Day four

Day Four

Time : 10.44 a.m. – yet another delayed departure as we nipped into Lidl where we bought dried mango, mixed nuts and a hammock (mad not to at just £6.99).

Starting point : The Old Hall Hotel, Caster-on-Sea 
IMG_3722Sad to go really, grown quite fond of the old place what with the mobile homes parked up out front and omelette cut up into tiny, tiny pieces masquerading as scrambled eggs.

Route : Caister-on-Sea to Sea Palling and don’t spare the horses/blisters

New drone footage of the walk:

Bit more of a nip in the air this morning so Whitts decided to pack ‘longs’ as well as shorts but we were laughing in the face of that decision later, as once again the factor 15 was put to use. Had quite a firm talking to about the state of my feet and appropriate footwear etc. before we set off. Fair enough. Although this came from someone wearing red sandals. However, without the attentions of Dr Whitts and the box of Compeed plasters I suspect Day Four may have been a non-starter for me.

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First surprise of the day (after the scrambled eggs) was coming across the extremely grand and rather beautiful memorial in Caister churchyard to the nine crew of the lifeboat ‘Beauchamp’, drowned in November 1901 in a freakishly grim accident. Then off out along the dunes and down onto the sands up towards California (always wanted to go there….)

The aim was to walk the five miles to Winterton-on-Sea then stop for lunch at the Fishermen’s Rest public house. Quite a big ask I thought, but by jove we did it. Pausing only to empty vast amounts of sand from my trainers and to catch breath as we put the world to rights for a solid two hours. Noticed our first lifeguard on duty too, athletic young man at Hemsby #boredsenseless.

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Lunch at Winterton was a flipping treat despite being served by surly barman. “We’ve just walked five miles up from Caister” announced Whitts cheerfully at the bar as a conversation opener. “I walk five miles every day in this pub” replied the barman. I wanted to do something bad to him with my car keys so we took our lunches outside. HUGE crab salads, with shrimp buttered new potatoes and pints of cider. That did the trick.

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Closer inspection of my feet revealed I was now up to five blisters so Dr. Whitts swung into action. I commented that it was a good job that I had brought a long sleeved top as I think it was Ernest Shackleton who ripped the sleeves off his jacket with which to bind his poor feet. Whitts thought I had very little grounds for drawing a comparison between myself and Shackleton. I let that pass as I knew I was being very brave and she was probably still smarting from the barman’s comment.

The original plan was to meet up with Merty with the support vehicle (and support dogs) at some point on this last stretch between Winterton and Sea Palling, once we’d given him our timings. After 6 texts and 4 phone calls it became apparent that he had set off 3 hours early and rendezvous eventually took place at Horsey Dunes. Before that we walked through some pretty lovely dune scapes and marvelled at the flora and fauna of the marshes behind the dunes (we’d had two pints of cider).

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IMG_3743The elusive seals finally put in an appearance on this stretch of the coast and we even came across a very beautiful, big eyed seal pup on the beach waiting for its mum to return. Blimey they’re vulnerable. Even made me stop whining about my blisters for five minutes. Sea Palling finally reached at 5.15 p.m. with another 12.9 miles under our belts. Very chuffed. Merty also very chuffed as his car park ticket was due to run out at 5.20 pm and he really didn’t want to get clamped…..

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The map continues to take shape, although when viewed as a proportion of the coastline it’s rather daunting: The Big Walk

Day Three

Date : August 4th 2015

Time : 9.44 a.m. (Planned 9.30 departure slightly delayed by cappuccino ordering at The Lighthouse Diner and debate over how Whitts could procure an Americano. Two Espressos poured into one mug solved that one).

Starting point : The Lighthouse Diner, Lowestoft.

Guest walker of the day : Mrs Helen Taylor  

  

 Very chirpy outlook as less windy and much warmer than forecast. Headed out to the beach past strange wooden constructions, various suggestions as to their purpose ranged from large hurdles (?) to fish drying poles. Information board explained that they had been part of the rope making industry hereabouts. Now you know. First information board had “I’m going to smash your face Bruce, stay away from Stella” written across it. So Bruce now you know too. (Names have been changed to protect their identities).

