Day 57: English Coastal Path

D57: BEAUMONT to CLACTON-ON-SEA

Thursday 4th November 2021

Today miles: 19.8 Total miles: 885.2

This morning I’m hoping the bus driver is going to be in a really good mood and that they’ll happily drop me off close to Beaumont Quay. The nearest official bus stop is about two miles from my start point and I really don’t fancy the additional road walking. Fortunately the driver is very friendly and he’s happy to drop me off at the top of the lane close to Beaumont Quay. Minutes later l’m walking along the top of yet another well manicured sea wall. This section went by fairly quickly and before I knew it I had arrived on the Northern edge of Kirby-le-Soken. There’s a small collection of buildings on the edge of the quay at Kirby and some nice views out towards ’The Wade’. After a short break I walked the next two miles along the B1034 towards Walton-on-the-Naze. There’s an outdoor market in the town square today and I managed to grab myself a couple of pieces of fruit (apples) which I ate as I once again rejoined the sea wall.

The wind level had suddenly picked up and I could see that dark clouds were gathering over Harwich Harbour. It was heading in my direction so I put on my waterproof jacket and my new bright green, lightweight, waterproof trousers. When the rain did appear it was fairly heavy but it lasted for less then fifteen minutes. Minutes later I removed the wet weather clothing as the sun reappeared, this gear on, gear off routine would be repeated several times today. As I approached ’The Naze’ the sea wall made way for a 3-4m high cliff and several minor tracks which required some careful navigation. I was then presented with a moral dilemma which I spent some time stressing over. A solitary female walking in the opposite direction asked me ”If I keep walking around here will I get back towards the water tower” Yes, I thought. If she keeps walking she will get back to the water tower, which I could see was now behind her. I simply said ”Yes” and she carried on walking along the sea wall. I just wished that I had mentioned, it’s about 5 miles and/or about 2 hours of walking. I really hope my simple acknowledgment wasn’t understated and that she got to her destination safely.

On arrival at ’The Naze’ I descended down the cliff face via a steep set of steps. Then there’s a concrete walkway which takes me all the way into Walton-on-the-Naze with the impressively long pier constantly in front of you. Arriving in Walton I stopped at an ornate wooden shelter on the sea front for an hour long break. The pier in Walton has an illustrious history and was once the third longest pier in the UK. Unfortunately its best days are well behind it and when I looked online I really struggled to find any positive reviews. Let’s hope the most recent owner finds the money to refurbish the structure. On my way once again I paused momentarily at the memorial statue to Private Herbert George Columbine, who at the age of 24 was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for Valour and Courage in 1918.

The next five miles towards Clacton-on-Sea continued along the promenade and it’s lined with long stretches with numerous beach huts. On the final stretch into Clacton a stunningly clear double rainbow appeared in the sky ahead of me. It was no surprise when the beauty of this rainbow was soon followed a few minutes later by yet another heavy downpour. For the last mile into Clacton I decided to leave the busy promenade and instead walked along the relatively quiet beach. It was starting to get dark and I was happy that my accommodation for tonight, the Premier Inn was less then a minutes walk from the beach. After getting cleaned up I decided to cross the road and eat at the nearby Wetherspoons named The Moon and Starfish. It was typically Wetherspoons, cheap, basic food with quick service. just what I wanted. I was back in my room for 9pm and feeling tired, sleeping not long after that.

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