Stage 3

Stage 3

Map of stage 3 Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7
(Click on the map section to jump to the description of the day)

Bad News

It is Spring 1995 and Roger has some bad news for Brian, his erstwhile school pal and walking colleague of the last two summers.

The walk is off!

Roger cannot go, he has to go to straight to the hospital waiting list; do not pass go; do not collect £200 (or 200 blisters). All our plans, so carefully nurtured over the previous year, have to be postponed so that Roger's hernia can be pushed back into place & stitched up. The walk is off until next Summer.

The enforced rest & time off work do not compensate either of us for the lost opportunity. Both Brian and I miss our walking holiday. Never mind the pain of sore feet and aching legs, the memory of the achievement is stronger, and lasts longer.

Over the next twelve months we refine our plans and find that our ardour has not been dampened in the slightest. If anything the delay has whetted our appetite even more. This leg of our walk requires much more thought than previous years. The East Yorkshire coast in particular has a distinct lack of places to stay. The River Humber is a major obstacle to overcome. Early on we decided to walk from Hornsea to the Humber estuary; then catch a bus to Cleethorpes and start walking again. Our final destination after 3/4 days walking is likely to be Mablethorpe.

There are so many imponderables however. The distances between the coastal towns and villages is not ideal. Hornsea to Withernsea is a long day's walk, with no obvious place to break the journey. The next stage is awkward with only a couple of small villages, Easington and Kilnsea, at the land end of Spurn Head. But is accommodation available at either of them. How far do we intend walking down Spurn Head. We would both like to walk its length, but a round trip is virtually a day's walk and we would end up back where we started! Having reached Easington/ Kilnsea we then have to get round the Humber. Is there a bus service? Will we have to walk half way to Hull to catch the bus?

During the intervening year several things happened which significantly affect the walk . The first was the decision to spend a full week away. This meant we would almost certainly reach Skegness, as well as giving our long suffering families two week-ends at the sea-side as they drop us off & pick us up at the end. The second was Roger's family holiday to Spain in the October '95 half term. Sarah met a friend who lives in Skegness. The holiday romance between the two young teenagers blossomed courtesy of the GPO. This alone made it essential that we reach Skeggy.

Stage 3 Gets Underway Way At Last

Friday, 12th July 1996 saw both families converge on Hornsea. Brian and company arrive about an hour before we do. We have booked into the same guest house Brian and I finished at last time. Sarah and Lisa even share the same room that we had 2 years ago.

Day 1

Day 1 walk map graphic Photograph Photograph Photograph Photograph Photograph Photograph Photograph Photograph Photograph Photograph

The Saturday dawns warm and dry. The breakfast is good and sets us up for the day. We eventually get away at 09.45, a little later than we had hoped but in the circumstances of having to pose for photographs etc. not a disaster. We start off along the promenade and then onto the beach at the edge of town. The day has become very hot, very quickly. We are both grateful that we have plenty of water. Our previous walks demonstrated the risks of dehydration.

We spend most of the day walking on the beach, passing Mappleton and the military ranges at Cowden. Many spent mortar and large calibre rifle shells are strewn on this stretch of beach. The dramatic effects of the coastal erosion are plain to see - bricks half way down the beach washed round by the sea and large piles of clay on the beach at the foot of the low cliffs.

By lunch time we leave the beach to ask the locals where we are. We have reached East Newton, half a mile further on than we think, and have passed the pub at Aldbrough.

The map shows the start of a cliff top path, which will make a pleasant change to the beach, but we are warned that the residents of Ringborough Farm treasure their privacy. A long debate ensues. Do we go back to the beach, or walk inland around the farm or ignore the advice? We decide to ignore the advice because we would have gone that way if had not told - also the path is a right of way. In the event we meet no one and have no problems.

The day remains very hot despite the slight breeze. We leave the cliff at Manor Farm & head for Tunstall, a small village about a mile inland. We take this slight deviation hoping to find a cafe or pub as our water is getting low. There is no pub and no cafe. We finish the last of our water on the road side and Roger draws the short straw.

