From thunder to heatwave – what a difference a day makes!

Saturday 20th July 2019

Today’s planned walk was between Overstrand and Mundesley. Naturally, being Saturday, we stopped off first for Parkrun and this week’s choice was Sheringham Park – and what a beautiful spot although Steve wasn’t too enamoured with the trail running terrain.

Views from Sheringham Park

From here we drove to Cromer for some breakfast and then on to Overstrand where we parked up ready for today’s trek. Free parking too – always a bonus. Just to confuse things, we reversed the walk by getting the bus to Mundesley and walking back (there is logic to this, honestly). When we got off the bus there was much excitement in the village as a Soap Box Derby was about to start – they were all lined up – some simple entries and others that clearly had competitive parent involvement!

Soap Box Derby in Mundesley

Leaving Mundesley

It was an incredibly hot start to the day, clammy even. We kept being diverted away from the clifftops as many of the caravan parks chose to not admit walkers on their land. Some did let us in …. but there were lots of signs, including some fine examples of Norfolk colloquialism … “Slow You Down!”

Not too far into the walk however, as we wandered through woodland area, we encountered a deafeningly loud thunderstorm and bouts of torrential rain. We were a couple of little drowned rats. Each time we thought it had cleared, another downpour happened … but it eventually stopped and the heat returned, so aiding the drying process.

And the coastal path finally took us to the coast …. the second half of the walk was beautiful – the most scenic of clifftops, stunning beaches, farmland and wild flowers … we had the lot.

It did get slightly scary when we came across the part of the cliff that recently crumbled and fell to the beach. We trod carefully over the cracks on the path and had to laugh (nervous laughter) at the signs that said you must keep 5 meters back from the edge, when often there was only 1-2 meters width of path, unless you trampled all the farmer’s crops.

The recent cliff fall near Overstrand

The day ended well with a little country lane walking back to the car …. even met a friendly little pony on the way! Just over 4 miles today … a very manageable distance.

Monday 22nd July 2019

We’d had a rest day on Sunday so we left home this morning full of energy and enthusiasm. Mundesley to Sea Palling was on the agenda … but again, we planned to do it in reverse due to limited bus services. In fact, so limited that the 9.15am bus we turned up for in Mundesley (after an hour’s drive) didn’t arrive at all. On enquiry we discovered the next bus wasn’t due till after 1.00pm – nightmare! And so it was we shelled out £25 for a taxi to Sea Palling.

The beach was popular with families – golden sands and nearby cafes. There was an option to take an alternative coastal path inland but we decided to walk on the beach coastal path …. which was literally on the beach. This was great to start off with as there was a stretch of concrete steps – but these ran out and we were then forced to walk on hot soft sand … the sun was blazing down by this time …. it felt like walking in the desert. We had a little ‘difference of opinion’ when Steve wanted to us to walk on the sand dunes path. I didn’t fancy this option as (1) it involved climbing over a barrier to get onto it + (2) the sign said “do not access the sand dunes!” So, we carried on with the sand walking for about 2 miles until finally we came to a ramp that took us off the beach. We did see a magnificent area of tern nesting, with hundreds of terns swooping around so Steve got into wildlife photographer mode.

Sea Palling beach

We then had a pleasant walk along a nearby path that had farmed fields, including lavender, to one side and some attractive beach chalets to the other.

This path led us into Happisburgh and to another beautiful beach. Having walked 3 miles so far we decided to stop off and tuck into our sandwiches. Lovely views from the top and I couldn’t help but think what a fabulous place to live with such a jolly name …. until a local lady burst my bubble and informed me that the village is in fact pronounced ‘Haze-bruh.’

Happisburgh beach

Unfortunately after this lovely stop, things turned grim. The next 5 miles took us on an alternative route, away from the coast …. mostly walking through farmland and at times on the roads. And with the day getting hotter and hotter it began to feel suffocating …. and silly me didn’t have a hat! But there was no choice, we just had to soldier on.

