Posted by: natsevs | November 30, 2010

Ipswich to Old Hall Creek

I had bought a sandwich the previous day so I had that for breakfast and packed my stuff back into my bag. I rang a taxi then headed down to wait for its arrival at reception. I had another nice taxi driver who dropped me by the other Travelodge pointing out where the footpath goes across to the bridge from. All in all the stay in a nice room had only cost me the £15 return taxi fare so it was probably worth it. The path zigzags towards the river making it twice as far to walk as it should have been but it was better than walking on the road. I came to a house and loads of caravans and was blocked off unless I climbed into their garden so had to go back and find how the path got the other side. I found a badly signed turn off a bit further up and was able to get round and onto the riverside. The maps showed that the path went onto the bridge but now I was on the river it didn’t look possible because the bridge was way above the side of the river. I came in instead on a track to walk to where a bank rises up to the bridge but it turns out that I needn’t have because that track looped round and met the path where steps rose up to the road and bridge. The view from the top was quite a good one as long as I didn’t look on the pathway as that was strewn with all sorts of traffic debris and rubbish. On the other side, I came down to a field and had to go back on myself get back to the river side where I met a photographer from the local paper. I barely had to break stride for the photos which was perfect. I was on the road no down the other side of the river before starting across to loop over to the next river. Roads and path took me to Holbrook, where I got some snacks from a village shop, then I continued mostly on road to Brantham and Cattawade. The bridge over the next river was between Cattawade and Manningtree and I went over and got onto a levee path before coming into Manningtree proper.

It was more road as I walked out of there to Mistley with its impressive towers (remnants of a church) and along the front there were loads of swans and geese. Soon I was able to get away from the road under the railway and onto the Essex way along the river side. The way was quite muddy as it is right in the marshy area but then comes up through a reserve where I had to make my way back to the road briefly once more. When I was back on the riverside I got onto a track over to Harwich, there were a few possible camping spots but I thought it was too early. That also took me past gas terminals and docklands and other delights before coming onto the road at the ferry terminal. Now in Harwich I needed a camp spot and I didn’t really have many options at all because I needed to get round the point and it was already getting dark. As I was passing a B&B I though I’d see if they had room, which they did but it was a twin and not as cheap as I would have liked. After trying to find if there were any other B&Bs though, it seemed the one I’d knocked on was the best option so I went back and that’s where I ended up staying after a trip to Lidl for some nice cheap food.

 

I woke up at 3am to find I had fallen asleep with the TV on and it was now showing the cage going down to get the first of the trapped Chilean miners. When I woke up properly 4 of them had been pulled to safety. After breakfast I sorted my stuff and headed out into Harwich. I walked to the main road then along the edge of it towards the end with no path most of the way. At the end I went over a level crossing to get onto the southern shore to follow the promenade back the other way. That took me past some interesting structures on the beach. At a leisure centre I had to come onto the road to then have a mixture of road and path all round the Naze. There was one track that I thought I could get all the way along but there was a sign saying something about explosives and that trespassers will be prosecuted so there was a winding path as an alternative. Another path was pretty much absent thanks to the farmer so I was pushing my way through bushes and over ditches. Once I got out to the road I was on it all the way to Walton where I got money out as the B&B had emptied my wallet. When I got to the front I started heading south, happy to be on the actual coast again for a while. After passing the pier, which is a pretty long one, I came to a part where there are more beach huts than I have ever seen in one place before. The huts were 4 deep up the slope and I walked along the promenade in front of them to and through Frinton. The sea wall continues on from there to Clacton and it was so much quicker to be going in a straight line at last.

Clacton Pier was actually quite nice then out of there I passed a golf course to get into Jaywick. Jaywick was an experience, it starts with beach houses behind the promenade but then you get shells of houses before coming to the bit with cracked concrete roads and houses in various states. About a quarter were boarded up and it looked as close to a shanty town as you would get in Britain. There was then a caravan site to pass before staying on the sea wall to continue onwards with farmland as company. It was along there that I stopped in a field to camp for the night with the temperature fast dropping.

 

Thanks to putting on extra layers I was actually quite warm in the night but it was freezing when I got out of the tent in the morning. I carried on along the sea wall to Lee over sands then to a track road up to St Osyth. Up there I had to go back on myself then round to the proper road towards Point Clear and I rang the ferry people along the way. The guy said he couldn’t hear me even though he was replying to what I was saying but I tried again further on and got a woman who said I would be able to get over to Mersea. I met up with a journalist and photographer along there and Will (the journalist) walked with me for a bit whilst asking questions.

Point Clear is basically one big caravan site so I walked through that and out onto the beach to wait for the ferry man to come and collect me. As I waited a seal swam about in the harbour getting dive bombed by sea gulls. The ferry came and landed on the beach then took me over to the eastern shore of Mersea. I set off along the edge of the island with the path rising up slightly before stopping so I had a drop down to get onto the beach. Walking the beach of the south shore there was a big group of students looking at the sea defences and stuff. I passed a caravan site then an outdoor centre to get to West Mersea, staying on the front on road and path. I came in briefly to find a shop then returned to the front to walk by the marina where there were quite a few people out for a stroll. Back on the sea wall I got onto the north shore and to the bridge off the island with my water empty and no shops to be seen. On the other sides there were roads all the way to Great Wigborough where I was able to get onto a path down to Salcott. Going through Salcott there was an old guy who gave me one of the blackest looks I have had for no real reason. There was another path that took me to Old Hall farm from there and then onto the sea wall once more for quite a while. I got round almost to Tollesbury but stopped before there because I figured the shops would be closed and this way I would be able to get to them straight away in the morning. As I was setting up a few dog walkers came by but none said anything.

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