Cathedrals, white cliffs and kestrels … but not a bluebird in sight!

Sunday 11th October 2020. Day 3 of walking

It was bright and sunny most of the day as the three of us walked from Deal to Dover (even Steve took his jacket off at one point). 10 miles of spectacular coastline walking – clifftop and seaside – this is what it’s all about. Some steep climbs at points and particularly narrow paths with sheer drops at the side – the type that keep you totally fixated on your feet only.

And certainly no shortage of white cliffs (Alice really got her fix) – we were just missing the bluebirds (what would Vera say)? Lots of kestrel activity though.

When we were nearing St. Margaret’s Bay, we all got a text from our mobile network welcoming us to France. Hilarious …. apart from the question mark over quarantining!?

As you reach Dover the ferry terminal dominates seafront with the castle and imposing white cliffs peering over the town. A great walk today.

Deal or no Deal

Kestrel hovering
Dover

Monday 12th October 2020. A DAY OFF WALKING

Something different today – spent some time exploring Canterbury. We’d been out a few times in the evening but wanted to see more. Alice and I started off with a little retail therapy then met up with Steve for a visit to the city’s cathedral. Despite the exterior being cocooned in renovation materials it was still an inspiring place to visit – steeped in history. Had lunch in one of the many arty cafes and then enjoyed a beautiful riverside walk back to our accommodation.

Canterbury Cathedral

Unfortunately the rest of the day turned out to be rainy but we didn’t let it beat us. We drove to Broadstairs and had a wet wander around the seafront area. Then, best of all, we met up with friends Russell and Mandy for a few beers and an Italian meal. A perfect evening – great food, wine and company. So enjoyed seeing Steve and Russell laugh like teenagers, reminiscing about their village cricket days in Little Kingshill.

The Roses … with Russell and Mandy 😊

Tuesday 13th October 2020. Day 4 of walking

Alice drove back home today so it was just the two of us on a jaunt from Dover to Folkestone. We selected this 7 mile shorter walk as we were meeting a friend at 5pm back in Canterbury. Well …. that 7 miles turned out to be a killer. From the minute we left Dover we were climbing and climbing (a mixture of practically vertical slopes and endless flights of steps), then descending steeply before going up again and again and again. Oh the joys. And it was raining, so nicely slippery underfoot. At times we had to cling on to fences to pull ourselves up or steady or way down.

Definitely the hardest day so far … even though it was only 7 miles.

Dover castle
Tortuous uphill walking … in the rain
Battle of Britain Memorial

So got back to Canterbury just in time for a quick turn around then out to The Foundry to meet our friend Paul, who had travelled up from Maidstone to see us. Another fun evening and many wines and beers consumed.

Steve with Paul

Wednesday 14th October 2020. Day 5 of walking

And today it was Faversham to Herne Bay – a mere 14 miles!!

Walked through the pretty town of Faversham to reach our starting point at the quayside. Some interesting boats, pretty packed in and lots of activity on the quay. The coastal path from here was 5 or 6 miles of riverside walking before we reached the open sea. As estuary walks go it was quite pretty and lots of bird activity. Stopped to say hello to a lone walker/birdwatcher … and half an hour later we managed to break away …. think he was lonely …. but we’d learnt a lot about wind directions, kingfishers and how to avoid earache!

Faversham
Faversham Quay – lots of houseboats

After what seemed like an eternal path of sea defence walking, we finally reached the beachside village of Seasalter which faces the Isle of Sheppey across the estuary. Walked through the village before making our way back down onto the seafront as we neared Whitstable.

This is our second visit to Whitstable this year. We drove down last month to visit our friends Jeff and Tracey … only to find out that they weren’t due down on their holiday until the following week !!! Oops.

So it was good to see Whitstable again – a popular summertime resort. It was chilly today though and the trudge between Whitstable and Herne Bay seemed to take forever. Probably linked to last night’s wine merriment but I struggled these last few miles and was mightily relieved when Steve finally declared that we had reached our end point in Herne. Then it was just a mile walk to the car!

Thursday 15th October 2020. Day 6 of walking

To improve on yesterday’s wind conditions, we decided to mix it up a bit and walk in reverse – so today it was a 12 mile walk from Margate to Herne Bay …. with the wind behind us.

