Day 79: English Coastal Path

D79: MARGATE to DEAL

Wednesday 15th June 2022

Today miles: 25.6 Total miles: 1287.5

After the exhausting day yesterday Gemma had decided, rightly so, that both her and Alfie would take a day off from walking today. My initial plan for today is to walk the 14 miles towards Sandwich and then catch the train back to Margate, more on this plan later. I arrived in Margate and was soon back on the coastline, just beyond the red bus restaurant. There’s two huge natural bathing pools on the beach at Margate and there both already busy with people and more surprisingly, several dogs. This part of the English Coastal Path is also a section of the Thanet Coast Path. I stopped and spoke to a few of the bathers who confirmed that the water was still fairly cold but bearable. At Botany Bay I used the grubby public toilets and refilled my water bottles before continuing towards Kingsgate. As I turned the corner I saw Kingsgate Castle on the edge of the cliff and thought of ‘Game of Thrones’. It looked stunning under the clear blue sky.

I diverted slightly inland until arrival at Broadstairs where I once again rejoined the coast. Despite being midweek it’s extremely busy. I had my first refreshment break at a pretty painted Victorian shelter. Unfortunately half the seagulls in Broadstairs decided they also wanted to share my food. After my break was interrupted I continued for three miles along the top of the cliffs until arriving at Ramsgate Marina. I dropped into the ‘Wetherspoons’ pub for another break but again I left early as I’m quickly surrounded by literally hundreds of noisy, uniformed school kids. I briefly looked around the town centre before climbing back onto the top of the cliffs. Shortly after leaving Ramsgate I began to notice new ECP finger signs. I took several more short breaks on my way into Sandwich, one at the Viking Longship ‘Hugin’ located at Cliffsend and another at a roadside cafe truck located at Pegswell Bay Country Park. Shortly after leaving Pegswell Bay I was diverted away from the ECP onto the A256 road which I trekked along for the next three miles, to the Northern edge of Sandwich.

I found some respite from the sun at a wooden shelter in Sandwich and took a little time out to considered my options. It was only 1.30pm and despite the heat I still felt pretty fresh. I considered my new plans and then contacted Gemma to get her opinion. She confirmed what I already suspected, she doesn’t have any desire to walk tomorrow and now I’m (happily) on my way to Deal. After rounding the Industrial Estate on Sandwich Haven I reached the flood plains at Great Stonar, there’s a huge sign warning walkers of flooding at high tide. It’s approximately two miles to the coastline and once I passed the Industrial Estates the views finally opened up. There was no protection from the burning sun and I soaked my towel with water before placing it over my head to keep me cool. I looked silly but there’s few people around to laugh at my indignity. I walked the final five miles to Deal along a firm footpath slightly inland from the shingle beach.

On arrival in Deal I walked to just beyond the pier before leaving the English Coastal Path and heading inland. I sought out the ‘Sir Norman Wisdom’ a Wetherspoons pub. For those who don’t know Sir Norman Wisdom is one of the worlds greatest comedy actors. I grew up watching his black and white films in the 1970’s and 1980’s and he’s a hero of mine. He wasn’t born in Deal but moved here as a child and spent much of his life in the town. I wasn’t going to miss out on the chance to visit the pub named after him. I had a nice cold beer in his honour. I arrived back at the hotel around 7.30pm satisfied with todays extended miles. Tomorrow is now an unexpected rest day.

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