Date : Saturday April 23rd 2016
Walkers : Phillips, Whitts & Mrs Taylor.
Guest Walkers : Sez Hamilton (plus Bailey and Indie) Dan the Wandering Mod
This was to be our longest walk yet. A total of 17 miles to Cromer or 15.4 miles to Overstrand if you bailed early (more of that later). Brief gathering in Sea Palling car park for the obligatory runners and riders photo followed by nip into public loo where I established once and for all, should any of you be in any doubt, that it is impossible to turn round in a cubicle if you are wearing a backpack.
Following days of warm spring sunshine this week the forecast for today was “cold northerly winds with light rain and occasional wintry showers”. Oh goodie. Both myself and Mrs Taylor had taken the preventative measure of wearing plasters before setting out in order to avoid a repeat of last time’s blistergate. Whitts wasn’t wearing sandals this time and both Sez and Dan had very professional looking footwear so all promised well. Bailey and Indie opted for no shoes at all.
It was a breezy and chilly walk along the top of the dunes past Eccles to Happisburgh where we were drawn like magnets by the sight of the stripey loveliness of the lighthouse. Even without binoculars we spied a darkly threatening cloud heading our way across the horizon but by a quirky twist of fate we made it to a strange open-fronted military shelter on the cliff top before the hail and wind arrived. Although the graffiti lent it an urban jungle feel we surmised that it was summat to do with the war, whatever it was we were very glad it was there.
Lunch was taken on the wooden groynes near Mundesley where much fun was to be had at the expense of Whitts’ home made energy balls (although next day I would be gagging for one myself) and Bailey clarified a point on which we had all been pondering i.e. do lurchers like quinoa salad. The answer was a resounding yes.
Mundesley was where we jettisoned our first guest walker of the day : Sez. Her husband Tom and son Joe were waiting for us in clear admiration/disbelief. Tom commented on the professional hiking look of the group, until he saw me. Very sad to see Sez go.
Headed more inland for the next section where this next leg was noteable for its caravan parks, huge coastal erosion (where we nearly lost Mrs T and Dan over the edge when their concentration temporarily lapsed during a discussion about Tamla Motown and shared headphones) but more worryingly an increasingly pronounced limp from Mrs Taylor.
By the time we reached Overstrand it was very clear that Mrs Taylor would have to call it a day. Whitts took charge of operations and managed to secure a pick up from The Grove Hotel (we love them) and I felt it my duty to accompany the invalid thereby sacrificing the last mile and a half. Whitts and Dan left on us a bench, informing the man on the other end of the phone that “You can’t miss them, they’re sitting on a bench looking very sorry for themselves, wearing bobble hats”.
The hotel chef turned up in his sporty number and whisked us off. It was only a matter of half an hour or so before we were joined by the remainder of the party for some tip top Black Shuck Gin in the lounge. We said our goodbyes to Dan who headed off to the train station as he had better things to do frankly.
Supper was delicious as was the red wine but I think we all agreed that we had hit an all time low when Mrs Taylor had to borrow a croquet mallet to lean on to make it back to the family room. I had to lean on Whitts but for other reasons.