Essex estuaries … and getting to know Charlie

Thursday 20th February 2020

Getting ready to set out this morning, it was a damp, drizzly grey day … we could so easily have talked ourselves out of walking. But oh no, we Roses are intrepid explorers and there is more Essex coastline for us to conquer!

To be honest, it’s not the easiest part of the UK coastline to master, in terms of planning. Fairly easy walking due to its flatness but a nightmare to get your head around the numerous estuaries that break up any straightforward path. Steve (the main planner) has had his work cut out for him this week. And to be honest, estuary walking isn’t exactly scintillating, it’s a tad sameish! But we can’t pick and choose if we want to complete our project of walking the UK coastline … we have to join up all the dots. Today’s plan therefore was to walk from Beaumont Quay back to Walton-on-the-Naze where we had ended yesterday.

We managed to get a train as far as Thorpe-le-Soken and from there, due to lack of buses, we had to walk 2 miles to our start point. And this included walking on a non-pavement national speed limit road – not my favourite!

Finally got to turn off onto a farm track to take us down to the disused quay of Beaumont Quay.

Finally got to the start point of Beaumont Quay

And this is clearly a disused quay (and has been since the 1930s) and we started off eagerly to find our path along the estuary to Walton-on-the-Naze. The raised path which acts as a flood defence in these wet areas provides a clear vista of the extended area but also sets you up to the elements. And as the path meanders (this word always reminds me of my Geography teacher Mrs Sawyer) the wind changes direction as the path turns each corner, you either find yourself facing the wind head on, sweeping you to the side or pushing you along from behind. I know this sounds exaggerated because I’m not exactly lightweight but I felt I was being picked up by the wind at times!

Probably the last surviving boat in the quay

The path continues along the same vein for the next five miles, winding in and out along the same sort of terrain with similar views. The only thing that varied was the amount of wet ground and mud underfoot – it was SO horrendously muddy in places. And yes we had a few slips and trips – no serious injuries or breaks, just muddy bottoms and temporary loss of pride!

Occasionally we came across a few remote properties that set the country scene and we could envy that tucked away style of life.

But mostly it was just about placing one foot in front of another to get the walk done because it really wasn’t very interesting. It’s on walking days like this that I do loads of thinking … and I love that. I’m always thinking about what I’m going to include in my blog. I also conjure up ideas for books which I will write one day …. and poetry … I get all creative! And when the day hasn’t been wonderfully scenic, varied and interesting, at least it’s been a few hours of fresh air and exercise.

After 5 miles of wending our way through these raised estuary paths we came to a point where it was fenced off and we were therefore forced to take a country lane up to the main road. For once we welcomed the change, despite walking with cars, because we were sick to death of estuary paths. And so we walked our way into Walton-on-the-Naze.

Walton-on-the-Naze

Friday 21st February 2020

No walking today. A leisurely morning and ventured into Colchester in the afternoon. Went to a fabulous Curzon cinema to see ‘Parasite’ – amazing must-see film.

This is our last full day in Wivenhoe. In the morning we will be doing the local Parkrun and then packing up to head home. We’ve enjoyed getting to know this part of the country. Part of our retirement plan is enjoying the experience of living in different parts of the UK and this hasn’t disappointed.

We’ve loved getting to know Charlie too. He was a little wary of us to begin with but the last few days we’ve had a more play and cuddling up time … and now it will be sad to say goodbye.

Bye-bye Charlie 💕

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