Roger has to go ask for water. I enter a farm yard in the centre of the village to be greeted by a Scotty dog determined to defend his patch. The much larger farm dog just chills out in the afternoon heat. The dog's yelps and growls attract the farmer. We get our water and head back to the coast. Scotty meanwhile, having ensured the strangers haven't caused any trouble, swaggers down the road - master of all he surveys.

We set off again and head back to the coast. At the cliff top there is a small caravan park with a cafe. If we had stayed on the coast we could have been here an hour ago.....

We have our first cup of tea of the day at about 4.00pm. The chef is very friendly and is able to recommend the Crown & Anchor at Kilnsea for the following night. This is reassuring as we now know there is at least one place to stay.

An hour later we reach the outskirts of Withernsea. This last stretch has been quite hard, not because of the terrain, which has been flat and easy walking all day, but because we are feeling tired. We ask several people for directions, and each one guides us closer to our destination. We are pleased that we booked our digs in advance, the hassle of finding digs would have been too much. The last person we ask says "Well, you'll be pleased to know it's only 100 yards down the road; you look knackered". We are. Foot sore and weary we arrive.

After a shower & change we go out in search of food. Withernsea is a microcosm of the English seaside town. It will never be a Blackpool or Margate, but is pleasant enough. Having walked round the town centre we end up in the fish & chip restaurant closest to our digs.

On our return we order a couple of pints of beer, for Brian has booked us into a licensed guest house (we are getting better organised). There is no beer! The landlady suggests we go to the supermarket & buy some. They have run down the bar stocks because they go on holiday the next day. We spend a pleasant evening in conversation with a Scots apprentice who works at the gas terminal at Easington. He is able to tell us a lot about the place. His news is all good. Apparently Easington is quite prosperous, with several B&B's, due in part to the two gas terminals that have been built on the outskirts.

Roger's come-uppance has come. Three blisters on day 1 - previous walks - nil. Brian has none - previous walks - several. Our landlady asks if we are walking for charity and offers a donation if we are. She is the first of many people who are amazed when we say we are doing it for fun. Brian tries to phone home - no answer. Brian has tried several times during the evening with the same result. He is becoming quite concerned.

Day 2

Day 2 walk map graphic Photograph Photograph Photograph

After breakfast we both try to phone home before leaving Withernsea. Brian still can't get Karen, but I manage to talk to Helen; the rest of the family are still in bed.

We are both very stiff & uncomfortable to start with. Brian appears to be suffering less than me, I have to make a conscious effort to walk properly and not favour my blisters. In all it takes over 30 minutes to get a rhythm going. We take a more sedate pace today which suits the hot conditions. We manage 45 minutes before the first break, it was an hour yesterday. We entertain hopes of reaching Easington for the start of the Grand Prix at 2.00pm.

We stop for our second break of the day at Holmpton. We see yet another example of the damage caused by erosion. One barn has partially collapsed over the cliff edge and the remaining farm buildings may not last ten years. For the moment they are intact and bar our way. It appears that a detour inland, which will add a mile or so, is required. We are just about to set off when we hear voices coming from the collapsed barn. Two small girls and with a dog tell us that there is a path round the edge of the barn. We give it a go and there is plenty of room. In twelve months time we doubt if it will be possible to clamber over the fallen masonry.

We wonder how the locals feel about the coastal erosion. We have seen little effort being made to control nature's forces except in the centre of Withernsea. Despite the erosion people just seem to be getting on with life. Away from the towns the farmers crop very close to the cliff edge in places. This makes for very watchful walking; and some brave farmers as the clay cliffs are undercut in many places.

An hour or so later we decide to leave the cliff top at Cliff Farm. The coastal path runs out near here and we don't want to walk on the beach. By following a track and then a road for about a mile we can pick up a footpath across the fields before reaching the road into Dimlington and Easington. We have lunch here and although Easington is not far off we will not get there in time for the Grand Prix. The couple who live here have just come back from a holiday and we have a brief chat. They are concerned about the coastal erosion but feel they will be safe for a good few years yet. They remind us that we must take plenty of water if we are to walk in such hot weather and invite us to refill our bottles before we leave. We really do meet some kind people on these trips.