Lovely, sunny morning. Whitts pointed out that we would probably see a lot of seals en route today. Within minutes we had seen one. On closer inspection it turned out to be a football. We didn’t see any seals for the rest of the day. Or footballs.

The inevitable detour due to coastal erosion came upon us at Corton. Whitts struck out with happy disregard for various “No trespassing” signs but intervened when Helen suggested scaling the semi-eroded cliff face. “Laws are made to be broken” announced Whitts “but I am risk averse”. This took everyone by surprise.  

    
    
 Stopped for small refreshment break close to Hopton where Whitts and Mrs Taylor threw caution to the wind and decided to have a dip. First injury sustained by Whitts when she jarred her back descending the breakwater at speed in her haste to go swimming. This is just one of the reasons why I don’t go swimming off the British coast.

  

  

  

Great Yarmouth was our lunch stop. Headed up along the River Yare to sit on a concrete lump for our picnic and watch a very large orange ship arrive at some speed. Helen had forgotten her fork and Whitts had no packed lunch at all (risk averse ? ) so received food donations until tuna mayonnaise sandwiches could be purchased on the front. Walking through Yarmouth we noted that there were very few people striding with purpose and even less women of a certain age carrying back packs. We were attracting quizzical looks. Not simply due to our extraordinary glamour. Stumbling upon the very beautiful Fishermen’s Hospital was a bit of a find though.

    

 After lunch it was a relatively leisurely three mile stroll along the sandy marshes up to Caister on Sea. Holiday caravan parks were thick on the ground here. Saw a very beautiful but now derelict boating lake and coffee house from the 1920s/1930s. Could wax lyrical here but won’t bore you. Sedate last stretch as blister making its presence felt for me and Mrs Taylor was hobbling a tad with her dodgy knee. Tranquility only broken by some insensitive soul phoning Mrs Taylor on her mobile. Realised that it was in fact me phoning her by accident from my pocket.

 Arrived at the Old Hall Hotel, Caister at 4.45 pm with 13.6 miles under our belts. Swimming pool, jacuzzi and steam room was a bit of a bonus as was the round of gin and tonics in the bar afterwards. I managed to throw an entire gin and tonic all over myself and it was probably very timely that Mr Taylor appeared to collect Mrs Taylor as I fear we were a little over tired and our motor skills were beginning to go. Surprisingly good night’s sleep on variety of not so bouncy beds…… 

Detailed planning for days three and four

Senior Phillips was brought in for logistics:

Daddy Phillips has been looking at the map. 12 miles on from Lowestoft pier is almost directly behind Great Yarmouth race course – yikes. We could attempt to push on through to Caister where there’s a car park by the Life Boat Station, that would be 13ish miles rather than 12. Reckon we can do that don’t you ? Lunch could be interesting, reckon we’ll be at Hopton or Gorleston….
We’re back on the 24th so have a week to finalise all the madness then.
Lots of love,
Phillips x

Phillips had a lovely time in Paxos. There was a then a slight hiatus whilst we waited to see whether Mertz’s foot was broken or not, had it been broken we were looking at 6 weeks in plaster, which would have meant postponement but fortunately:

The diagnosis is a tendon tear, had it snapped altogether it could have been worse than a break. If the diagnosis is correct then the momentary swelling, heat etc. was from internal bleeding. Prognosis is good if he does as he is told, so he needs to be watched like a hawk: rest this week, short walks only with a bespoke support under his arch. Then if that helps he can go for longer walks next week when he is on holiday, and even play a bit of golf. He will be given exercises to stretch the tendon slowly. Cycling is encouraged.
He seems to have confidence in the clinic and the podiatrist, who specialises in sports injuries, so this means he will listen to him. Perhaps I could clone him and use him as a translator.
X
Then we got into planning proper after an impromptu beach picnic with Mrs. Taylor, who has decided to join us for day three and now we have a plan proper:
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Mrs. Taylor
(although it nearly didn’t happen as the first email when awry)
I just sent this to myself. Idiot. x
Whiiiitttttssss,
Thank you for impromptu hosting of small swimming party yesterday. Your beach hut is a veritable treasure trove – what with Marvel, dog food and tiny drinks table I think you pretty much had it covered, thank you. Now, to be on the safe side I’m reckoning an hour and a quarter for me to reach Caister so shall I meet you there at 0830. 0900 departure from Lowey Pier with Mrs Taylor (and packed lunches on board ?). Maybe we  could garner day four lunch en route. Will remember to bring hair band, sunglasses and some sort of goose fat for my face this time.
Really looking forward to it,
Phillips x
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Philiiiips! SO good to see you, that’s what beach huts are for. I suspect I should get a new tub of Marvel though, I think the sell by date was 2013, but as I haven’t heard that any of you were sick it might still be OK.

