Sunday, 1 July 2012

Day 9 begins

Day 9 begins

As the sun arose and the warm sea breeze drifted through the open tent doorway, I decided that it was time to get up and embrace the new day. It was early, about 5 am, but I had not walked a long way yesterday nor missed a long sleep and rest, so packed up and got walking along the coast, heading for Cleethorpes. 
A girl who I had spoken to via Twitter had said that she would walk with me when I got to Cleethorpes. But as I have not heard anything from her recently or been able to get in touch over the past week, I concluded that it was not possible to meet her. You see, sometimes plans never make it out of the head. Often the most marvelous things happen completely randomly. Still I have my health, as it is, and a good pair of boots on my feet, so am damned well going to get on with life and walking and not fuss too much over failed appointments. 
The morning was not as warm as yesterday, I needed all 3 layers at this hour. I met another herd of cows blocking my way, but they soon trotted off along the sea bank and left me to meander. I had thought that I might follow the sand shore line along, but then feared that the various rivers and rivulets would block my way. I later found this to have been a good decision, only few people know the tides and the ways of getting across and you will always get wet, apparently. 
Soon I was coming along past an old sand fort, something left behind from another era when we had fought the German's and protected our shores actually on our shores, and not in some foreign field of engagement. The towers sat in the shallow waters, that sparkled in the early morning sun, as huge vessels sailed by carrying Plasma T.V. sets and Microwave ovens and Cars and all manner of goods from across the world into Immingham docks.
I met a man called Bill, who had traveled all over the world too, out walking his dog. We shared a long chat talking about this and that and generally getting a good feel about the people of north Lincolnshire. He walked with me a while as we headed back towards the caravan and mobile home park in the distance. He said I would be in Cleethorpes in about 3/4 of an hour, if I walked at normal pace. I fancied a rest actually, along the front somewhere, which I found just as I passed a family of swans at the side of an small lake near to the boating club.

A few of my things were a little damp from last nights storm, so I found a bench and hung them out as the sun was finding its way through the clouds at this moment. I now had a better view of the forts and the estuary which is at the end of the Humber river.
Whilst taking the sun a man approached and asked what I was doing with all this gear, so I explained that I was hoping to raise money for charity and walk all the way around the United Kingdom to get a better understanding of what the people of the United Kingdom are like and what we all think and feel about Great Britain, from the past and until now, and how are we going to move on from here. He offered me some money for charity, which is lovely, so I will have to pay it in to the bank asap. I would prefer not to collect cash, for obvious reasons, and hope that all the readers will understand this. But I may not get another chance if he wasn't an internet user. This is where honesty comes into its own. Some people will want to help me personally and thankfully so. Others are hoping that this donation is going to go to the charity selected or to any that I support if they don't specify. But, I must be clear here, I will do with the donation what you ask me to, or I shall assume I can share it between them all. Better that you click on the donate links from the website and save me the worry of choosing correctly or losing the cash. (and just in case there are any devious thugs out there who are thinking of robbing me, I don't carry much cash...!!!) Truthfully I don't have a pot to P in either.....

And then came Bill. NOT, the Bill of earlier with a dog. NOT the Old Bill either. But Bill the walker, another Bill entirely...

Bill said that he was on his way around Great Britain. All of it, and that he was raising money for Cancer Research too. He had set out on the 24th of this month from Great Yarmouth and was like me heading northwards to Scotland via the east coast.
And I thought I was the only daft soul out here... It was becoming more like the Camino de Santiago every day. I laughed at the thought that we were possibly going to bump into one another often as we were heading the same way practically. He said that his feet were hurting him and that he was of to find a place to have breakfast and tea. I said I'd catch him up as I needed to pack my stuff away and put my boots back on. Bill the 68 year old from Great Yarmouth fairly sprinted away......
Along the way I found a train station that was from the miniature train line here in Cleethorpes.

Shortly afterwards I came past the Meridian line as it came up from Greenwich through Cleethorpes. I had forgotten exactly where the line ran and wasn't sure as to where I was geographically this morning apart from near the sea.

 Who is the tramp in the picture ? Get a shave son.....

Then I was arriving to where my new friend Bill was having tea and a bacon sandwich. 

After Bill had set out again, the huge gang of people in the cafe asked me why I wasn't going with Bill. I had to explain that we had only met about 30 minutes earlier on the coastal path coming off the marshes.
Lisa who ran the shop was kept very busy indeed. I chatted for quite some time with all the folk who had gathered here, who come almost daily it would seem to walk along the front and meet old and new friends alike. This place was a great spot to congregate and eat and drink, and enjoy the simplicity of community and friendship.
I ate my roll and had more tea and was practically the last to leave. Or was it my lack of aftershave and the odour of walking fields all day. Oh it couldn't be that, I had had the most amazing shower yesterday.
I did need a shave though, before I ended up looking like Forest Gump when he had ran across America. I had to laugh, as my family seemed to have adopted this nickname for me. Anyway I was promised public conveniences soon, along the front.
The Humber Estuary is something pretty and full of life, if you take time to pay attention to it all. I read up all about the wildlife and fauna and flora from the many carefully spotted information boards that councils spend our money on, and well done them for this great insight. I guess it is aimed mainly at families to help their children spot the local birds and flowers, but I enjoyed the features too.

Then I was at Cleethorpes before you know it. Sadly they don't put a welcome sign on this coastal walk, you only get that if you come by road. So I took a few pictures for you all and set about finding the place to shave and smarten myself up a little.