After 15 minutes or so we reach the footpath (which is signed) along the edge of the field. The farmer, bless his little cotton socks, has cropped right up to the edge. There is about a foot gap between the ditch and the crop. This makes for very stressful walking as one has to watch every foot fall. I am exceedingly cheesed off with this particular individual.

We reach the end of the field and look for the path that should strike off diagonally across the next field. Here the farmer has cropped right over the path. My mood, which has been getting steadily blacker, finally turns very sour. I am hot & tired; my feet hurt and now the path is blocked. Brian tries to lift my spirits but his valiant efforts are not wholly successful. With more consideration for the farmer than he has for the rights of way on his land, we set off along the edge of the field. Again every foot fall has to be watched, failure to do so could easily result in a twisted ankle or worse.

We eventually reach the road to Dimlington. We are pleased to rest at the Esso gas terminal. This is where our Scottish apprentice works. The neatly manicured lawn outside the high wire fence provides a very comfortable bed to lie on while we take our ease. We follow the road into Easington, with the Esso terminal on our right. We are soon joined by the British Gas terminal on our left. The security measures at both sites are formidable. There are two perimeter fences with what appear to be infra-red detectors scanning the no man's land between. The outer fences are topped with trembler wires; and video cameras on their tall towers are posted all round the perimeter. Both stations serve as landing points for the gas piped in from the North Sea.

We trek into Easington and seek digs. We wander around the village for about an hour in something of a trance. The guest houses are not responding to our knocks and the pub, The Granby, is pricey - £20 per head. The walking today and yesterday has taken more out of us than we realise. Only later do we realise that we are in trouble. Several of the classic early signs of de-hydration are present - an inability to make decisions, excessive tiredness etc.

After much to-ing & fro-ing and a couple of pints of orange squash at one of the other pubs in the village we decide to phone the number on the door of the Corner Cottage Guest House. The landlady has gone shopping and gets a neighbour to let us in. We have two singles - the first time in all our walks we haven't had to share a twin. Brian tries to phone home - still no joy. During the course of the day Brian has tried to use his mobile phone, but that is not even connecting!

That evening we go to the Granby for a meal - no hot food but excellent sandwiches. We are able to watch the highlights of the Grand Prix on the TV while we eat our supper and down a couple of pints. We return to our digs and find our landlady is conspicuous by her absence. We could have cleared the place if we wanted to.

We watch a film starring Goldie Hawn - a comedy of sorts - with a predictable plot, predictable jokes; but at the right level for us to relax & un-wind with.

Easington on this Sunday has been a wonderful experience. The people we met in the pub and walking round the village have been very friendly. There was a lively atmosphere. We talked of our plans for the next day and the locals suggested that Bob at Spurn Head would probably get the inshore lifeboat out and take us across to Cleethorpes. We doubted this but the next day someone else mentions the same thing. Easington is a surprising place. It is almost at the back of beyond yet it has 3 pubs, a post office, bus garage, thriving community spirit - loads of posters advertising local events eg It's a Knockout; charity pram race etc.

We review our plans for the next few days. We originally planned to spend a day going to the end of Spurn Head and spending another night in Easington before getting the bus to Hull and on to Cleethorpes. This would leave us with about half a day free. Studying the map and talking to some of the locals it is obvious that there is no likely place to stay 6-7 miles out of Cleethorpes. We decide to change our plans. We will go to the Humber at Kilnsea at the land end of Spurn Head and return for the bus at 14.00. This will get us to Hull by 15.00 and so leave plenty of time to get to Cleethorpes that evening.

Day 3

Day 3 walk map graphic Photograph Photograph Photograph Photograph Photograph

In the morning we meet our landlady for the first time. Breakfast is fair to middling. We pack up all our belongings and set off for Kilnsea. I decide that I will not be wearing shorts this trip and so a visit to the Post Office is needed. We turn an already busy shop into a crush with our rucksacks. We walk on the road to Kilnsea and horrors of horrors we have to walk up a hill! The land has been very flat with very slight gradients to date. This is the first serious hill since North of Bridlington and comes as a shock to the system even if it is really a baby and has several years of growing to become a fully fledged hill.

