D36: English Coastal Path

Day 36:  WRANGLE   to   BOSTON

Sunday 5th July 2020

Today’s miles: 16.8     Total miles:  554.5

      I struggled to sleep during the night, a combination of noisy wind outside, aching feet and too much thinking about the previous days problematic walking.

   I was awake before 5am. I had a miserly 1lt of water to make my coffee and prepare my hot breakfast. Shortly after I had poured the water into my camp stove tin I accidentally knocked it over and the entire contents spilt onto the floor. No breakfast, no coffee and no water for the rest of today. There’s very limited opportunities to obtain water along today’s route so I needed to be more careful.
I immediately set off along the sea wall with the wind in my face. There wasn’t a great deal to look at, the sea still seems some distance away and the farmers around this area clearly enjoy growing huge quantities of potatoes and cabbage, that’s all I can see for miles around. This sea wall is along a well marked public footpath but nevertheless I still encounter several heavily padlocked gates along the route.

One of too many

I also pass through several fields occupied by wild horses who are more interested in me then me in them. They are excitable and rush towards me, I approach them much more slowly. At Freiston Shore I decided to leave the sea wall temporarily as I could see several pretty houses and a possible opportunity for water. It’s still early on Sunday morning so I’m wary about waking anybody from a well earned lie in. Fortunately I spot somebody in her kitchen and she’s happy, if obviously wary of me and she fills my water bottle. This area of the coast is littered with lots of WW2 bunkers and pillboxes, part of the British anti invasion preparations. On the edge of Freiston Shore there’s a large derelict fortication which imaginative locals have transformed into a pretty little rest area. Using the earlier obtained water I finally get my hot cup of coffee and a long refreshment break. After moving away from Freiston Shore I walked along a concrete path adjacent to the sea wall and arrive at the edge of HMP North Sea Camp. According to my map the public footpath goes straight through the prison grounds. I see a notice board asking visitors to contact the prison reception to gain access. The lady on the telephone asks me to wait where I am and I’ll shortly be escorted through the prison. I could have taken to the other sea wall which avoided the prison grounds altogether but after my experiences of yesterday I’m sticking to the public footpaths as much as I can. On these public footpaths I’m confident of fighting my legal corner if anybody wants to confront me about my chosen route. I can see a prison officer in the distance ahead of me and I start walking towards them. Minutes later I met Pete who works at the Cat D prison. It’s a strange experience walking through a working open prison. I even got to share a tentative ‘hello’ with several prisoners, distinctive in their faded orange tops. Pete then indicated to me the point where I could exit HMP North Sea Camp. Not long after rejoining the anticipated ECP I was diverted away from this route by yet another diversion, this time thanks to the Environment Agency. This time they are improving the sea defences near the mouth of the Cowbridge Drain and this includes closing a short 1 mile stretch of the current sea wall. The diversion means an additional three miles of road walking before I reach Boston.

I do appreciate the efforts of everybody involved in the create of the ECP, I hope in the future that they get the path open in 2020 as was originally planned. I would ask that there is some website created in the future, for organisations or individuals to report such diversions. This might avoid frustrations for walkers so they can plan their days without such painful surprises.

aaaaarrgg

Having diverted into Fishtoft I had a welcome cold drink in the recently reopened Red Cow pub. I then wound my way through the streets to rejoin the ECP and then walked slowly and now painfully the final 2 miles into Boston. By now the wind had finally reduced and the sun was shining. I arrived at Boston train station and waited the two hours for the next train to return me to my car in Skegness. I carefully checked my painful feet and noted several sores and blisters, my feet were shredded and they’ll take a few days to recover.

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