Update on (lack of) progress

Contrary to what you may have thought, I haven’t been drowned off the coast of Lincolnshire.  However, I have had to put my walking plans on hold as I have been superbusy setting up a new website.

You may have noticed from my posts that I am interested in history, so, working with a colleague, we have set up a new history website at:

www.tudortimes.co.ukscreenshot pic

It’s a website devoted to Tudor and Stewart history 1485 – 1603.  Pop over and have a look, if you are interested in history.

As you can imagine, this has taken a lot of work.  However, I plan to get the walking boots back on in February – looking at the weekend of 6/7 to crack on – will post an update when confirmed.

Merry Christmas!

Day 56 – Gibraltar Point to Skegness

I had an appointment in North Lincolnshire, so I grabbed the opportunity to come down to Skegness and finish the walk from the Bank Holiday weekend. My friend, Graham, who has heard a good deal about the walk, but so far has not taken part was, conveniently, free to come over from Nottingham, so he joined me here last night.

So, Skegness. Well, what can I say? And Skegness on a Saturday night, too! I wish I could say that we rode the roller-coaster and partied in the tasty night-clubs till dawn, but, sadly, not. We went for a very sedate drink and snack in the same hotel Rachel and I stayed in last time, but did not have the opportunity to admire the BollywoIMG_8175od antics.

This morning, I drove down to Gibraltar Point to pick up the path opposite the frustrating locked foot-bridge. For the first time since turning inland south of Hunstanton, I could actually catch a glimpse of the open sea. Not for long however, as the salt marsh has built up here into a huge nature reserve. It took the best part of an hour to reach the Clock Tower in Skegness where I had arranged to meet Graham – he declined to get up early and join me at Gibraltar Point, as, he informs me that he likes a leisurely breakfast.IMG_8187

Skegness was rather quieter in the day than it had been the night before. We walked down to the sea front, and at last I could see the ocean. The beach was golden and smooth, absolutely glorious. The weather was kind, too as we walked along the South Bracing, and then the North Bracing – I am sure the names are usually reflective of reality, but today they were not.

We divided our walking between the promenade and the sand close to the sea. The prom is hard under foot, but conducive to swift progress. The sand is slower and ruinous to boots, but pleasanter under foot when just above the water line.IMG_8206

We did not see much of any remark on our trip – there were lots of people around, children determinedly bucket-and-spading on the last day of the summer holidays. We marvelled at the terrifying rides at the funfair we passed. The roller coaster was shockingly high and steep, and I started to feel sick just watching people hanging upside down.P1060145

Sadly, many of the cafes and buildings along the front for the whole stretch to Mablethorpe are rather unattractive – concrete and corrugated iron with neon lights, garish colours and EXTREMELY LOUD MUSIC. Still, I suppose tastes differ and everything cannot be a twee tea-shop.

Sutton-on-Sea has set its face against modern development, but was not outstandingly attractive – some unusual beach huts – the roofs look rather pagoda-like in shape.P1060151

After an easy day, we arrived in Mablethorpe around 4.45pm, having done some 18 ½ miles. We were in time for fish and chips before catching the bus back to Skegness.

Day 48 – Sheringham to Wells-next-the-sea 28th June 2014

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 IMG_7023me 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 walIMG_7044ked 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.IMG_7061

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.

Day 47 – Keswick to Sheringham 5th May 2014

Today was an excellent finish to the weekend. My original plan was to go as far as Cromer, but on consultation over game pie in the pub, we decided that that plan lacked ambition, so settled on Sheringham as the day’s destination.

It was an absolutely glorious morning, and we workedIMG_6152 up an appetite for breakfast by taking a brief detour to the ruined Cluniac Priory at Bacton. The sky was vivid blue, enhancing the white stone of the ruined Romanesque building. We couldn’t get very close, as it is on private land, but the old gatehouse was accessible. The local architecture relies very heavily on walling of flint cobbles, and the gatehouse and surrounding cottages were largely constructed of this, with stone or brick quoins.