 
Having looked at the forecast it seems goose fat essential, full sun and wind in the morning, with rain possible by 4pm.
 
Now, here’s a new possible plan bearing Mrs Taylor in mind… would this mean more miles for you?
 
You drive to Lowie rather than Caister, Mertz drops me at Mrs Taylor’s and we drive to Lowie to meet you, here I’m assuming she’s getting a lift from Mr Taylor, but this is because they said they only had one car at the moment…
 
We walk to Caister where we have no car because we actually don’t need one here, and it means we aren’t doing the return journey for no reason.  I’m assuming Mr Taylor is expecting to pick Mrs Taylor up somewhere en route or there, is that so?
 
Wednesday we walk to Sea Palling where Mertz meets us en route, (BUT NOT VERY FAR) and we walk on together to his car (NOT THE OLD ALFA) and he drives us back to Lowie, where you pick up you car.

X
Whiiiitttts,
Just perusing the map. Do you think it would be better to start at Lowestoft Ness instead of the pier? It looks like there’s a car park there and I quite like the thought of starting at a landmark again, what do you reckon ? The only problem with no car at Caister is that we’ll have to carry our overnight stuff in our back packs which is not really ideal. Looks like the only really tricky bit is going to be navigating our way around Great Yarmouth…
Speak later,
Phillips x
Good point re overnight stuff. What are Mrs. Taylor’s plans?
X
 
At the moment she’s meeting us at Lowestoft Pier at 9 a.m., being dropped off and collected by Mr Taylor. Just think Lowestoft Ness might be a better starting/meeting point.
x
It’s a bit rough round there, factories etc, how about meeting where we actually finished…! There’s loads of parking there.
X
To be frank, the less we do around Lowestoft the better. Looks like there’s a car park further along North Beach and then we can just step on out up past Pleasurewood Hills and on up to Corton
x
OK, although the bit between Kirkley and the pier is probably the nicest bit of Lowie!

Lets meet here: The Lightouse Diner
I’ll plot the map on the Big Walk Map.
We are taking the Not Quite as Shit Alfa Romeo to the garage first thing tomorrow and Mertz now has an ankle brace thing as well and the insert for his shoe so is planning to meet us for part of Day 4 at Winterton for part of the walk, then drive up to Sea Palling or Happisburgh to meet us and bring us back to Caister. The foot is improving, but I’m hoping he won’t overdo it…  

X

Day Two

Date : April 18th 2015

IMG_2405Time : 10 a.m. (near as darn it after stocking up with provisions from the Walberswick Deli; we meant to make the most of this opportunity, there won’t be many more like it on this trip)

Location : Walberswick  (well done Merty for cooking us supper last night and sending us on our way again)

Aim : With 12 1/2 miles already in the bag we were optimistic for a big old day

Walberswick to Southwold was a relaxed and relatively uneventful start to day two, apart from taking our life in our hands as we crossed the fair way on Southwold Golf Course. Saturday morning golfers take no prisoners. Stole a couple of chip forks from Southwold Pier in order to consume our lunch time salads and leisurely watched a beach hut being lifted up in the air by a crane (assume the occupants were still asleep).

IMG_2411Headed off along the Suffolk Coastal Path to be met with triple whammy of coastal erosion, county council footpath closure signs and the whims of a cross local landowner.

IMG_2414 IMG_2413 IMG_2418As a consequence there was an extraordinarily large diversion inland that involved a lift from aforementioned Merty who was keen to point out that he was trying to mow the lawn. The Dunkirk spirit turned into sheer bloodymindedness when faced with further footpath closures – trespassing ensued along with a lot of muttering about ineffectual local authorities and power mad land owners. If I didn’t know better I could have sworn the inner rambler in us was taking hold.