After about 6 miles we found a cafe and wearily stepped in, dreaming of an ice-cold drink (our water was pretty warm by now). We were met by the owner who informed us that she was closed, she’d only popped in to water the plants! Seeing the desperation on my face she kindly gave us each a glass of chilled water and refilled our bottles.

We carried on … more farmland, more roads, all the time being told by the signs that the alternative route was to be followed, the proper coastal path was closed off. Steve did get to see a bit of farm machinery though … he does love a combine harvester!

The sun was literally beating down, there was no reprieve. I was struggling big time – feeling dizzy and nauseous – it was all I could do to put one foot in front of the other. Eventually the path led us back to the clifftop for the final mile which was so much more scenic and with a little more breeze.

Mundesley Beach

So it was a dizzy day …. 9 miles would generally be manageable but not in that intense heat. But we made it and spent a lovely hour on the beach, swimming and cooling off.

From now on it’s a few beach days while this heatwave lasts!

And today Tom and Jess arrive for a week – yippee … let the party begin 😆🎉❤️

Stepping it up …. 3 days of walking in Norfolk

Tuesday 16th July 2019

With the knee pain easing up a little, we decided to tackle a few days of walking some longer stretches of coastal path. And so it was on Tuesday, a particularly hot day for these parts, that we picked up where we had left off in Wells next the Sea – our destination the pretty village of Blakeney. A relatively easy flat path and a heavily populated one at that. So lots of ‘Good Mornings” and “Hellos,” even stopped to chat to passers by sometimes – this rambling can be jolly sociable at times! At other times it can be just us and the open path, but not today, far from it.

Leaving Wells next the Sea

We walked for mile upon mile with the sea in the distance and marshland to one side, farm land to the other. Very pretty but spectacularly flat. We were entertained along the way with some military aircraft overhead – the Hercules we did get to see but the F35 Lightning flies so high that you don’t see it … it’s like being at a Red Arrows display in regards to noise level but without sight of the planes or the red, blue and white smoke.


Lots of birdwatching opportunities – The Great White Egret

As the miles clocked on, the old knee was starting to give me some grief. When we arrived in Morston I was so relieved to spot a tea shop on the beach … but no such luck, with only another mile and a bit to do the decision was made to soldier on to Blakeney. And yet another picturesque village to add to the collection – busy with tourists, walkers and seal spotting day trippers. 7 miles completed, we then wandered up from the harbour to the main road passing pretty country cottages and gardens, to find the bus stop.

Arriving in Blakeney

Country Cottage Gardens

There’s a great Coastline bus service here so we didn’t have to wait long to be picked up and ‘whisked’ (literally) along the narrow winding roads back to where we had parked the car in Wells. At one point along the way, the traffic was held up both ways by a thoughtless driver who had pulled up to take photos of some cows in water. Gave us some photo opportunities however!

So chuffed with myself for managing 7 miles with a poorly knee …. and have now added to this a gigantic blister on my big toe – hey ho …. the joys of rambling!!

Wednesday 17th July 2019

Another 7 miler planned for today. Set off with toe blister and knee all wrapped, ready to tackle the journey ahead. As long it was flat easy terrain like yesterday I would be just fine!!!

Another fabulously hot day and to start off it was the sea defence ridge path, comfortable underfoot. It was interesting with the two areas of pain vying for attention, if I concentrated on one I could forget the other – I played around with this and tried to focus on other areas of my body – it was quite powerful in achieving some temporary relief.

The path took us on a great loop skirting around the marshland … but it did take us through the pretty village of Cley next the Sea with its numerous art galleries and local craft stores. And we walked though the beautifully kept grounds of Cley Windmill which offers guesthouse and self-catering accommodation, even weddings. A gorgeous setting, I picked up a brochure – perhaps a romantic stop off at some point!?