We set out along the beach around 9.45 am. The tide had not fully retreated, and as the coast is very uneven in the amount of erosion that has taken place, there were points when we were dashing across the sea wall between waves – not always successfully. I got a good shower at one point.Early bath

What I had taken yesterday to be many different types of stone on the beach turned out to be almost all flint, in various states of erosion. I did not know that flint could come in so many different shapes and shades, having assumed it would all be shades of black and white. Tom was hoping to find some amber, which apparently is not uncommon on this coast, but had no luck. The cliffs were climbing in height to a couple of hundred feet, mainly of very soft sand and clay with frequent landslips.

There were various types of groins, one sort being built in a type of zig-zag, known in East Anglia, Tom informs me as “crinkle-crankle”.   What a marvellous new word – I shall be looking out for opportunities to use it in conversation.IMG_6170

There were lots of people and dogs about. I have noticed that everyone in Norfolk seems to have at least two dogs – the one dog family was rare.

We saw some turnstones, a couple of oyster catchers and a bar-tailed godwit, but not many birds overall, not even many seagulls.

The sun was out and the wind remained light, and from the west so it was very pleasant. At one point we had to scramble round some very soft clay-ey rocks, much to the detriment of boots and trousers, but the walk was not demanding. A sandwich of the famous Cromer crabs was had in Overstrand, just to theIMG_6240 east of Cromer, accompanied by excellent Norfolk Apple juice, then a brief stroll took us to the prom at Cromer. Cromer is a very traditional sea-side town – early nineteenth century housing on the cliff tops and a pier from the early twentieth century. There were plenty of traditional sea-side venues and just enough wind to make sure of red faces.

We passed the Beeston Bump, at 207 feet the highest point on the Norfolk coast, just before arriving in Sheringham in time for the 17.42 train to Norwich. A delightful 14.75 miles, which has taken me well over 800 in total.

Day 46 – Winterton to Keswick 4th May 2014

Today I saw something I have never seen before in Britain – seals en masse. I have seen the odd one off-shore in North Wales, but never in groups (pods? colonies?). I had heard talk about seals north of Winterton in the pub last night, and Sally had mentioned that it was an area noted for wild life, but I had given the matter no further thought, until, about an hour north of Winterton I saw some people sitting on rocks doing nothing. ThiIMG_6100s is unusual: unless the sun is out and they are sunbathing, people tend to walk on beaches, or, if they are sitting, they are fishing. As I came closer, I saw what I thought was a black labrador playing in the waves, and assumed that the sitting people were waiting for their pet, then, a bit closer I realised it was a seal playing in the shallows.

A hundred yards further on, what I had taken to be rocks were, in fact dozens, if not over a hundred seals of all shapes, sizes and colours, basking on the sands. The vast majority were having a Sunday morning lie in, but the odd few sat up, scratched and waddled into the waves. It was a magnificent sight and repeated a few miles further on where a different, slightly more lively colony were also lying on the beach, completely impervious to the sight of me walking past. IMG_6119

The was spent entirely walking along the beach, initially, it was firm enough but there were a few places where it was hard going over soft sand. I had an unexpected wetting when I stopped to throw a stick for a friendly labrador and didn’t spot the wave coming up behind me.

The cliffs gradually changed from white sand dunes to golden cliffs by the time I reached Hapisburgh. (This is apparently pronounced “Hazeborough”).  The light house is a lot closer to the sea than it used to be!IMG_6134 The wave damage to the caravan park there has been huge, the cliff is covered with dangling pipes, wires and bits of fencing, with lumps of concrete all over the beach, all suggesting a fairly recent fall. After Hapisburgh the sea defences are formed of a rather ugly line of fencing that effectively cuts the sea off from the foreshore. I hurried along this bit, my feet starting to ache with the effort of walking on sand. IMG_6144

I climbed up to the cliff at Walcott Gap and walked through a timeless stretch of countryside, a ploughed and harrowed field with a church behind and an elderly man digging and delving in his allotment.

Keswick, where I am staying, has rather a good ice cream parlour where I treated myself to some vanilla and honeycomb, but it was plagued with midges this afternoon, as the weather has turned rather muggy. I am awaiting the arrival of Tom who is joining me for the walk to Cromer tomorrow.

22km today, around 13,75 miles which was easy after yesterday’s 20.25 miles. Distance is influenced by the availability of accommodation!

Day 45 – Lowestoft to Winterton-on-Sea 3rd May 2014

It’s definitely been a game of two halves today, with this afternoon absolutely blissful, and this morning rather less so.

