D31: English Coastal Path

D31:  NEW HOLLAND   to   GRIMSBY 

Friday 6th September 2019

  Today’s walk: 21.3 miles     Total miles: 476.2

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      Yesterday I wore an old pair of walking boots that I probably should have thrown out last year, I didn’t and as a result I’ve got a nasty blister on top of my little toe. Those old boots are going straight into the bin when I get home and I’m wearing my comfy trainers today. The walking today is mainly along concrete and this particular footwear should be fine and less painful then wearing those old boots. I parked up at New Holland close to the train station and immediately set off walking into a working dock. It feels weird walking into compounds with security barriers and fences but the sign on the gate just warned me to stay behind the painted yellow line on the ground. Within minutes I was approached by dock security who pointed to the yellow line which had faded and was sometimes difficult to follow. After ten minutes I exited the dock and found myself standing on yet another man made grassy embankment on the side of the estuary. I set off with the sky blanketed in grey cloud, there’s a reasonable chance of some rain today. The walk along the raised embankment was easy and views across the Humber were impressive, I even saw several small deer running around the flood plain. I took my first break near Goxhill Haven after approximately 4 miles of walking. I followed the grass embankment for another hour before reaching East Halton Skitter, I spotted a stationery car and wondered how that had gotten there. All the confusion was made clear when I saw that the grass embankment had finally been replaced by a solid  concrete promenade, wide enough for cars to access. While walking along the promenade I noticed every few hundred metres there was a alcove/lay-by and each one was numbered, alcove 68 was the first I noticed. These would be counted down almost all the way to Grimsby docks. I encountered a few dog walkers and the occasional fisherman parked in the alcoves as I headed towards the jetties at North Killingholme. On the approach to the jetties I saw several enormous car parks filled with millions of pounds worth of brand new cars. At North Killingholme I was confronted by a high metal fence, a heavy metal gate and more warning signs asking passing pedestrians to activate an alarm prior to crossing the dock road. I pressed the excessively large button and immediately an alarm sounded loudly across the whole of the dock. I was looking around surprised expecting several members of dock security to come running. Seconds later a solitary security man (my second such encounter today) appeared and he helped to escort me across the dock road. There are hundreds of HGV’s in an almost constant flow moving too and fro to the dock so I figure the alarm is a sensible precaution. I was quickly back onto the concrete promenade, now heading for Immingham docks via the Killingholme marshes. The marshes are an expanse of wetlands where many varieties of birds look for their food in the vast area of mud. I looked out towards the mud wondering whether anything larger then a wading bird could walk across this ground without disappearing into the mire. Just prior to reaching the docks the footpath ended and I head inland for roughly a mile. This was where the first rain of the day started, lightly at first, a bit like a warning before the real stuff started. Fortunately I managed to duck under a nearby bridge to avoid the worse of it. I hadn’t eaten much today and I was desperate for a hot cup of coffee. I did pass a burger van, but that wasn’t very appealing. A few minutes later I was fortunate enough too spot a cafe in Immingham. The place was full of workmen from the dozens of refineries and factories along this part of the estuary, but despite the afternoon rush I still managed to pick up a bacon buttie and the much appreciated (mug) of coffee. I rejoined the promenade, the hard concrete was hurting my feet and the numbered alcoves where counting down really, really slowly. I was pleased to finally reach alcove No 1 and could leave the promenade behind me, now heading into Grimsby. I had made good steady progress and reached the train station just before 3pm. I won’t be disappointed to leave all the heavy industry behind and I doubt whether this will appear on any favourite days list. I’m looking forward to a change of scenery on my way to  Cleethorpes and beyond to Mablethorpe and Skegness.

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