night’s sleeplessness, and the detour that gave us an extra couple of miles, to make just over 20 rather than the planned 17.5. Also, I have been quite poorly for the last few weeks, and this is my first real outing. I hope I will be able to cover the distances planned.