I soon found the public services and shaved and got myself appearing half decent again. Cleethorpes is a very nice seaside town, even if they don't have readily available internet in most places. And if they do it was some big guarded secret, I only found access at the local library. And even then you only get 30 minutes free and have to pay after that. It is better than nothing, beggars can't be choosers they say. (Who ever they are..)
I found a really good value place to eat called Sylvias cafe, off one of the side streets near the center. It seems they are also open 24 hours a day Friday and Saturdays because of all the seasonal festivals here.  So I ate and drank and got myself ready for the rest of the days walking, as I was still not able to contact Claire. I began walking along the sea front and soon found that I would have to walk through the dock areas of Grimsby to continue on my way. The constant smell of fish was everywhere which is normal I suppose if you walk through one of the largest fish ports in the country, but not all of it was pleasant. 
The walking was though and I soon was passing over a huge bridge out of the fish producing town. 

It was a long way out of the industrial areas before I got close to the coastal path again. I wound my way down a lane that passed a huge Cosmetic company and eventually arrived back at the sea wall. I noticed that I may have been able to get back on the wall earlier but had not seen any indications as to this, and was loath to walk down roads with no exit. Done this enough already, and you soon learn to be more careful. The bag weight was getting heavier what with a tent and other small items adding to a whopping 14 kilos now. 
The wind had picked up to quite a squall and I suddenly realised that the tent was still possibly a bit damp from this morning. The sun was shining brightly so I thought, 'Pop up the tent and let it dry.' Great idea Watson, but as I threw the tent down I suddenly had to leap into the air to catch it as it nearly took off over the sea wall.....
Where was I when they were giving out brains....?
I sat with one foot on the end and threw my bag and poles into the tent to keep it down, whilst it dried out. This must have taken only about 5 minutes, the heat and wind did a very good job. A lady came walking her dogs and spoke to me, saying that it looked like I was having a great time holding the tent down. She didn't know the half.....
Later as I collected my belongings from the four winds and made it away along the sea wall I met the comedian lady. I didn't actually get her name unfortunately, sometimes if it is not offered readily I don't pry too much, some people like to chat and still keep some distance. She was originally from Yorkshire I believe, but had moved here 12 years ago with her husband, and found work when they arrived, rented a place first to see where they would settle. Back in the good old days when you could just up and move and be able to find work elsewhere. She works presently for the N.H.S. and loves her job she told me and the life here in a tiny village called Little Coates. She was out walking her own dog and that of a neighbour who was away on holiday. The little Jack Russel liked me I could tell, her own dog a Spaniel was a bit older and less keen to run around as much. Our conversation was full and animated, she seemed to enjoy telling me all about how the council were trying to waste money on some community hall project which would mean borrowing huge sums of money, when they had an old fashioned reading room, more in keeping with a little village atmosphere, that had to be closed down even though the residents were prepared to get it up and running and at a fraction of the cost of the new place. I nodded my head in recognition of similar waste strategies I had been party to years before whilst serving a brief time myself, as a Parish Councilor of another tiny Lincolnshire village.
More senseless debates about who cuts the grass at the cemetery no-one ever visits, or street signs in a deserted road.
Still we put the world to rights for a half hour or so and she said that she had to get back, and of course I still had some distance to go before I would call it a day.
I watched many ships sail in and out of the Humber and saw with horror the amount of industry still to navigate past. mainly Oil and chemical refineries and a power station and a pipeline from/to the ships moored at the jetty. Way off in the distance the Immingham docks loomed, the cranes like ancient leviathans striding out of the sea.

Eventually I arrived to where I could go no further, and followed the path down into the woods, and marveled (wretched) at the stench coming from the docks to my right, North from here. It smelt like the dead carcass of a whale, like the one on the beach at Horseshoe point. I half expected to find a dead animal in the woods, but none showed up, and I was so glad to escape the trees a few brief minutes later. I passed the dock entrance gate and followed signs for Immingham which I was reliably informed was close to the dock south entrance. When I saw the buildings ahead I almost died with grief, they were all small businesses closed for the day. I had to realise that this was not in fact my destination, but a brief interlude before. Then I found the signs of my arrival and nearly cheered, as I had walked a good 22+ miles to arrive here. 

Welcomes careful drivers and walkers

I really was fit to drop. I made my mind up that I would love fish and chips for a change, and then I would find the first place to stick my tent, out of the way and within close proximity to that food emporium. It was Friday night after all and I was not expecting an uninterrupted sleep, this close to civilization. On entering the village I saw what looked like a decent take away shop, which didn't seem to specialize in anything particular, but they had fish and chips.

And oh my word what a fantastic meal. I swear they are the best fish and chips I have ever eaten this past decade. Whilst waiting for the meal I noticed that they also catered for people with rooms. B & B or just room and at a very reasonable rate too. I asked if they had a room which they did and decided to have a day of rest here, so booked for two nights. It was almost 10 pm now anyway and the thought of a comfy bed and a shower with hot water was a clincher. They had free internet, so I decided that I could catch up somewhat with my accounts here. (Though I am writing this now from Barton upon Humber)
I was so pleased when I had my shower and settled down for a long sleep. I counted sheep but only got to about 5 before the lights went dim and I slid into a blissful rest.

Day 9 was over at last.

1 comment:

  1. Run Forest run!!! Nice stories and Adventure is now your middle name.Nice to see there are other like minded souls out there doing their bit for charities.Take care chum.x