Cley Windmill

From here the path took us down to the beach and led us on to Cley Ridge – shingle!! We presumed this would be just a short interlude as its not great terrain for walking but unfortunately it turned out to be 4 miles of uncomfortable shingle and ridged sand. Great! I had to stop feeling the pain and just think of the quads workout I was getting. Stunning beach all the same and the sea looked so inviting. There was only a handful of people along the whole stretch but plenty of birdlife to admire (and not the bikini type!) – Steve’s become quite the David Attenborough!

Reaching Weybourne

After 7 miles of walking (4 on shingle) we reached Weybourne. Again we had a walk uphill through the village to locate a bus stop on the main road … to find the faithful old Coasthopper bus. And once again, beautiful houses and gardens …. they do love a hollyhock in Norfolk!

Thursday 18th July 2019

And today we were back for more … leaving Weybourne, Cromer was our original destination.

After yesterday’s shingle nightmare, we were pleased to find ourselves walking along cliff top paths. This felt like proper coastal path walking …. up and down hills, steep steps in parts but a bit more interesting than the flat of recent days and minimal shingle. The weather was not so great today, drizzle and then some full on rain too, mostly cloudy … but the sun did come out to shine on us occasionally. While we walked, swallows swooped all around us …. so hard to capture on photo – they dart so quickly.

Someone likes to be different!!

From our clifftop viewing vantage, the beaches all day were stunning spectacles – large expanses of shingle that eventually turned into sand stretches. We passed Sheringham Golf Course en route and Steve couldn’t resist helping golfers locate the balls that had wandered onto the path!

We actually treated ourselves to a coffee stop in Sheringham where there were some inviting promenade cafes. One of the nicest flat whites I’d ever had …. and we enjoyed the rest break. But onwards and upwards, Cromer was still some way off.

A little bit of prom and a bit of a cliff top, all the while gazing down at the increasingly sandy stretches – a fabulous walk.

We arrived in Cromer which the signpost informed us is “The Gem of Norfolk.” Certainly an attractive seaside town from what we saw. We even located ‘The Red Lion” pub/hotel where we had stayed for a weekend some 27 years ago – we puzzled over how we had ever managed to source this or book it prior to having internet access!? We didn’t go into the town but certainly the seaside frontage was spectacular – great architecture and grand hotels.

❤️ Beach huts

But, we didn’t want to stop walking in Cromer … we weren’t tired enough … oh no we weren’t!!! We decided we could make it a little further to Overstrand. The path took us down onto the beach where we were faced at first with the dreaded shingle. Luckily the tide was out and still going out so we headed down to the shore and enjoyed the most stunning of strolls along the wide sandy expanse of beach between Cromer and Overstrand. What a spectacular place and hardly a soul around. Loved it and loved the whole walk today – one of my favourites.

It was almost 9 miles today – things are definitely improving. Bring it on!….

Alice’s ”escape to the country” …

On Thursday afternoon we picked up Alice from Kings Lynn station – we had miraculously found a train route from Manchester, so saving Alice the long drive. She had come to check us out in our country cottage residence. The sun was shining when we arrived back at ‘Honeysuckle Cottage’ so we lazed in the garden, chatted, bored Alice to death about Norfolk birds and countryside animals, drank Prosecco and barbecued – a perfect first evening together.

Friday 11th July 2019

We talked Alice into joining us on a stretch of coastal path walking … nothing too arduous as I’m still banging on about my knee injury! So today’s path was from Holkham Beach to Wells next the Sea, two very beautiful places to visit. The path was actually woodland most of the way – very pretty but particularly hot, being sheltered from the coastal breeze – we were stripping layers off as we walked.

Leaving Holkham Beach

And so we rambled along a few woodland miles until we found a path to take us up through the sand dunes onto the beach – the city girl was longing to see the sea. And Alice could not have been disappointed – this beautiful coastal stretch, looking back to the wide expanse of Holkham beach and walking along to the popular, beach-hut lined sands of Wells.