IMG_2421Any road up, eventually we made our way along a really quite bucolic track towards the coast at Covehithe where we found the perfect spot for our deli lunch. Out of the wind and finally back on the beach. On the verge of tucking into our feta cheese quiche when a young English Bull Terrier joined us who was a) very friendly b) quite keen on quiche c) bonkers. Boris was his name. Boris’ slightly exasperated owner arrived on the scene and wished us well.IMG_2426

IMG_2428The large amount of sand that ended up in the quiche was I suspect due in no small part to Boris’ arrival. The sand in our nose, eyes and oddly inside our socks was I suspect just down to the unrelenting head wind that hit us as we headed north up towards Kessingland. Few words were exchanged over the next two hours apart from “I need to stop and empty the sand out of my shoe/sock/mouth”.

IMG_2435The home stretch, in front of Kessingland, turned into a strange lunar landscape of cracked sand and marram grass with few hardy souls braving it. Apart from us and a man carrying an extremely large bottle of water who was chanting some kind of mantra. Who are we to judge though as I suspect we weren’t looking the right side of sane ourselves. Finally arrived in Kirkly, south Lowestoft, at about 4.20 p.m. Big effort but strange twinge in back of left thigh and Whitts’ gouty toe playing up meant that we may have over egged it today. Foot spa worked miracles though and with Merty back on supper duty this evening we were already planning our next walk.

Total distance covered on foot (not including the lift): 15.4 miles

(Post script by the other walker – quote of the day as we approached Lowestoft and I called back to say we could probably get a lift from here “Right, how do we get of this f***ing beach…?!”

To be continued……

Day one

IMG_2364Date : April17th 2015

Time : 10.18 a.m.  (slightly later than planned due to a good five minutes trying to work out if  Whitts’ car could be locked without having to set alarm, gave this up as a bad job)

Location : Benjamin Britten Memorial, beach between Aldeburgh and Thorpeness (really quite a lot nearer Aldeburgh than Whitts had said)

Aim : Walk from Thorpeness to Walberswick, back in time for G & T and footspa (latter kindly loaned by youngest son)

Weather : Sunny but a tad on the blowy side

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Gratifying to see that the front cover of the map featured the very landmark that we had chosen to start The Big Walk but not sure we’ve got the hang of selfies yet.

Roughly 400 metres into our 4,500 mile walk I was considering how best to break it to Whitts that I had made a terrible error. Walking into the wind, eyes streaming, nose running, shingle sucking the life out of me below my feet – there’s no way that I could possibly go on. Not for the first time in my life I had bitten off more than I could chew. I could see that Whitts was talking to me as she was striding ahead gesticulating as she went, however the howling wind and the inordinately loud shingle ensured that I could hear nowt. Kept my mouth shut and battled on. I’m extraordinarily brave. Whitt is extraordinarily fit and healthy.

IMG_2373Spent quite a large amount of time testing various routes on beach. Big shingle, small shingle, dry sand, wet sand. All felt we were walking backwards. Don’t like shingle. This maybe a drawback as we’re walking the coast of Britain.

IMG_2387 Arrived at Dunwich at 2 p.m. for best Fish & Chips ever consumed. Whitts said we were bang on schedule. I didn’t realise there was a schedule. Whitts asked if I could make sure she didn’t “bolt” her haddock and chips down in one. We had just walked nearly seven miles into a head wind and I could see how she was eyeing that plate of food. I felt it was best not to get between them.

IMG_2391Perked up no end after carbohydrates and heading inland onto the Dingle marshes between Minsmere and Dunwich. Very pretty, very sheltered and very nearly home.