Kilnsea is little more than a pub and a collection of cottages next to the mud flats at the mouth of the Humber. The protecting arm that is Spurn point extends far out into the estuary to our left. We can see Grimsby and Cleethorpes in the distance. They are about eight miles away across the estuary. There is a great number of ships in view off shore. They will be our companions for much of the next 48 hours. The peace & tranquillity is suddenly shattered by two low flying jets as they scream South over the mouth of the Humber. They return about 20 minutes later, and we hear them several times later in the day.

After a brief rest we follow the river upstream for a mile or so before heading up another road back to Easington, lunch, and the bus to Hull. The bus ride makes a welcome change to walking. We have to change buses at Patrington and make a dash for the front upstairs seats of the double decker. Unfortunately some even smaller children have beaten us to them. We arrive at Hull bus station promptly at three. Now to find our next bus. We join a long queue in the information office. I get bored & go for a little walk while Brian waits patiently. After a few minutes I return to tell Brian that the bus goes from directly outside the office, just as Brian is told by the staff `We cant help you, ask over there'!

Our bus arrives and confusion reigns when we ask for two singles to Cleethorpes. `I don't go there' says the driver in direct conflict with the timetable and the sign on the bus stop. After a few hectic minutes calm is restored. Apparently his bus goes to Scunthorpe but connects with the train to Cleethorpes at Barton on Humber. We enjoy the bus ride to Barton via the Humber Bridge where our little train awaits us. The toll on the bridge for buses & coaches is £6.50 which will wipe out any profit our bus may have made if the bus company is charged at the full rate.

We pay our train fare to Cleethorpes on the train and settle down to enjoy the ride. We stop at all stations to Cleethorpes and there is a steady interchange of passengers at each station.

At New Holland we pass a large timber yard. The stacks of wood are emblazoned with symbols the meaning of which we can only guess. For example what significance could a Mickey Mouse with wings; Pooh Bear and an owl possibly have!

As we leave Cleethorpes station we see the same boats we saw earlier in the day, but from the other side. We call in at the information office but they are not able to help us a great deal. We go & search out some digs, which are a bit below average, but adequate. During the unpacking I discover that my washing kit is missing. No soap, toothpaste, razor - no nothing. Good job Brian is a mate. We have our supper in an Italian restaurant. It is happy hour, which lasts until the pubs throw out! We get two meals for the price of one.

Day 4

Day 4 walk map graphic Photograph Photograph Photograph Photograph Photograph Photograph Photograph Photograph Photograph

The first job after breakfast on Tuesday morning is to go shopping for a replacement wash kit and food for the day. We are both looking forward to some fresh food for our picnic lunch in contrast to the two day old sandwiches; pork pies and pasties we had yesterday and Sunday. Brian is in good form this morning but I still feel a bit down. The problem is that my feet & legs have seized up and once again I have to make a conscious effort to walk properly.

We have decided to adopt a new plan - walk for 45 minutes followed by a 15 minute break. In the first stage we walk along Cleethorpes prom, past the leisure centre and fairground & a caravan site. The 45 minutes end just as we reach a cafe. We decide to wait for it to open, although it will extend our 15 minute rest period. Once again we are asked if we are walking for charity.

We continue on our way past the yacht club which marks the end of Cleethorpes. We now come to realise that there is a big difference between the land North & South of the Humber. The problem south of the Humber isn't coastal erosion but flooding. To counteract this, large earth dikes have been constructed to keep the sea out. Sea defences like this will provide our path for most of the remainder of the walk.

Our route swings inland for several hundred yards after the yacht club as we walk up to a bridge over a small river. The dike runs parallel to the coast for about a mile as it skirts the river estuary before heading back to the coast swinging round a dis-used airfield in the process. Some of the locals we have met believe it is still used to store missiles; but this is not so.