Wells Beach

We envied the bathers as we continued our walk, still a mile or so to go. Once off the beach we had a long straight walk alongside the harbour – a walk that seemed to go on for ever. But worth it to reach the quaint town of Wells next the Sea, where ice-cream and shopping awaited Alice and I whilst noble Steve ran back to fetch the car.

Wells next the Sea harbour

So thoughtful – spotted outside a shop in Wells next the Sea!

Saturday started as all Saturdays in our world start …. with the Parkrun! Alice was able to keep Steve company this week as I’m still ‘signed off!’

After breakfast and showers we headed back to Wells next the Sea, armed with picnic, with the intention of spending a couple of hours on the beach – desperate for a swim. The weather up this way is pretty hit and miss at the moment though so with clouds gathering we embarked on the Light Railway journey from Wells to Walsingham. A quirky little ride, 30 minutes of chugging along some rather overgrown paths – a beautiful montage of wild flowers and busy butterflies … but also ‘something to entertain the children I guess’ …. fairies’ washing lines, unicorn stables, elf lodges and a few scary witches.

All aboard the Light Railway

In the safe hands of a certain Thomas the Tank Engine character!

I wanted to visit Walsingham as my Mum used to come here with her church group for retreats – I had heard so much about how wonderfully peaceful it was. Tradition has it that in 1061 Mary, Mother of Jesus, appeared in a vision … and so it has been a shrine for nearly 1000 years – a place of pilgrimage for Christians.

The village itself is picture postcard – we visited the churches and shrines and then enjoyed a fabulous walk around the Abbey grounds. Definitely left with a feeling of spirituality. Unfortunately, couldn’t get access to the well where miracle cures are said to have happened … had high hopes for my knee!

The village of Walsingham

In the grounds of Walsingham Abbey

Alice being given a photography lesson!

A product of said photography lesson

When we got back to Wells it was even more cloudy, so we abandoned our swim and beach trip and returned home for a relaxing couple of hours before getting ready for our posh night out at the pub. If ever you find yourself in these parts, we highly recommend ‘The Duck Inn’ gastropub in Stanhoe – the food and service is first class.

My goats cheese and beetroot starter – exquisite!

And when we got back to the cottage, our next door neighbour horses ran over to say hello – they probably were looking for food but we like to think they were being neighbourly. One of them is identical to Spirit – a book/video that was a childhood favourite of Alice’s.

‘Spirit’ lookalike

Alice and I had a little lie in on Sunday – came down to find Steve gearing up excitedly for his day of cricket – The World Cup finals. He was so relieved that they were showing the game on terrestrial TV as, throughout the Championship, he has been struggling with internet connection, lots of buffering, watching it on the iPad or listening to it on the radio. He’s considered driving home to watch the games on many occasions.

After breakfast, Alice and I left Steve in peace and headed off for a girls day out. I mustered up all my bravery and drove us along these ridiculously narrow country roads to Sandringham. And we loved it. Walked through the grounds, visited the house, the museum and the church. Felt so special being in the actual rooms that the Royal family use just in everyday life …. where they have dinner, where they watch TV etc. And the scenes that you see at Christmas as the family walk to church … we were there! Love a bit of Royal, especially the Queen.

Sandringham House

We spent 3 or 4 hours at Sandringham and then took a detour on the way home, to Old Hunstanton, so Alice could have a final paddle before heading back on Monday to the Manchester City life.

And we were back in time to watch the last hour of the nail-biting match with Steve … we were jumping out of our seats, agonising, crying, cheering and finally celebrating our boys winning the Cricket World Cup for the very first time … so proud.

Old Hunstanton

So this morning we waved farewell to Alice …. and in 10 days time, Tom and Jess are coming up for a visit. Feel very blessed – it’s all about family ❤️

Back on track … in small steps

We haven’t been idle in the last few weeks, just waiting patiently to heal. Steve’s back to the Parkrun, building up his running strength. I’ve been venturing out sightseeing, hobbling a few miles each day to keep up some activity. We’ve joined the ‘Meerkat’ club and have been enjoying half price cinema and 2 for 1 meals. Even squeezed in a couple of beach days when the sun decided to shine. And lots of birdwatching.