We walked along miles of unfenced promenade which was littered with seaweed, pebbles, oyster and mussel shells. The sea was incredibly choppy and at high tide, so spraying all over our path. It was exhilarating at times, sometimes a little scary. I was constantly looking for escape routes in case we needed to get up onto higher ground quickly, even if it meant scrabbling up the cliff. Occasionally the path did take us up on to the cliff tops where once again we marvelled at the luxuriousness of sea view living. It was another great day of walking though, one where it felt good to be alive. We enjoyed watching the seabirds flying en masse, bobbing and jumping over the waves.

We passed through the site of a Roman fort and the twin towers of St Mary’s church at Reculver, now a ruins. And we treated ourselves to a little lunch break. And from there we rambled our way once again (from the other direction) into Herne Bay – finishing off our week of walking.

Margate – still mad people swimming!
The twin towers of St. Mary’s Church, Reculver
Finally reaching the end …. for now!

It’s been a fabulous week and we’ve ticked off another 65 miles of the UK coastline – our long term project continues. Loved having Alice with us and so good to catch up with lovely friends too.

The house-sit was a slight disaster in terms of cleanliness … it was like living in a fur ball … and the hoover didn’t work. But we’ll put that down to experience and start planning our next rambling adventure.

Bye for now and remember …. Hands, Space, Face ❤️

A-rambling we go … in sunny Kent 😎

Thursday 8th October 2020

We set off on Thursday afternoon – I was ready on time with my bags packed …. Steve had literally done everything else, as usual !! I really should start taking an interest in the planning and logistics – but then we all know that Steve loves a project! And so our next walking adventure had begun.

We’re staying in Canterbury to house-sit two very fluffy black cats, Bella and Zoe. They’re indoor cats and are exceptionally timid …. and there’s a definite feline aroma around the house! But it’s a cosy terraced house, just a short walk from the cathedral and lots of interesting shops, cafes, bars and restaurants…. and it’s free!

Canterbury Cathedral (under renovation)
Bella
Zoe

Friday 9th October 2020. Day 1 of walking

Today we walked from Margate to Ramsgate – 8 miles of easy and flat terrain with scenic views, pretty much sticking to the coastline. We saw plenty of swimmers, some in the sea, some in the lidos …. whichever it was, still think they’re bonkers! Of course there are white cliffs a plenty – absolutely love them. I’m always envious of beachside properties but North Foreshore is in a league of its own – an eclectic mix of period properties and modern architect designed – all of them jaw droppingly stunning.

We stopped for coffee in pretty Broadstairs – it felt like about 20 degrees as we sat outdoors soaking up the autumn sun. Finished off the walk just in a T shirt – well, and trousers (and shorts in Steve’s case, always shorts). Fell in love with Broadstairs, pretty beach and town, feel sure we’ll be back.

Setting off from Margate

Saturday 10th October. Day 2 of walking

A long walk today, Ramsgate to Deal – 14 miles. Alice had joined us last night for a few days, which meant she got roped in to some ‘rambling with her parents!’ To hit her with 14 miles was a bit mean and to be honest this wasn’t the most interesting coastal walk as it took us inland a fair bit, Alice never minds though, she just goes with the flow … and is certainly fitter than me.

There were some clifftop climbs to start off, with some incredible views (Alice got to see the White Cliffs at last) followed by woodland paths. Unfortunately the coastal path then took us for a few miles along busy roads and industrial estates – not so glamorous – leading us into the very pretty historic town of Sandwich. Temporary dilemma on finding the town bridge closed, hence sealing off our path. While Steve busied himself looking for ways to get through the construction barriers, Alice and I spotted a notice about a transit service to ferry us into the town – relief! The bus appeared and took us a fair old distance to get into the town centre … it was so good to have a sit down.

We alighted the bus in Sandwich, it was lunchtime, so there was only one thing for it – ‘a sandwich in Sandwich.’ We chose an attractive looking hostelry, got ourselves settled in only to find they didn’t do sandwiches! So, jacket potato it was.

The next part of the walk was across endless fields and past golf courses until we finally found ourselves back to sea views and some promenade walking. The day had turned chilly so we were relieved and weary when we finally got back to the car. We would sleep well tonight …. a quiet night in with fish and chips, cups of tea and an early to bed.

Setting off from Ramsgate
Socially-distanced and Mask wearing in transit service – Sandwich town
The historic town of Sandwich

Back for more tomorrow 😎