I am finding that where there aren’t local train services linking towns on the coast (as there were in the south east) it is complicated and expensive to use the car, as I have to get a bus (few and far between) or a taxi (ruinously expensive). I therefore decided to try walking with enough stuff in my pack for a long weekend. Of course, I have walked with enough gear for a week in Wales and on the West Highland Way, but I was a good deal younger then, though maybe not fitter. Anyway, I decided to give it a try this weekend, so with my shiny new backpack (see equipment section if you are interested in the minutiae of packs and packing) I leapt on the train at Liverpool Street, to be decanted at Lowestoft at around 7.45 last night. My B&B was only five minutes’ walk (see review).

I set out at 8.30 sharp, and retraced about a hundred yards that I had done last time. Lowestoft is not beguiling, and the wind was, if not howling, at least moaning. The first few miles were along the sea wall. In due course, I came to Lowestoft Ness, which makes this a red letter day, as that is the most easterly point in Britain. I have done the most south easterly (South Foreland) and should bag the most south westerly later in the summer.IMG_6006

The sky loured, but it didn’t actually rain. At the beginning, walking along the sea wall was fine, but it began to get narrower and more slippery as it went on, with warnings about using the path at one’s own risk, and a few places where the waves came right up and crashed over the path in front of me. The sea wall and cliff paths have been badly damaged by the last couple of winters’ storms and I eventually had to go inland to make a long and very frustrating detour through a caravan site. Not because it was further, but because all of the paths and roads seem to go round on circles with no exit. Eventually, I emerged onto a golf course at Gorleston. I could see Gorleston point and Great Yarmouth inland of it.

Great Yarmouth is no more appealing than Lowestoft. Both towns seem very poor and there was an air of deprivation about the whole place. I walked up the west bank of the Yare amidst light industry and deserted coastal type buildings, to cross the river some two miles inland. Were I a purist, I would have walked right down to Gorleston Point on the east bank of the Yare, but I’m not, so I didn’t.

Today was market day and the town square in was very full. I walked through it stopping in Boots to replace my toothbrush. In the interests of packing light I had a tiny travel one with me, but it more or less disintegrated and left me with a mouth full of bristles this morning, which was quite horrible, so be warned, and do not economise on tooth brushes.

Down on the sea front again, at Scroby Sands the scenery improved over the dunes, towards Caistor, which still has the remains of its Roman fort. I saw a couple of chaps thatching a sea side shelter.  I have never seen thatching actually being done before. It looked like hard work – balancing whilst handling armfuls of reeds, about 3 – 4ft long.IMG_6041

Out at sea I could see the Scroby wind farm. As I have said before, I think, I rather like off shore wind farms. Once I passed Caistor, I walked along the beach, and this is where the afternoon triumphed. The beach was superb; a long, flat stretch of firm golden sands as far as the eye could see. The sun had more or less emerged and the wind had dropped so that the sea was a vast expanse of blue with a fringe of white.IMG_6056

On this day last year I put my feet in the water for the first time, and I decided to do the same today. It was marvellously refreshing, but achingly cold. Nicer under foot than the pebbles at Chichester harbour had been.IMG_6058

I was not tempted to do more than stand in it for twenty seconds before putting the boots back on.

I walked along this magnificent stretch of coast for some eight miles to Winterton-on-Sea, a quiet fishing village with a very pleasant atmosphere (and a lot of adders!) I am now sitting sipping a cuppa in the Fisherman’s IMG_6078Return (see review) having covered 20.25 miles.

Day 44 – Southwold to Lowestoft 21st April 2014

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.IMG_5922

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.IMG_5937

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 IMG_5969foreshore, and low sandstone cliffs. Oddly, the landscape reminded me of thIMG_5967e high plains in South America – an impression enhanced by the presence of a lone rider, walking, then cantering along on a grey horse. IMG_5966The 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.

Day 43 – Aldeburgh to Southwold 20th April 2014

IMG_5795I think I have seen more varied scenery today, than any other day. The distance was modest compared with yesterday, but that has taken me through pretty villages, past bleak nuclear power station, over heath, woodland, farmland, a ruined friary and marsh.

