D68: SOUTHERN-ON-SEA to CANVEY ISLAND
Thursday 31st March 2022
Today miles: 7.8 Total miles: 1075.6
As was expected I slept really well last night. I had originally planned on using today as a rest day however I’ve had to reassess my plans for the next few days. The weather is forecast for snow and temperatures as low as -4 degrees at night. If I had brought my proper winter sleeping bag then I might have tried to struggle through the cold snap but the bag I did bring is not up to scratch so I’ve sadly decided to head home early. I even checked out accommodation options around the capital but the prices exceeded my budget and I decided against it. So, today instead I’m planning to recover my car from Tollesbury and then after lunch walk the 8 miles towards Canvey Island causeway.
I spent quite a while last night working out how to get back to Tollesbury. It entails me jumping on board three separate buses. That little adventure to Tollesbury eventually took me more then four hours, but it’s less then half an hour to drive back to Southend-on-Sea.
When I left the Premier Inn in the early afternoon the sun was shining and I thought maybe the weather forecast had got it wrong. A mile later I’ve walked past Southend pier. At a mile and a half long the piers regarded as the longest pleasure pier in the world. A short time later the pure white clouds that have formed in the sky opened up and the snow finally began to fall. It only fell for 15 minutes and it was fun whilst it lasted. I didn’t have particularly high expectations for today but was really enjoying the walk along the sea front. About a mile after the pier I left the pavement and began walking along a nice concrete promenade, this is also a section of the Saffron Way. Just before reaching Leigh-on-Sea there’s a small marina and a couple of nice pubs, including the Crooked Billet. The pub was busy inside so I just ordered my drink and sat outside for a while. Eventually I moved on, leaving the Saffron Way and walking across Hadleigh Marsh. There’s a clear path through the marsh and the going was easy. After about three miles I noticed a Police helicopter was hovering for several minutes over South Benfleet. I hope whatever or whoever there searching for stays well away from me.
As I walked the last few miles I could clearly see Canvey Island across Benfleet Creek. A row of several tall, metal cranes were unfortunately dominating the view. There’s a flood barrier just before the road bridge which crosses onto Canvey Island. I’ve timed it well and there’s a bus stop, complete with a double decker bus near the bridge and it’s heading back to the centre of Southend. An hour later and I’m wishing I’d jumped on the train for the fifteen minute journey back to the town centre instead. It was only eight miles today and it went by quickly and was surprisingly enjoyable. Tomorrow’s my last day and I’m walking around Canvey Island before heading home.