Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Walk 89 -- Walcott Gap to Overstrand

Ages: Colin was 61 years and 146 days. Rosemary was 58 years and 288 days.
Weather: Sunny with a cool breeze.
Location: Walcott Gap to Overstrand.
Distance: 9 miles.
Total distance: 671 miles.
Terrain: Concrete platform, grassy clifftop, then a sandy beach.
Tide: Going out.
Rivers to cross: None.
Ferries: None.
Piers: None.
Kissing gates: None.
Pubs: None.
‘English Heritage’ properties: None.
Ferris wheels: None.
Diversions: None.
How we got there and back: We drove – with bikes on the back of the car – from Isleham to Overstrand where the car park was 50p an hour so we used their toilet and then parked in a nearby road for free! (These local Councils shouldn’t be so greedy – we were going to be away six or seven hours making the cost prohibitive.) We cycled to Walcott, but it was rather hilly and the roads busier than two days ago. Colin had a nasty near-miss! We chained our bikes to a post near where we parked the car last time.
At the end, I sat on a bench in the car park while Colin walked up the lane to fetch the car. We reckoned – correctly – that it was too late in the day for anyone to be checking ‘Pay and Display’ tickets. We had our tea and biscuits, then drove to Walcott to pick up the bikes. I navigated us a back route to avoid negotiating Cromer again, and we drove back to Isleham.

It was lunchtime before we set off on this Walk – the long car journey followed by a hilly cycle ride take their toll. We must be getting old! We walked along a concrete step at the top of the beach, and after only about fifty yards we sat down to eat our picnic. Colin suddenly said, “There’s a seal!” I looked up, and a few minutes later we both saw it – diving through the surf at the water’s edge! We saw the whole length of its body, then it disappeared and we didn’t see it again.
After that initial excitement, there was very little else. We saw a cormorant sitting on a post drying its wings, lots of waders on the wet sand and a few kestrels flying about over the cliffs. But mostly today’s Walk was just sea and sand – very bracing and enjoyable. We met nobody.
The concrete step gave out after a while, and the beach got too soft to walk comfortably. So at Bacton Green we took a path which led along the top of the cliffs past a ‘Gas Distribution Station’. The smell emanating from this establishment reminded us of the gas works of yesteryear. We were glad we didn’t live in Bacton Green – or in Paston if the wind is in the other direction! Before Mundesley, we got down to beach level again, and there we stayed for the rest of the Walk.
We didn’t stop to look at the seaside resort of Mundesley. It hasn’t got a pier, and before we knew it we had walked right past it on the beach. We still had a long way to go, and we wanted to put some mileage in before it got too late. The sand was pretty firm, and we marched happily along for miles between the low cliffs and rolling surf. It was all much the same, really – but nonetheless we both thoroughly enjoyed the Walk. No avalanches or other such excitement today, so when we came across the remains of a bicycle buried in the sand I thought I’d better set up a photo because I hadn’t taken much. Colin had taken a few of birds, but our glimpse of the seal had been too fleeting.
As we approached Overstrand, the cliffs got higher. We were hoping that we would recognise the right place because, when parking the car, we hadn’t really looked at the beach. The map showed a path going up after the fifth breakwater, but there were a lot more than that. However, we used our intelligence, and did find the right place. There was a lovely view from the car park back along the beach the way we had come. I sat on a bench with the rucksacks while Colin fetched the car.

That ended Walk no.89, we shall pick up Walk no.90 next time in the clifftop car park in Overstrand. I soaked in the view while Colin walked up the lane to fetch the car. There were a few people about, walking dogs and OAPs, and I don’t think any of them bothered about paying for the car park either – I certainly didn’t see anyone go to a machine that late in the day. We had our tea and biscuits, then drove to Walcott to pick up the bikes before driving back to Isleham.

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