I walked this, the second stage of my Grand Norfolk Hike, on 31 December 2011.
Despite gloomy warnings from the BBC website there was no rain on this walk at all, I even saw the sun a few times.
I took a bit of time finding my way out of Heacham and had to backtrack a mile to where I had ended the last stage of walk at South Beach.
I finally found myself on the beach and felt a surge of happiness to be there, standing in the wind with the sound of the waves breaking against the beach. Lovely
I headed north, saying hello to the many other walkers out and about with their dogs and families. Hunstanton soon approached and looked much like any other seaside resort in the winter, not a spot to stay for long.
I then walked for a mile or so beneath the impressive Hunstanton cliffs, I did take some photos of these but somehow managed to lose them somewhere between there and writing this. Defeated by technology yet again.
As I walked past Old Hunstanton I noticed a largish crowd ahead of me. As I grew nearer I could see they were gathered around something big and dark lying on the beach. It was a beached sperm whale surrounded by people taking snap shots and prodding at the animal’s carcass.
My hand went for my camera but then I realised how wrong that seemed. And suddenly I felt very sorry for the whale and sad that it was being treated in this disrespectful way. I let the camera drop back into my pocket and walked on by feeling somewhat saddened by the whole thing.
It was reported in the local press and on the BBC.
However, my sadness could not be sustained amongst such lovely scenery.
I ate lunch on the dunes, a fine Cornish pasty from our local butcher in Ely and lots of chocolate. I also kept my eye out for any potential spots for wild camping later in the year.
By this time the tide had gone out, leaving large pools of water watched over by groups of birds. I was looking forward to a pint in Thornham before catching the bus back to King’s Lynn.
So, I had 40 minutes to cover about a mile, I could see Thornham and felt I had plenty of time to get to the pub.
But…I didn’t look at the map and thus didn’t see that I was heading directly for a large channel between the village and my own sweet self. After walking along the channel for 20 minutes without finding a crossing place I accepted the inevitable and waded across the channel in my bare feet.
Man, did I stink! And there was no way I was going to get to the pub and would have to jog part of the way to even have a chance of catching the bus! A terrible end to an otherwise excellent day. I did manage to stop for a few seconds to admire a beautiful barn.
Phew! I arrived puffing at the bus stop and looked longingly at the Orange Tree pub across the road but the bus pulled up and I jumped inside. Took the bus to Lynn, train to Ely, taxi to home and put myself in the shower to get the Norfolk swamp muck washed from my legs before devouring several cups of tea.
(the excellent photo at top of the page of Heacham at sunset is used with the kind permission of Pamela Kelly)