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Tuesday, 11 June 2013

South East Coast Walk - aftermath

The walk from Lowestoft to Clacton-on-Sea traversed attractive countryside, reedbed, and coastal scenery. In particular the heathland between Dunwich and Sizewell was enough to make the trip worthwhile. All that I much enjoyed

At the outset I thought I would walk 14 miles per day. I was always conscious of the niggling pain and clumsiness of the knee which was not bad enough to stop me but sufficient to take the edge off the enjoyment. After ten miles or so each day I was well tired, and the pace at which I felt comfortable was not equal to the distances I wanted to do in order to achieve my objective within a sensible time frame. This became apparent at an early stage. I thought I would become fitter after a week but the irritation of the knee, and also some pain in my foot only increased. In my own mind I modified my parameters and hoped I may get as far as Folkestone which would have been reasonably satisfying.

Arriving at the site south of Clacton on Sunday which turned out not to take tents despite what I had been told, was a blow, but I was allowed to stay in the end. Finding accommodation on this trip had been much more tiresome than on any other. I had an intruder youth from a nearby caravan come and unzip my tent when I was inside, but I frightened him off, and then later they were playing loud beat music when I was trying to sleep. The site was run down and depressing and populated with undesirables.

Next morning (Monday) it was cold and dull and I marched, or rather hobbled off at 7:30 on the road towards St Osyth. I arrived at a point where the sidewalk finished and the road was far too busy to walk on. I decided to catch a bus to Colchester and try and cut out some of this urban Essex sprawl, but I knew there would be more of this to come before crossing the Thames. The concept of this route was a mistake on my part, which at this point I was beginning to admit to myself.

A nearby garage chap told me about the buses and I waited for ten minutes when a bus for Brightlingsea arrived and the driver told me the Colchester bus would be only ten minutes. I was seriously cold wearing only a shirt and my very flimsy Pertex top and shorts, but spare clothes were at the bottom of the sack and I couldn’t risk getting at them in case the bus came. I ended up waiting 50 minutes by which time I was perished.

At the bus station in Colchester I found myself walking badly and slowly, and there is no doubt I had hit a low point, and I decided to abort.

Interestingly I bought tickets from Colchester to Arnside at 11:30 am at Colchester station, travelled into London, changed from Liverpool Street to Euston, caught the Glasgow train, and changed at Preston and was home in Arnside by 4:30pm. The time from Euston to Preston was only 2 hours and 8 mins. Why do we need anything faster than that with all the disruption this new high speed proposal will cause?

I hope to post some proper pics linked to Picasa when I have sorted them instead of the poor images from the iPhone I posted during the walk. 


Phreerunner said...

Good decision Conrad.
I agree with you re the trains, though I have just booked one from Perpignan to Stockport, where the slowest part of the trip is the Euston to Stockport section, apart from the 2 hours I've allowed for transfers from station to station in both Paris and London. But at less than 12 hours total journey time, that's 12 hours quicker than our Manchester to Biarritz via Stansted journey!
The 'bodybuilder' pub sounds a gem - at least you have some memories of good encounters and friendly locals.
So it's back to the Marilyn bagging...?
Have fun!

John said...

Sorry to hear the trip didn't work too well Conrad - but pulling the plug was certainly the right thing to do.

I find it irritating that with all our wonderful published long distance footpaths, there's a lack (absence?) of campsites on the routes.

I look forward to seeing your photographs.


The Crow said...

Your youthful intruder deserved a fright for his rudeness. Thank goodness he was only rude - and young/inexperienced enough to be alarmed.

I think, all in all, and despite the unfortunate happenstances, that this was a successful journey...much like a dry run to test the limitations and features of a new machine. Well done! Your next long walk can only be better.

(Awfully glad you returned home in one piece, too!)