Saturday, October 10, 1998

Walk 3 -- Worthing to Shoreham

Ages: Colin was 56 years and 155 days. Rosemary was 53 years and 297 days.
Weather: Dull and grey with a weak sun filtering through half-heartedly after lunch. It was not cold at all.
Location: From Worthing Pier to Shoreham Harbour.
Distance: 7½ miles.
Total distance so far: 23½ miles.
Terrain: Flat, partly along the sandy part of the beach because the tide was out, and partly along concrete paths and pavements. Boring really.
Tide: Out, coming in.
Rivers to cross: No.2, the Adur at Shoreham.
Ferries: None.
Piers: None.
Kissing gates: None.
Pubs: ‘The Royal Sovereign’ in Shoreham where we drank Oregon and Brains’ ales.
‘English Heritage’ properties: None.
Ferris wheels: None.
Diversions: None.
How we got there and back: We caught a couple of trains to Worthing and walked to the pier.
At the end, we walked from Shoreham Harbour to the station and caught a couple of trains back.

Not such a long break to our third walk, and it would have been Dad’s 93rd birthday today so let’s dedicate this walk to him. My Dad was born and brought up in nearby Arundel, a town which he loved to his dying day. His mother died of TB when he was not quite fourteen, and two years later he was dying of the same disease himself. But he pulled through, and managed to live to an amazing 88 years. He studied for his school exams at home using a postal course while he was convalescing. He then did an engineering degree at Brighton Technical College, and served his apprenticeship at Woolwich Arsenal. By the age of 24 he was a fully fledged Civil Engineer, and that is when he started his distinguished forty-year career at the Royal Aircraft Establishment in Farnborough. There he met and married my mother, and they had eight children of whom I was the sixth. He was a quiet and modest man, a devout Catholic for the whole of his life. He was fun and resourceful, and his family was the most important thing in his life. We started this Trek four years after he died—I often wish he was still around to tell him about it, he would have been so interested.

Now to the Walk—we started off east along Worthing beach, choosing to walk along the sand because the tide was out. Few people were down there, just the occasional family exercising their dogs. It was quite pleasant striding along, even though my right boot began to leak, but Colin opined that today’s walk was probably the most boring we would have to do since it was all houses along the front and we couldn’t even see the Downs from the beach. We watched a few seagulls and a flock of plovers circling around, but there wasn’t really much else.
At Lancing the tide had come in enough to force us to climb over breakwaters instead of going round the ends of them, so when we came to the first high one we scrambled up the shingle to the top of the beach. We found ourselves in a boat pound, but soon located a concrete path which ran along just behind the shingle. We could hear church bells in the distance, we thought it must be a wedding. The shingle bank had been raised artificially cutting off a stretch of water, and a family of swans were swimming majestically along it. We sat on a bench there and ate our lunch.
But the water ran out, then the path turned into a pavement and there was a row of houses between us and the sea. It was just like walking down a pavement in any residential street—yes, it was boring. Just as we got to Shoreham Harbour we found we were at the end of a Close and thought there was no way out to the beach, but by retracing our steps and going behind the houses on the inland side we found it. There we were faced with an old fort, in not too bad a condition but completely neglected.
We walked all round it, but there was no way in and no information about it anywhere. We assumed it was NapolĂ©onic, only because we have visited similar places along the south coast which date from that era. (About a year after we had done this walk, ‘English Heritage’ produced a long list of Britain’s forgotten historical sites in the hope of raising cash to preserve them before they finally decayed to nothing. The NapolĂ©onic forts at Littlehampton and at Shoreham were listed.)
We walked along the brick jetty on the west side of the harbour by climbing through the gate like everyone else had done. Dozens of fishermen and boys were along there with their rods; some had been successful and there was a horrible smell of fish. We couldn’t get on to the wooden jetty which looked as if it had once had a railway running along it.
Then we had to walk back west alongside the harbour for about a mile to find the footbridge leading across into Shoreham. By now my arthritic toe was sheer hell, I shall have to take more effective painkillers before walks in future. We could hear church bells again, must be a popular day for a wedding. There were a number of derelict warehouses along this road, one was actually being demolished. New housing is replacing them, but we don’t think much of the architecture---they are so ugly! Yes, it was extremely boring! At last we came to the footbridge and crossed it.

That ended the Walk no. 3, we shall pick up Walk no. 4 next time at the north end of the footbridge at Shoreham Harbour. We returned home by train having first slaked our thirst in ‘The Royal Sovereign’ in Shoreham town centre.

No comments: