Posted by: natsevs | November 23, 2010

Holbeach St Matthews to Cley-next-the-sea

The breakfast at the pub was a good one although I was still pretty full of curry from the night before so I struggled a little. The rain that was falling during the night had cleared when we got a lift back to Holbeach, or almost to Holbeach. The road out to the coast where I had been picked up was blocked because one of the lorries carrying sugar beet from the fields had come off the road slightly and tipped over in a ditch. We got out there and walked through the fields to the sea wall instead as more lorries arrived causing a bit of a jam. It didn’t take too long to get over to the sea wall which was now within a military area and the marshes beyond were a bombing zone. With the watch towers and military buildings out in the marsh the scenery was a tiny bit more interesting. The wind was going for it again but the rain held off until we were going in along yet another river up to Sutton Bridge.

We got up to the pub in Sutton Bridge where the car still was and stopped for a drink before mum and dad set off back home in the car. Whilst we were in the pub it tipped it down with rain but thankfully lessened before I set out again although I still got fully waterproofed up before I ventured into the misery. With the wind, the left side of me was completely dry but the right was drenched, it kept blowing my back cover off too so I was having to hold it in place. I had typically left my map in the car but one advantage of the boring terrain is that I knew I was just on levees for the rest of the day up to West Lyn. When I got to the river, the rain started letting off more and had stopped when I reached West Lyn. I had to go onto road through town but was back onto levees up to the bridge and back down the other side shortly before taking roads and path to Kings Lynn. A friend of my grandparents picked me up from there and I stayed at her house in Downton Market.

I woke up and had a decent breakfast before packing up my bag ready for another day. There was quite a lot of traffic on the way to Kings Lynn but the weather forecast was a lot more hopeful at least. I set off through the town at around 10 but had to go along the roads because there was no route along the coast. Once I had reached Castle Rising there were paths and a cycleway up to meet the A52 where I had to walk along the verge for a while. After a while I reached a small road out to Wolferton where there is an old royal railway station but the tracks no longer go through there. There was a road out of Wolferton through fields which soon became a track with signs saying it was a private road which I ignored as usual but didn’t have any trouble. The track went right along to the coastal part of Snettisham where I hit a spot of trouble. Directly in front of me was a water ditch so I had the option of walking seaward to hope for a way over or landward. I chose to go seaward and was completely blocked off still even though the map showed otherwise. When I went back the other way there was a bridge over and track onto the road out to the coast. I was finally back onto path again which was typically on a levee to start but soon dropped onto the beach.

At Heacham I came up to the promenade and walked that all the way to Hunstanton where I came to a cliff that was half orange and half white and quite pretty. I had to go up at that point and was onto the Norfolk coast path on the cliff tops. That took me past the lighthouse which was home the first parabolic reflector (Wikipedia it). I then met a guy coming the other way carrying a similar bag to me who was doing the Ridgeway Walk and had started from Lyme Regis. On from Hunstanton there was the old town then down to a golf course where a golfer told me that the path had been changed and the one I was about to walk on was horrible. He told me how to get to the proper one which was between the golf course and the dunes. Out of the golf course was a walkway through a nature reserve and I stopped just beyond there, before Thornton in a very quiet field.

A small wind started up in the night but I put in my headphones and listened to some music to drown it out which worked perfectly and I was off to sleep before the album was halfway through. My breakfast was cookies and crisps but at least the rain of the night had stopped. As I packed down the tent a tractor drove up to where I was and one of the two guys jumped out and came over to me. I thought it was going to be the moment I got some proper trouble for camping on farm fields but he asked me whether a car blocking their gate was mine. Once I’d said I was walking he seemed alright and actually wished me luck even though I didn’t say how far I was going so I guess they didn’t mind me camping there. I plodded off into Thornton which didn’t have a shop but did have a pretentious looking deli and café that I steered clear of. The coast path went inland to avoid the ‘A’ road but I stuck to the road as normal, it even had a footpath for once. Coming out of Brancaster there was a portakabin which held the village shop so I was able to get some decent food and some nicer drinks. I was back onto the coast path at Brancaster Staithe when I got to the harbour and followed it along the front with marshland on the seaward side of me.

The path goes out on a levee and was full of bird watchers, a group of people I would be seeing a lot of in the next few days. Before Burnham there is an annoying bit where the path goes in and back on itself before looping round into Burnham itself. The path back out from there was even busier with loads more birdwatchers who disappeared when I got to the beach at the end. The tide was right out making the beach massive and I walked along it in front of the dunes until Holkham Gap. The path in from there goes in to a car park then straight back out again through pine forest. It actually got a bit sunny at that point and people were out to make the most of it and I passed a few as I reached the beach north of Wells. I then came to another car park by which a new marina was being built up by some digger boat. A very straight road took me down into Wells-next-the-sea. It’s a nice looking place and when I went in to find a food shop I was very tempted to buy a cheap hat I saw to replace one of the lost ones but fought the urge. The path continues out by the marsh edge and at one bit loops in and round but the map shows another path cutting off the extra walk. The tide was right out and I thought I could see the footbridge so I got onto a slightly worn path to find the bridge was mostly absent and after checking the mud I decided going the long way was a safer option.

My legs were starting to ache along that stretch and I got to Marston just before 5 but carried on towards Blakeney. I had a radio interview just before Blakeney then I walked into there which is really pretty again but I didn’t have time to hang about because I needed to get out and find a camp spot before it got dark. I got out of town and walked the road unsuccessfully looking for decent looking places to camp either side. I got right to Cley-next-the-sea so then had to get out of there as well with it starting to get quite dark now. Going out from Cley the path came to the beach which was surprisingly busy still including a school party walking around. I finally stopped on a very small patch of grass between the beach and a nature reserve with minimal shelter from the wind.

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