Today was certainly a “day of two halves”, but definitely a red letter day, as my last steps of the day completed my first 1,000 miles!
My B&B host kindly offered to take Tm and me back to my finishing point from yesterday, saving us a dull walk along the road. We set off around 10.45 and walked for several hours on the edge of the salt marsh, the sea a long way out. The weather was fine, bright although not that sunny, with a moderate east wind. There were lots of birds to admire: curlews, brent geese – readying themselves to migrate north, oystercatchers and egrets.
There were not many more people around than yesterday, although we did see a few dog walkers, including one lady with an enormous black beast the size of a bear.
Far out, we could just see the estuary, but for most of the day it was invisible. Around 3.30 we reached the outskirts of Cleethorpes, and came down to the lovely golden sands. The beach is wide and flat, with ribbons of black dust. I had picked up a shiny black stone yesterday, in the slim hope that it might be jet, but my hopes were dashed – apparently it is just shale. My learning point for today, is that jet is fossilised monkey puzzle wood from 120 million years ago!
We stopped for tea, cake, and half of the England-Italy match in Cleethorpes, then carried on toward Grimsby.
What a contrast! The whole stretch of sea front is a dreadful scene of ex-heavy industry, with the most appalling stench of dead things. Approaching Grimsby fish dock, the smell improved slightly, to fish, fish, fish. I certainly didn’t fancy having it for dinner. We found our way through the semi-derelict lots back to the main road, accompanied by the sound of roars from the football stadium. We concluded that Grimsby Town had won and, since it was Valentine’s Day, we imagined that the wives and sweethearts of Grimsby would be bracing themselves for a double celebration. The disgruntled Bristol team were being borne away in a coach, accompanied by a police escort.
I leapt on a bus back to Cleethorpes, where I am staying in a very, very functional guest house. Much of the next stretch of coast is inaccessible behind oil refineries and logistics plants so I shall take a bus to beyond Grimsby in the morning.