I walked this, the 19th and final stage of the Grand Norfolk hike, sometime in mid November.
The dog and I left left the house at 8am, took the train to Norwich and another one to North Walsham. Outside the station we were met by a very chatty taxi driver (“I’m a bit crazy sometimes” he said with a wide grin) who took us Happisburgh, arriving on the seafront for 10:00am.
I last saw Happisburgh (pronounced ‘haze-borough‘) after wild camping on a nearby beach back in August 2012, it had taken me four years to return, far too long.
We followed the Norfolk Coast Path for a short while before heading off down to the beach.
And what a beautiful sight it was!
I let Smithy dog off the lead and we alternated our walking (or running in Smithy’s case) between the beach and the ridge of the sand dunes.
After a few miles we spotted a seal bobbing up and down on the waves, ten or so metres from the shore.
It looked at us in a disinterested fashion, I gaped back while Smithy gave a tentative bark.
And then…more seals…and more…and more…an entire colony of them!
I put Smithy back on the lead (“you don’t want to mess with this bunch” I warned him) and we watched the goings on from the top of the dunes.
At one point the beach was cordoned off with a ‘Seal Colony – do not disturb’ sign. A local volunteer group, the ‘Friends of Horsey Seals‘ were on hand to keep the unwise away from the pregnant mothers, newly born pups and grumpy dads.
The volunteers were a friendly and knowledgeable bunch, I spent some time chatting to one of them and learnt all about the seals and pups.
On that day there were nearly 400 adults seals and 200 pups on the beach, apparently this number doubles by mid-winter!
Smithy was perplexed by the whole thing.
By 3:30pm we had arrived at Winterton-on-Sea, just in time to order tea and cake from the beach cafe.
And with that, the Grand Norfolk hike is completed!