The RAF jets we first saw from Kilnsea the previous day come back and provide us with a free air show from 10.30 onwards. They provide a noisy diversion for most of the day.

Mudflats & beach & aircraft on one side; flat farmland on the other make up our scenery for the next hour or so. The temperature is rising by the minute after a cool overcast start. By lunchtime it is as hot as the previous three days.

Our plan is really working though. We are finding the stages quite comfortable despite the heat. We are stopping before we get really tired, so recovery is good. I even fall asleep during one break. Looking back we can see Spurn Head and the ships parked up waiting for a berth. The Humber is a very busy river.

The dike we are walking on is highest land between the sea and the Lincolnshire Wolds 10 - 12 miles away. Most of the farm land is below sea level. We see rabbits scurrying about the dike more than once.

We lunch at Northcoates Point and continue on our steady way. The planes have stopped for their lunch as well. The peace is welcome but we do miss them. The planes have been attacking the targets at Donna Nook range, a few miles further South. We come off the dike for last mile before Donna Nook and walk on the land side. The temperature rises dramatically as we are sheltered from the gentle sea breezes.

At Donna Nook there is a car park and lots of people on the beach. The beach is wide and sandy and is one of the best we have seen since Saltburn. The targets are clearly visible about half a mile away. Some of the people at the car park, who came down to see the air show, tell us that the planes have not been using live ammunition today. When they do it is quite spectacular.

From Donna Nook we leave the coast and head up the road to North Somercoates. We have made good time and we feel much fresher than we did on the previous days at this time.

Originally we planned to stop here but we feel it is too early at four in the afternoon to stop. We decide to go on to Saltfleet which is only 2-3 miles further on. As we reach North Somercoates we have a decision to make. Do we turn right and go to the pub for an afternoon refresher. This is slightly out of our way; or do we turn left which is going towards Saltfleet. We meet a couple walking their dog. They tell us there is a good cafe if we turn left. Despite the lure of the pub, and with some regrets, we go left.

The couple walk with us for a while. We explain again what we are doing. Folk really are surprised when we tell them. We reach the cafe about twenty minutes later. We have struck gold, but don't realise it yet.

The cafe is very comfortable, more akin to a restaurant than a cafe, and we are ready for it. We are the only customers and we get into conversation once more. We ask about digs in Saltfleet. The cafe proprietor knows someone who runs a B & B just outside Saltfleet and she phones the digs and books us in! We could have had our tea at the cafe, but it has just turned five which is a bit too early. After a 30 minute break we set off for Saltfleet.

Our route follows the road for about a mile and then onto a track. This track should link up with another which will take us into Saltfleet. Wrong! There is a ditch on our right and the two paths don't cross. The ditch is fairly wide and deep. Eventually we find a place to scramble across and we find ourselves in a small holiday camp with a handful of chalets & caravans. The residents must have been surprised to see us appear, as if by magic, from the bushes behind their holiday homes.

We leave the chalets behind us and eventually we see a chippy about 400 yards away at the end of the track. This will do us. It is closed. No matter there is a pub - closed. There is another pub - closed! It is about 18.30 and we are hungry & tired and disappointed. We buy an ice cream at the local garage to cheer ourselves up and walk to our digs about a mile from the village. Tomorrow's lunch will have to be our supper. We arrive at the digs taking care to walk up the drive around the manicured lawn. Our landlord tells us we could have walked on the grass.

We are to stay at "Holmestead" a modern bungalow backing onto a small river. No one else is staying, so we have the use of the guest accommodation (lounge & bathroom) to ourselves. Our hosts live in another part of building. It is so comfortable, it is like having our own home.

Our hosts are walkers and ask us about our trip. They suggest we get cleaned up while they make us a cup of tea. During the conversation we tell them about the lack of food in Saltfleet and our intentions. We have our tea in the lounge and there, next to the pot, are two huge slices of fruit cake each. Tomorrow's lunch can wait for the morrow. We have done really well today. We have gone further than we intended and coped pretty well. The last hour was quite tough, but did contain many frustrations - the scramble over the ditch, the closed chippy and pubs. However our welcome at our digs was the true antidote to our travails - we really had struck gold courtesy of a couple walking their dog and a cafe proprietor - magic!