I began around 9.15 in Aldeburgh, interestingly spelt Aldbro on the milestone in the high street (London 94, Wickham market 12). I took lots of pictures of the high street, and particularly the Moot Hall, built in 16th century for the Town Hall, and still used for that purpose today. Since it was only 9.30 on Easter Day with a biting cold wind, I had the place pretty much to myself except for the fresh fish stalls and the super-keen runners.

The beach is flat and shingly, but fortunately the land side has enough build-up of soil and grass to make it walkable. It is not exciting scenery so I made fast time to Thorpeness, where I stopped for coffee and a Hot Cross bun in a cafe overlooking the village pond. Most of the other patrons were Londoners and I heard a good deal about “my mother’s friend’s art gallery in Fulham” and “the affordable art fair in Battersea”, now becoming “unaffordable”. This was interspersed with “Olivia, don’t do that” and “Sebastian is doing so well with his violin.” I don’t think my muddy boots, rumpled hair and generally wind-swept look were quite what they were used to and I felt no compulsion to hang around.

Leaving Thorpeness, there is no defined path along the beach, and I could not face more shingle, so I followed the Suffolk Coast and Heath path inland for a bit, along an old byway over heathland, covered in gorse. This took me into the largest pig farm I have ever seen. Hundreds of sides of bacon on the hoof, each with its own little Nissan hut shelter. Being spring, there was plenty of energetic courting going on.IMG_5843

Eventually, the path turned back towards the shore, and after passing through some light woodland on the cliff top, below an old hall, it dropped down to a very bleak grassy, sandy stretch running in front of huge Sizewell Power station. It looked quite as sinister as Bradwell, back in Essex, with a massive dark grey concrete monolith in the middle, flanked by slightly less sinister buildings with windows, and a futuristic geodesic hemisphere. The surrounding land is, strangely, a haven for wildlife, and the next eight miles were over sites of special scientific interest and nature reserves. I can’t say I saw anything more exotic than seagulls and a few magpies today.

The path climbs away from the sea up towards Dunwich, famous for its cliff fall. First, the route goes over a vast heath with all sorts of heather and gorse, with twisting sandy paths cross-crossing it (part of the Sandilands Way). It then goes through light woodland and into what is left of the village, past the ruins of a Franciscan friary, founded by Richard Fitzjohn and his wife Alice, in the early thirteenth century, then moved inland to its current site in 1289 by the burgesses of Dunwich but is only yards from the cliff edge now. It was dissolved in 1538.IMG_5880

I then followed the road for half a mile through the village, with some rather nice-looking pubs, before joining a wide track with wood and heath on either side. In due course this leads to Walberswick Marshes containing the biggest expanse of reeds I have ever seen – over five foot in height they spread in all directions, with the grey sea just visible from higher ground. Boardwalks have been formed, and one can meander through the reeds in all directions. I headed straight for the quay at Walberswick, where I had another great ferry trip. The boat this time was a small craft, seating about eight plus the oarsman, who was, in fact, a young woman. She was doing a roaring trade (although the fee was only 90 pence), but it wasn’t easy work, steering across a fast current on a very windy day. http://www.visitsouthwold.co.uk/articles/17728/Walberswick+FerryIMG_5889

On the north side, one can opt for the inland path or crunch over the shingle into Southwold – I went for inland. The town was heaving. I stopped for a quick drink, then got a taxi back to Aldeburgh driven by a fairly elderly Greek chap, who has lived in Lowestoft for a mIMG_5907ere three and a half years, but it hasn’t taken long for him to become a stereotypical taxi driver with tales of scroungers and benefit cheats…..

I had dinner back in Aldeburgh (see review) and am now cosy in my B&B.

Distance was 15.5 miles at an average of just under 2.6 miles per hour.

