D33: English Coastal Path


 Monday 18th November 2019

Today’s walk:   13.8 miles      Total miles:   504.0 miles

I was really looking forward to today’s walking. The sun was shining and the walking, at least on my map looked to be fairly straightforward. The plan was for Gemma to drop me off at the coast near Donna Nook and for her and Alfie to meet me later at Saltfleet, 4 miles further down the coast and hopefully beyond the seal colony.
I encountered some initial difficulties making my way to the coastal path through Sprakes Farm but eventually found a well established path on the edge of the dunes. I wasn’t alone, there were literally 100’s of adult seals and their pups sunbathing themselves on or near the path. I’ve never seen seals this close up and wasn’t sure how to handle them, I’m aware they’ve got big, sharp teeth and that they’re more then willing to defend their pups if threatened. I tried to give them a wide berth were possible but if I got too close they would shuffle towards me and hiss loudly in my direction. I absolutely loved walking amongst the seals and was disappointed when I reached the end of the seal colony just before Saltfleet.
The ground around Saltfleet was sodden wet despite the blazing sun and I needed to take care to avoid the many waterways. I picked up a tarmac road into Saltfleet and met up with Gemma and Alfie, waiting for me with a hot cup of takeaway coffee. We walked through the small village and rejoined the coast near Gowts Farm. I made an error by showing Gemma the map which had ‘Danger Area’ warnings written all over it. I spent some time trying to reassurance her that she was safe. The next few miles were excellent walking conditions and the views out towards the sea were glorious. The water appeared to be a long way out. Every couple of miles I noticed a sea pole with a metal basket sticking up from the sand and wondered what purpose these things have or once had. I spoke later to an enthusiastic local shopkeeper that same day and he told me what he knew. Apparently people would go out onto the sand to collect Cockles, Mussels and other shellfish from the rock pools and the shallow waters. Occasionally the quick rising tide would catch them out and they would climb up the sea poles to safety. They would then just have to wait it out until the next low tide before heading for home, an awesome story.
After stopping for a hot coffee And a snack on top of an old bunker near to. Sea Bank Farm we continued towards Mablethorpe, picking up the promenade at North End. The next 3 or so miles through Mablethorpe and onto Trusthorpe where uneventful and we reached the point where we left the ECP, walking through the caravan park to our bed and breakfast accommodation on the side of the A52 road. I grabbed a quick cup of coffee in our room before jumping aboard the local bus to take me towards Saltfleet. The bus was empty except for me and I had the chance for a nice chat with the driver who was also a local RNLI volunteer. He even diverted from his usual route to take up closer to where Gemma had parked the car earlier today.
An excellent day of walking, I’ll never forget walking amongst the seals and their pups and the beautiful views at Donna Nook.

N.B.  Sorry, lost all the photos from the day, which is bloody annoying.

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