A previous guest was a walker who, on retirement at age 65, decided to walk round England - and did it in 5 months before writing a book about it. We have a long way to go.

Day 5

Day 5 walk map graphic Photograph Photograph Photograph Photograph Photograph Photograph Photograph

Breakfast, like everything else about Holmestead, is excellent. Today is planned to be a short walking day. We have our washing to do and Mablethorpe is a convenient place to stop after a half day. As before the location of potential digs is a key factor in planning the day's walk. Mablethorpe is the largest, and most Northerly, of three small sea-side towns that have run into one another. Our plan is to do the washing; buy provisions for the next day and find some digs as far South as we can in this little conurbation.

We are pointed in the right direction by our hosts - along the river bank, across the bridge and down the road to the coast at Saltfleetby. A change in scenery today. We walk amongst the dunes of Saltfleetby nature reserve. The sea defences are still there where the dunes thin out. It is very hot amongst the scrub and bushes that grow on the dunes and eventually, at Theddlethorpe, we walk on the beach, which is cooler.

The beach is empty at first but as we get closer to Mablethorpe we see sticks in the sand that move. This concerns us. We can see the prom but it appears to get further away. This concerns us too. Eventually the sticks turn into people. The beach becomes quite crowded as we reach the edge of town and see the first of many caravan sites behind the dunes. The beach train trundles past with a load of holidaymakers.

We eventually reach Mablethorpe, find a cafe and settle down to a well earned cup of tea. It is just after lunch and we are tired and foot sore - a reaction from yesterday's big push, but we feel good. The information office is nearby and we book some digs in Trusthorpe, the middle town; find out where the launderette is (close to the sea front in the main shopping street) and buy our food.

We finish our chores in town and set out for Trusthorpe. This is to provide one of the little frustrations of the walk. The tourist information map and our OS map show that the prom runs from Mablethorpe to Sutton on Sea, but our digs are off the sea front. Our digs are on the main road that twists and turns on its way through Trusthorpe. It is not clear if we can get from the prom to the road in Trusthorpe, so we follow the road. (Of course there is a path we could have used and saved ourselves over a mile of boring road walking). One good thing about the trek along the road was that we discover that the nearest hostelry and food outlet are nearly a mile from our digs.

The Ramblers Hotel
The Ramblers Hotel

So we turn our B & B into Dinner Bed & Breakfast! The meal is good; the digs are good; and our hosts and other guests are very friendly. If it were not for the previous night's accommodation, the Ramblers at Trusthorpe would have been the best place we stayed at during our walk.

We are both tired and Brian's feet in particular are sore. We both have blisters on both feet. We debate our tactics for the next day. We must be feeling down as we do not feel we can reach Skegness the next day, even though it would mean two more short days if we don't. As the night draws on we realise that we are being too pessimistic and that we should reach our goal with comparative ease.

Another cause for debate is where & when we meet our families. We know that the families have digs booked in Skegness for Thursday and we are booked in from Friday night; but our host has suffered a heart attack. Before we left home we had been told the digs were secure, but a week is a long time with illness in the family. Also we are a day early - only the families are booked in for Thursday night. In the end we get through to our spouses to be told nothing we don't already know! We decide to make our booked digs the first port of call.

Day 6

Day 6 walk map graphic Photograph Photograph Photograph Photograph Photograph Photograph Photograph Photograph

The day dawns warm and sunny - again. After breakfast we set off down the road and soon cut off down to the prom. The promenade forms the sea defences hereabouts and is covered in beach huts. The prom extends for the next 3-4 miles to Anderby Creek. Our feet feel good, almost as though they prefer walking to rest. The promenade ends just North of Anderby Creek so its back onto the beach.

We are intrigued by a small boat that has been shuttling between the beach and a small ship moored just off shore. There is also a pipeline from the ship to the shore. Men are busy working on the beach. We have been watching and speculating about this activity for the past hour. The mystery is beyond our ken, so we try to ignore it.

