Day 86: English Coastal Path


Wednesday 7th September 2022

Today miles: 15.7 Total miles: 1421.4

After a short train journey back to Worthing and an easy half mile walk I’m quickly back on the coast path and on my way to Bognor Regis. Checking the map on the train confirmed that I’m walking a stretch of the coastline which is very built up and I wasn’t hopeful about the view on my right hand side today. Whilst walking along the paved promenade I’m passed by dozens of young people cycling to school, most of them moving relatively leisurely but later on others are peddling frantically, hoping to avoid a telling off and/or detention.
Leaving the promenade behind I was surprised at how nice the walking actually was, there’s a nice, wide grassy strip and all the houses are set back far enough from the coast as too not ruin the coastline. The first ten miles went by very easily.

I’d covered the first ten miles in pretty good time and without any proper refreshment break. Arriving on the edge of the River Arun in Littlehampton I spotted a pretty wooden pavilion which would be perfect for an extended break. There’s already another man sitting on one side of the building and as I approached he looked up towards me and said “You homeless too, pal”. One half of me felt insulted and the other half was laughing, how dare he. Anyway I responded respectfully and moved towards the other, shaded side of the pavilion. Minutes later as I’m making my coffee I’m joined by my new friend who complete with his open can of Stella Artois sits down next to me. Ironically it turns out he recently got released from prison, he’s wanted by the police for smashing his neighbours window and he despises the local constabulary. After downing my coffee I cut my break short and left my new BFF with a handshake. I was disappointed at having to cut my break short but I chortled to myself all the way along the Rivers edge for the next ten minutes.
I crossed the River Arun via the locally named ‘red bridge’ before skirting around Littlehampton golf course. There’s another old fort just after Littlehampton and several enormous groynes, I think some were well over 6ft high, close to the fort.

On arrival in Middleton I checked out the train timetable back to Brighton. I then decided to try once again to have that extended break. I sat down on a bench, removed my socks and shoes and enjoyed the sun shining on my face. Once again I’d noticed that some people were being a bit standoffish. There’s lots of benches along the beach and most are occupied, except the ones on either side of mine. It’s now clear to me, as per my friends earlier comment that I probably do look like a homeless vagrant and it’s making people wary. It’s not something I’d ever experienced before and it’s making me question my own previous attitude and opinion towards homeless people.

I moved on after a good, peaceful nap with only a mile of coastal path to walk before moving inland. The train journey back to Brighton was uneventful if excessively noisy due to the hundreds of school kids who got on at Worthing. The blister on the pad of my left foot has been causing me some issues and if the predicted storm arrives tomorrow then I’ll take an unplanned rest day. I spent the night doing a few chores and chatting with a few of my temporary roommates at Brighton Youth Hostel, their an interesting bunch.

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