- Date: 12 September 2023
- Walk Participants: Lynne Burge, Sandy Arpino & Lesley Stapley
- Distance: 12.5 Miles
Day 1 Hunstanton to Brancaster, 10 miles + detour
Starting off with a very dubious weather forecast, covers pre-emptively on rucksacks we set off from our accommodation. The path started right by the gardens in Hunstanton, next to the war memorial. Off we went, stopping quite quickly to put waterproofs on as the rain began, admiring the view over the coastline. With the tide on the way out we were able to admire the strange, linear patterns of rocks showing on the beach. The previous evening we had strolled down to witness the layers of rock in the cliff side, ranging from dark brown at the base, with a creamy layer higher up and a white layer at the top of the cliffs.
On we went over the cliff path, working our way out of Hunstanton and along the dunes, passing on our way beach huts by the score, most well painted and in good condition. Enjoying the freedom as we strolled along we took our eye off the ball and eventually found ourselves ‘up a creek without a paddle’. We had taken the wrong path, easily done as it looked correct, and ended up by a creek with no way of traversing it. This was annoying as the rain was pounding down by this stage making us steadily wetter and wetter. There was nothing else for it but to backtrack to find the correct path, which, after about a mile, we did. Checking firmly to see that we were now on the right path we continued in the rain along the coast.
Maybe it was wrong to say we walked alongside the sea. Often there was up to half a mile of marsh and reeds before the coastline, and when the tide goes out it could be almost a mile out to the sea. Anyway, on we went through puddles, with squelching feet through the nature reserve. We could not have been wetter. Eventually salvation was in sight- a cafe on the reserve and a chance to drip dry. Diving in fast we divested ourselves of our dripping coats, hanging them on the backs of chairs and ordered hot drinks with fresh scones to revive ourselves.
Discussions then took place over the logistics of the rest of the walk. Was it best to cut our loses when we could and take the bus back, or soldier on in the rain to achieve our aim? Back and forth went the discussion, eventually coming to the idea that we would walk into the next village and assess the rain situation.
Setting off from the comfort of the cafe it took us time to warm up again, having got cold sitting down. The rain eased off and we enjoyed walking along a board walk and then a high coastal defence so we had sight across the whole of the marshes. Gaining said village we decided to plough on and finish what we had set out to do. Along the main road, up a minor road and off onto a track across the fields. We had to veer inland as there is no safe path along the coastline at this point due to the marshes. On we went along a pleasant track, reminiscent of last year’s Peddars Way walk, with full hedgerows supporting sloes, hips, blackberries, elderberries and a wealth of flowers. Also pigs. Young pigs tucking greedily into the food provided in their fields, vying with each other to gain the tastiest morsels, turning their backs on us when we failed to produce any food for them.
Eventually we turned down towards the village of Brancaster and the comfort of the local pub to await our taxi. Fortified by a drink and a warm room we gratefully got into the taxi for the trip back to Hunstanton. There ensued a time of divesting ourselves of wet clothes, hanging up damp coats, stuffing boots full of newspaper and- joy of joys- a hot shower and dry clothes.
A longer walk then expected due to our unexpected detour, we sat in our accommodation pleased with the 12.5 miles that we walked in the rain, ready for more adventures tomorrow.
Author & Photographer: Lynne Burge