D74: ALLHALLOWS-ON-SEA to CHATHAM
Wednesday 18th May 2022
Today miles: 28.3 Total miles: 1201.5
I’m actually camped two miles from the outskirts of Allhallows-on-Sea, so todays first objective is to reach the town and grab something to eat and drink. I’ve just about got enough water to make some coffee and a small bowl of porridge. I deliberately hung around my campsite until 7am as I didn’t want to arrive in town too early and find everything was still closed. It’s a really nice start to the day. The sun is shining, there’s a nice cool breeze and the views are stunning. On arrival at Allhallows Leisure Park I bumped into a resident and found out the parks got its own mini market and great news, it opens in ten minutes, happy days. It’s only a short diversion and I managed to pick up plenty of water, a coffee and lots more snacks. I was now heading towards Grain and I’m unsure as to how to complete this next section. I sat down and spent some time studying the map and came up with a plan. There’s several issues for me around Grain. There are lots of waterways in the area potentially without any bridges, there are a few public footpaths marked on the map but they don’t seem to go anywhere and thirdly it’s been some time since I came across any signs for either the English Coastal Path or the Thames Path which I read somewhere ends in Grain. I had nightmarish visions of wandering around the area, adding several more miles to an already long day. I decided to walk the three miles around Allhallows Marsh and then just head inland towards Lower Stoke.
After walking around Allhallows Marsh and then through Binney Farm I picked up a minor road towards Lower Stoke As I walked along I was approached by a marked police car. When the car stopped the Police officer immediately asked if I had been wild camping last night. I was slightly concerned by the question but need not have worried. The officer (Nick) is also a keen hiker and was just interested in my walk. He pulled over and we chatted for about 15 minutes. It is so hot today and I’ve already drank two litres of water, I grabbed myself a cold can of fizzy pop in Stoke. Despite the heat I was still enjoying the walking and the miles were going by quickly. Shortly after passing Hoo Marina Park I walked along the shoreline adjacent to Cockham Wood. I noticed several bits of worn down green glass on the beach and pocketed some of these broken pieces. Gemma (the missus) is collecting beach glass for an ornament and green glass is a lot less common then clear glass. I then dropped into a pub near Upper Upnor (The Pier) and had a minor falling out with the manager when I queried an attempt to charge me £4.60 for a half pint glass of lemonade. He eventually charged me £2.60 which I thought was about right. Having made my way through Frindsbury I saw the Ex-Soviet Submarine (U-475) which is currently moored on the River Medway. It’s in a sorry state and awaiting restoration by its present owner. I crossed the Medway at Rochester Bridge and then sat for another break.
I’ve got a painful blister developing on the bottom of my left foot and I’ve been trying to cover it with plasters but they keep falling off. Note to self: Try to find some sweat proof plasters. I managed to work my way through the busy streets of Chatham and Gillingham trying to stay close to the River Medway. I saw an occasional English Coastal Path sign and tried to follow them when possible. On reaching the Dockside Outlet Centre I followed the A289 until reaching The Strand Leisure Park and then had another short break. It was only about 6pm and I still had more than two hours of daylight left. I felt remarkably well despite having already walked over 23 miles. Not long after restarting I was walking along the Saxon Shore Way when I noticed a young male walking towards me. He had bright blue hair but more alarmingly he was covered in blood. As he got closer I could see he had a crazy look in his eyes. I was in a fairly isolated location so rather then ask him if he needed any help I decided to just let him walk by. A few minutes later I rang 999 in case he needed any medical help. That’s two police encounters in one day, crikey. I don’t know what happened to him but I hope he was okay. The Saxon Shore Way for the next three miles has a really good path and I entered the grapevines on the Western edge of Upchurch just as the sun began to go down. I passed a local man who was kind enough to give me some advice about where I might be able to camp. Following his advice, I made my way to just beyond the Horsham Fishing lake where I boiled my stove and made myself something to eat. Thunderstorms are forecast again tonight.
Today miles: 28.3 Total miles: 1201.5