Day 42 – Felixstowe to Aldeburgh 19 April 2014

What a great, but exhausting day, in a new county. Suffolk. Trevor (may the gods of walking smile upon him) made the day very much better than I could have planned. To begin, he offered to pick me up in Aldeburgh and drop me back at Felixstowe, leaving at 7.45 from Aldeburgh, which saved me a long trip and a considerable amount of money at the end of the day. He also arranged the last, marvellous crossing of the Alde in a little tender owned by his friend, Alistair, without which I would have had to make a long cross country detour. IMG_5633

Tempted by the thought of multiple river crossings (and the promise of a bacon butty in Felixstowe, Chris was persuaded to join me again, despite having finished his duty of keeping me under surveillance in Essex when we reached East Mersea yesterday. So, an early departure from Colchester, creeping out so as not to wake Rita, brought us to Aldeburgh just before 8am. IMG_5655

We reached Felixstowe just before 9, and set out more or less from the point where the foot ferry from Harwich arrives. The ginormous cranes I mentioned in the Harwich walk looked even more impressive close to, and, in fact, remained visible for the most part of the day. The morning was bright, although we could see thick black clouds out to sea. The wind however was roaring in from the North East and howled all day, resulting in burnt faces and achey ears.

We stopped on the sea front for the promised bacon butty. It proved to be authentic seaside fare – white bread and marg (ugh), but good crispy bacon and excellent coffee.

Felixstowe sea front is an interesting mix of kiss-me-quick shacks and sheds, curvaceous 1930s architecture, and at the northern end, some Victorian splendour. We set off at a cracking pace, as with well over 20 miles to do and a tide to catch, we couldn’t hang about. The first excitement was the ferry across the river Deben. The river is some quarter mile across, and a ferry service runs in summer. As we walked inland, with the river to our left we speculated on which of the many craft could be the ferry. We followed the instructions at the tiny jetty to wave the ping-pong bat attached to a rope to call it in. IMG_5675Helpfully, a little boat with sign saying “ferry” in black hand-writing on white board was attached to the little cabin. The ferryman was unimpressed by our banter, but pulled himself together enough to wish us a good trip.

We crossed the choppy waters in a few minutes, and rang Trevor who was to meet us on the coast just east of Alderton. The walk round Bawdsey point was tough going. The path is on shingle which is very hard to walk on, the sky was lowering and the tide was coming in briskly. A number of signs saying beach impassable at high tide gave subliminal messages to go as fast as possible, which on shingle is much like running on the spot with weights attached to your thighs. We came to a narrow set of stairs up to the cliff top so decided to go up. The cliff top was covered with undergrowth, in particular Alexanders some 4 foot high. The whole of the inland side was fenced with a high mesh and stern MoD signs. The cliff top had eroded in parts, so some of the narrow bits were a bit unpleasant for someone who is not comfortable with heights. Still better than the shingle, though.

Far out at sea, we could see container ships, some so large we couldn’t believe they were ships and wondered if they could be gas platforms, but no, just ships.

We met Trevor on the sea wall just east of Alderton. The sea wall is not dissimilar from that which I have been following in Essex, but the countryside seems completely different – a much broader view all round, and the marshes are more like reed islands with much less mud.

An interesting feature along the stretch of coast is the prevalence of defensive military structures. Martello towers line the coast at half mile intervals, apparently there are 103 between Seaford (where I was last 6th April) and Aldeburgh, so I suppose I must have seen them all. There were pill boxes everywhere and mysterious other lumps of concrete. IMG_5669IMG_5783

After a further five or so miles, we met Sally, Stephen, Sarah and young Benjamin at the delightful Butley ferry. Run by volunteers it takes walkers across the river to Orford, saving a long trip inland. Overhead were egrets and even a couple of marsh harriers. The ferry was a rowing boat with no outboard, and our ferry man did a sterling job, taking us all over in one go. Sally crossed with us and a couple of miles through fields brought us to the chocolate box town of Orford, heaving with visitors. We stopped for excellent cake at the Riverside tea room (crunchy lemon for me – desperate for sugar by now as I had forgotten to bring my chocolate) and sticky date for Trevor and Chris. Sarah, Stephen and Benjamin then walked along with us, well, Benjamin rode in his father’s backpack, for another 4 miles along the sea wall. The wind was still frightful but the sky was blue and the views across to Orford Ness were lovely. Eventually, just opposite the Aldeburgh yacht club, where the Alde turns inland, Trevor’s colleague met us in his little tender and ferried us across. I was extremely grateful as 21.5 miles had taken it out of me. We were delighted to be reunited with Rita, whom we had missed at Orford, owing to the vagaries of phone signals.

I can confirm that my pedometer is nearly spot on – I measured it between two marker posts in Felixstowe, and am under- recording by a mere 1%, which I will adjust from now on.