Day 38: English Coastal Path

Day 38: HOLBEACH   to   SUTTON BRIDGE

Monday 20th July 2020

Today miles:  21.8         Total miles: 593.5

Despite camping on a slope last night I had a reasonable nights sleep. I woke up early and set off walking just before 6am. Having already checked my map last night I knew today I’d be passing by several dwelling on my way towards Sutton Bridge. This meant an opportunity for me to pick up some desperately needed water. Not far into the days walking I entered the section marked ‘Danger Area’ on the map. What wasn’t marked on the map is the excellent tarmac single track road which skirts the edge of the coast for the next 5 miles. This stretch of coast is known as the RAF Holbeach military firing range. I was enjoying the walk, the sun was shining bright in the sky and the views out to sea were impressive. Every 1/2 mile or so I passed an RAF observation tower. This military range has been used by the RAF since September 1926 and although the area is out of bounds to members of the public there’s a public footpath making my progress towards Sutton Bridge straightforward. The tarmac road ended just after passing Gedney Drove End and once again I hopped up onto the grassy sea embankment. I had drank the last ounces of water so through desperation I diverted slightly away from the public footpath towards Guys Head. After a kindly resident refilled my water bottles I then decided to stop on the Western bank of the River Nene, I removed my shoes and had an extended break on the steps of the unoccupied coastguard station. The last 3 miles along the edge of the River Nene was a combination of mainly pretty grass and some heavy industry. Despite having not eaten since my cheese sandwich yesterday afternoon I wasn’t feeling particularly hungry but was pleased to reach the village of Sutton Bridge. I didn’t fancy either of the two public houses in town so just popped into the Co-Op store and picked up some provisions. I then sat down in the Main Street, people watching whilst devouring both my hot pasties and downing my 1 litre bottle of apple lucozade. It was only 11.30am so I decided to use my time to get the bus (two actually) back towards Boston and pick up my car. Standing at the bus stop outside of the now burnt out Sutton Bridge Hotel I have an educational chat with with a woman on her way to Holbeach. She had lived in Sutton Bridge for more then 20 years, having moved from London. She wasn’t particularly singing about the virtues of this historic village. I think the phase  ‘A Shit hole’ was used. After arriving in Boston I drove back to Sutton Bridge, now more then a little concerned about leaving my car here tonight. I parked in a small side street and then set off across the actual Sutton Bridge. The Eastern side of the River Nene was prettier then the opposite bank and also home to a lot more cows. After a further 3 miles of walking I reached the second of the Lighthouses located at the mouth of the River Nene. The twin lighthouses were built in 1831 and they have protected shipping moving through the sand banks and up the River Nene ever since. The East bank lighthouse is also the start of the Peter Scott walk. Despite my newly acquired hatred for sea embankments I enjoyed the walk along this piece of the coastline. As the sun began to set I found a piece of flat grass about a mile from Admiral Point and set up camp. I had a nice evening meal of pasta, bolognese sauce and mashed potato whilst I watched a couple of RAF Typhoon fighter jets doing manoeuvres over ‘The Wash’ in the setting sun.

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