IMG_2394Arrived at Walberswick at 4 p.m. (apparently still on schedule). Arrived at pub at 6 p.m. Gin and Tonics necked. Strange red wind burn on face replaced by flush of alcohol and smugness. There’s nothing to this walking lark, you simply put one foot in front of the other.
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24 hours to go

This is the intention for Day one and is calculated upon the need to start gently, have emergency support if needed, be able to eat chips and drink cider and to end up in a warm bed: Map – Day one

Starting point – Thorpe Road car park

Finish point – Walberswick

Distance – 18.4km/11.4miles

Just received this:

Whiiiiittts,
Back in Norfolk and packing. Swung by supermarket on way home and purchased, 6 bottles of water, 2 bars of chocolate, 2 bottles of red wine and a large pack of plasters. What could possibly go wrong ?
See you bright and early in the morning.
Phillips x

Should we really be allowed out on our own at all…?

The technical issues continue and during our final pre-walk phone call it became apparent that we were talking about totally different dates:
Whiiiittts,
Really still can’t log in to our blog. If I can’t master the basic computer skills to post something on our blog and you have all the final details for our inaugural big walk perfectly organised but for the wrong two days should we be allowed out on our own ? I’m not sure we’ll be able to find the front door to even get out of the house let alone walk the coast of Britain.
Still, onwards and upwards.
Phillips x
In addition, Phillips’s boots are still giving her a blister, but the good news is we’ve scheduled the first day so that we make it to the fish and chip shop in Dunwich for lunch. At least we got something right…

Up and running

To be fair there will be absolutely no running whatsoever on this adventure, but the title refers to technology. We had agreed that we’d post independently but as one of us has had a dead laptop I received this message:

Now back up and running although I suspect not for long. Message that came up on the screen basically said “Your hard drive is totally and utterly shot to pieces. Buy yourself a new laptop.” And I can’t log in.

So on her behalf:
March 10th : “Brand new (rigid) walking boots have arrived. Took Whitts’ advice to start breaking them in as soon as possible. Wearing pyjamas and walking boots when answered door to carpet fitter. Carpet fitter passed no comment.”
March 12th : “First proper walk in new boots. Trod in dog s**t.”
March 13th : “First blister.”
(there were no pictures of the blister provided)

It started like this

Hoy, hoy,

Right, it seems that we’ve got just over 5,500 miles ahead of us around the coast of Britain but bring it on…. Thinking that our inaugural walking weekend should be a very gentle introduction (followed by several more very gentle ones) so how about the new Sea Palling to Weybourne coastal path ? That will knock off a whole 23 miles from the grand total. Based on that walking rate we should be finished in the year 2235 so we may have to up the ante at some point but let’s not go berserk to begin with.

Was also thinking that we might be able to book ourselves in to the Hamiltons for B&B over night on the Saturday night, you never know we may be able to persuade them to join us. More the merrier I say (plus they’ll be able to help you carry me to the car at the end of the first day’s walking).

Let me know when you reckon would be good…..

Phillips x


Philliiips!

Please forgive any typos as I am squished into a commuter train next to a fat man eating and belching grapes. The idea of walking the coast is keeping me sane, I wish my nostrils could be filled with the fresh air of the coast right now though. I hate the smell of commuters, cheap pastries and farts mostly.
This is jolly exciting and I will look at the walk when I get home, when are you thinking? Mertz and Barney have booked their slot and it can’t be the same weekend! Good idea about getting the Hamilton s involved, even if only as a r period party… X

Whiiittts,
We’ve just been staying with Janet down in Bath (she’s been walking the British Coast for years – literally) and she’s loaned us a book written by Jannina Tredwell who is, I suspect, of a certain age and walked the whole lot in a year and it’s rather brilliantly called ‘A bit far for you dear’. Perfect x

Philliiiips,

‘A bit far for you dear’ – shall henceforth be the subject heading for any emails upon the subject of our walk. Is this our plan: http://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/england-coast-path ?

X


Yep that’s the baby x


Controversial, but don’t you think it makes sense for us to start from here…? We literally walk out of the door and up to to Lowestoft, I have the Suffolk Coastal walk pack as we’ve done it a few times as far as Kessingland. It would also mean that we could have the aim of getting me home…! Let’s discuss on Rugby day and keep this email thread going, so as to have a record of decisions made etc.


Whiiiiitttts,

Can you do Friday April 17th & Saturday April 18th for The Big Walk (T.B.W.) ? Just spoke to Mum and they can have the boys for a few days for me – get in. Just off to buy boots.

Phillips x

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