“You only regret the things you don’t do” the saying goes. I’m hoping that in retrospect this will explain why I have chosen to drive to Hunstanton on a late November day that started with frost and evolved into icy mist. All so I can spend the next four days walking the north Norfolk coastline.
My journey from Derby has been beautiful in a winter postcard sort of way. The market garden of eastern England peering out of a pea soup broth that all but obscures the afternoon sun. The rolling foam punctuated only by the ghosts of trees faintly visible before the uncertain horizon.
Medieval forests close in on the road sides around Sandringham carpeting the verges in gold leaf. Hansel and Gretel cottages complete the fairytale look.
The spell is lifted, the skies clear abruptly short of Snettisham and 15 minutes later I’m in Hunstanton. This journey to the start has served to prepare me for the days ahead.
This will be my second long distance walk after last years memorable adventure along the Cleveland Way. One again I’m attracted by the prospect of fresh air, freedom, exercise and discovery before my next career move, but there will be a few differences.
I’m arguably not as fit as last year and my 11.5kg fits rucksack will test a recent back strain. I’ll be walking into winter weather and have significantly fewer daylight hours to play with. On the flip side my Norfolk coast path route is mercifully flat when compared with the Cleveland Way not to mention shorter (50 miles vs 110 miles).
There are 45 minutes of daylight left as I head down to Hunstanton beach on this cold Tuesday early evening. Miles of shingle, subdivided by sea worn groynes, are at the disposal of a handful of dog walkers. Visibly isn’t great and it’s tempting to imagine my Viking ancestors across the water in Denmark except that I know a line perpendicular to the shore would intersect Skegness on the other side of The Wash.
Early nightfall turns my thoughts to an evening meal. The Ancient Mariner pub is a 20 minute walk down unlit streets into Old Hunstanton but their advertised Pie Night has me sold. 45 minute later I discover that Google maps had them at the wrong location and that they don’t know about the pie night on their own website. A placatory caesar salad falls short of the mark.
Turning to the subject of sayings, “things can only get better”. Let’s find out tomorrow…