As we get closer to the men at work we notice that the beach is closed. There is a footpath through the dunes which leads directly to a cafe. A cup of tea later we are feeling refreshed and set off along a track towards the village. In the village we find out what all the work is about.

Sand is being dredged from the sea bed 20km off shore and is being pumped ashore to strengthen the sea defences. One feature of the scenery from Cleethorpes so far has been the efforts to keep the sea out. The centuries old battle to keep the sea at bay continues day after day. Even so Nature has a habit of reminding Man how puny he is. There were disastrous floods in 1953 and the work has been unceasing ever since.

We go back to the beach for the next mile and a half to Chapel Point. There are more beach huts and the start of a sea of caravans which stretches to the outskirts of Skegness. It is pleasantly cool in the sea breezes, but baking hot out of the wind. We stop here for lunch and wonder what we were fussing about the night before. We are on target for a 4.00pm arrival in Skegness. We set off along the prom, which stretches right to the far end of Skegness, a distance of 5 miles or more. We pass Butlins Holiday Camp and the ex- Derbyshire Miners' Convalescence Home. This imposing building was built by the miners from there own contributions.

We pass by Skegness golf course and quickly find the road our digs are on. We want number 11A, we are standing outside number 190! When we arrive our landlady is out but a long stay guest invites us in and gives us a welcome cup of tea. It is 4.30pm. We shower and change and decide to go out for a celebratory drink & meal before our families arrive.

Day 7

Day 7 walk map graphic Photograph Photograph Photograph Photograph Photograph Photograph Photograph Photograph Photograph Photograph Photograph

Friday is a day of leisure in Skegness. We hobble around the town and do very little. We both have large blisters on both feet but no major problems. We sample the delights of Skeggy, including some bumper boats that are great fun, but result in us getting soaking wet. This is a really lazy day and we have earned it.

Saturday dawns and we decide that we shall walk again. Skegness is about three miles from the edge of the Wash at Gibraltar Point. This seems a much more satisfactory end point than Skegness and the maps indicate that the start next time will be more convenient from here. Lisa, Brian's daughter, decides to join us for what should be a pleasant stroll along the prom, onto the beach and round to Gibraltar Point.

The day starts cool but soon warms up. It is a pleasant change to carry only a light pack with the basic first aid kit, some food and water. We make good progress and are enjoying the day. The beach is a mixture of sand and shingle with some low dunes about half a mile inland across some low lying land criss-crossed by several small streams or creeks. We can see our goal about a mile away. Then we reach a small problem - really a rather large one that goes by the name of Greenshanks Creek. It is not marked on the OS map, although it is larger than the creeks that are marked. It is too wide to jump and too deep to wade. This is so frustrating! For the first time we are stymied by the land. We have to walk back to the edge of Skegness before we can cross the creek. This enforced detour has turned our 3 mile stroll into a 5 miler - so frustrating.

Gibraltar point is a nature conservancy area and there is an interesting exhibition there. A small hut with views over the Wash provides a good hide to watch the birdlife. The main features visible across the Wash are also marked on a display beneath the windows.

A small river runs out to the sea here. It is low tide when we arrive and a few small fishing boats and pleasure craft are stuck on the mud. As the tide rises they are able to put out to sea along the twisting channel through the mud flats. The area has an atmosphere, and one can readily imagine smugglers putting in here on dark, misty, moonless nights.

Sarah sees her friend from the previous October. He lives about 200 yards from our digs.

This walk has been very satisfying, now it is over. There have been problems however. The last hour each day has been very hard, even on the short days. This cannot be due to our physical condition or the work we have done. I think the mind has been playing tricks. Perhaps it had much to do with the first day, where we set off at a cracking pace - probably too fast for the conditions. Our recovery in Withernsea could have been better and the following day with its frustrations and possible dehydration made us worse. Perhaps we never fully recovered until the end. When we changed our strategy to 45 minutes walk followed by 15 minutes rest the walking became much easier and more enjoyable.

We must remember this for next year .....