This weekend, Tracey and Jeff came to stay and we managed to fit in a BBQ, Parkrun, Holkham Estate, Holkham Beach, Houghton Hall and grounds, dinner at our local pub – the Duck Inn (absolutely first class meal), some shopping in the beautiful Burnham Market shops and Old Hunstanton. Such a fun weekend, great company.

Steve, Jeff, Tracey and Dee – Houghton Hall Estate

Brancaster Staithe to Burnham Ovary Staithe

However, on Monday we decided to get back on that coastal path. We made the decision to cut the task down into smaller segments so that I could join in. So it was with plenty of meds, voltarol, knee support and walking poles (or cheat sticks as some like to call them) that we set off from Brancaster Staithe late morning.

The tide was in which made the walk a little more scenic – sometimes it can just be miles of mudflats with abandoned boats. The high tide in fact meant that we had to detour temporarily onto a path overgrown with all sorts of prickly things – lots of leg scratches. It was a little cloudy on starting out but the sun broke through soon enough.

On the initial stretch of path, we got a glimpse of how the other half live – houses designed to maximise the sea views, with long long stretches of garden dipping down to the coast. Many a perfect lawn for Steve to envy.

It was a pretty walk all in all with a large selection of butterflies criss-crossing our path, fabulous seabirds and wildflowers a-plenty. And as the sun began to shine it was so picturesque looking out at the boats on the blue water – summed up by a local walker who commented in true Norfolk tones … “bootiful voo!”

We pass numerous fields of cows along these paths but today we came alongside some rather interesting types, with very large horns …. we’re guessing Highland Cattle. Now, I don’t know much about their nature but I was mighty glad to find that there was a ditch and a fence between them and us.

And so the walk passed without incident and after just 4 miles we arrived in pretty Burnham Ovary with its fine windmill and fields of barley.

Burnham Ovary

It was fabulous to be back walking albeit with some discomfort. Obviously our pace is much slower but Steve has taken full charge of the photography which gives me a little time to get ahead. I feel I have an affinity with Andy Murray … longing to be pain-free … I feel your pain Andy!! 😘

Once we got to the harbour, I rested up on a bench while Steve ran the 4 miles back to get the car.

Burnham Ovary Staithe to Holkham

After an intermission day of World Cup Cricket (come on England!) and Wimbledon, we embarked on another stretch today – just 3 and a half miles this time. It was drizzling as we left the pretty harbour area but we didn’t let that put us off. And neither did it deter a handful of artists who were busily poised over their easels, capturing the pretty scenes.

The initial path was along a stretch of sea defence ridge with perfect views all around. Plenty of oyster catchers busying themselves in the shallows … got us thinking about their diets – do they only eat oysters!? And plenty of walkers on the path today which is not always the case. It is a very flat stretch however which is probably more appealing. I’m not sure my knee would be up to the South West Coastal stretches right now, although funnily enough the pain eases up when I’m walking uphill …. it’s the downhill and flat that kills.

About half way we climbed a steep sand dune and found ourselves on the wonderful stretch of beach leading up to Holkham. It has to be one of the country’s most striking of beaches, even world class. I love to stomp my way along the hundreds of scattered razor shells … comparable to the joys of popping bubble wrap!

Holkham Beach

Razor shells

The walk along the beach started off well as the sand was hard, but it turned to heavily ridged and then soft sand which wasn’t too great for those knees. So we found a detour into the woodland area alongside and it was a pretty and more comfortable way to finish off.

So by lunchtime we’d reached the cafe at Holkham. Steve quickly swapped his walking boots for his trainers and set off to run back the 3 and a half miles to fetch the car. I hung out with a coffee until my chauffeur returned!

❤️ coastal walking