Sunday, 25 January 2015

seaside walking...& socks!

I've got to confess it took some internal discussion to brave the cold today and make the effort to drive up to the coast for the next bit of my beach exploration. This week has presented its own challenges and I think the 'keep things in order' bit of me needs some consistency so keeping to my self-imposed target seemed important somehow.

The next beach round the East Norfolk coast is Waxham. This is not a new one to me - I hadn't been for years but it was the haunt of my late teens. Once some of us were able to drive this was our 'go to' for evening barbecues in the dunes or on the beach. Bit of a no no now I think, the authorities are much more protective of what's left of the Norfolk dunes which have seen so much erosion over recent years. But it is the stuff of my memories and there were some happy times here, pre-children, when it was easy to get up and wander along the dunes looking for that perfect secluded spot. Somewhere, there is a rather faded photo of a few of us with big 80's hair and batwing jumpers (anyone remember those?!!) on Waxham beach.

This isn't one of the more commercialised beaches - there is no car park, so you just find a spot by the side of the pot-holed road and walk up to the ramp over the sea defences...


I think this is a lovely approach to a beach but it is what makes it something of a challenge with small children. I can remember trying to bring two toddlers and a baby here, having had to park the car at the end of the road and walk all the way back with the paraphernalia required for small people - blankets, picnic, windbreak, toys, buggy (hopeless in the sand but think we thought the baby might sleep in it!) etc etc... After a few trips like that we found alternatives for favourite family days out, so its a good few years since I'd been here.

And it is a beautiful beach. Once you go over the top of that dune ramp, this is what greets you...


Granted, the concrete sea defences are a necessary, but not especially atttractive backdrop, but the sand stretches away from you, even when the tide is quite a long way in like today. Off towards Horsey to the south east and curving round towards Sea Palling looking west...


This stretch of coastline is peppered with rocks that have been dropped to try to arrest the apporach of the sea, each marked with tall stakes in the sea.

I have been really lucky with the weather on these weekend walks and today was no different - the temperature gauge on the car said 3C but there was a bit of warmth in the bright sunshine and next to no breeze.

The breakers seemed full of light...


and we cast long shadows across the sand...


The old sea defences were wooden groynes, which have been supplemented now by these huge rocks...


I know there is good reason for them, but I can't help thinking they look a bit out of place on these beaches - there are no rocks like that in Norfolk, that I know of.

We walked along the beach to Sea Palling - as you get further along here the beach becomes a bit more shingly...


before getting more sandy again, with clear footprints from the people who come here with their furry friends...


There was a considerable range of sizes of dog, if the prints were anything to go by!


The seashore shelves away quite steeply here and we hadn't really noticed how far in the waves were coming...


...until we found ourselves hopping through wet sand to the rocks...


I'm always amazed at just how fast the sea approaches. You think you have loads of time, then suddenly its there!


Sea Palling, although not far up the coast, is a much busier resort. Not so much this time of year, but in the summer it is full of families. There is a car park, amusements, a couple of cafes and a chippie and has a much more 'English seaside' kind of feel (complete with some slightly bawdy menu signs in the style of old seaside postcards!)


It also has a lifeboat station and they were out exercising today...


I have every admiration for these crews, who often have long family histories of involvement with the lifeboats, and provide an essential service in this area where we have so much coastline. The RNLI is a charity I readily support, though today I could only empty the rather paltry contents of my purse into their bucket.

The path up to the dunes at Sea Palling takes you to a point on the Norfolk Coast Path...



This path extends the original Norfolk Coast Path long distance trail from 45 to 63 miles, with an extra couple of sections from Sea Palling to Weybourne and then on to Cromer. The original path takes you from Cromer to Hunstanton and there are plans to open a further stretch from Sea Palling in the other direction. Maybe one day, I should repeat this walk and properly do the coastal walk, as a linear walk rather than several little walks at each beach stretch. Would need to find a bit of time off work though...!

Tom couldn't resist the smell of the doughnuts from the cafe...


There is something particularly delicious about these hot, fluffy, sweet treats on a cold day at the seaside. Never quite understood why they are always sold in fours... although the fact that he managed to polish them off in record time perhaps accounts for it!

On the way back we spotted this submerged stairway...


Makes you realise how far up the sand has drifted, I wonder how much higher it will come?

We walked back along the dune ridge - it seemed much narrower than I recall and from here you can see just how close the farmland is to the sea under those open Norfolk skies...



The sun was behind the clouds by this point and had taken the temperature down with it so we were quite glad to be heading back towards Waxham's little church and the car...


I was also very glad of my latest sock knitting spell - maybe its in my mind but I'm sure these homemade woolly socks are warmer than their shop-bought counterparts...


I tried a different pattern this time and although I like them, think I will probably stick to my old trusted pattern in future, all that ribbing made these much slower. They look a bit uneven in this picture but I promise they are the same length! In fact for the first time ever I bothered to try to match the starting point so that I have (almost!) two matching socks!


On to the next pair now, with some lovely Regia wool - has become something of a therapy at the moment!

Next week, Eccles on Sea, somewhere I've driven by on numerous occasions but have never gone down to the beach, so don't really know what to expect there. If the weather is kind I might make it a longer walk and head on to Happisburgh, where there is a lighthouse that featured on Challenge Anneka many years ago...

Til then...

S x

6 comments:

  1. I used to love Challenge Anneka, haha! Beautiful photos again, it's lovely for me to see the sea and sand. I haven't been to the coast since... *thinks*... August 2013! I'll look forward to Eccles on Sea next time.

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  2. What a wonderful post with fab pictures! I love the submerged stairs!! Gorgeous socks too...I've been wearing some my daughter made me, really nice at this time of year!

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  3. I'm impressed with your socks. Well done for making the effort to go out in the cold - looks like it was well worth it! x

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  4. You are so spoilt for gorgeous beaches in Norfolk and very lucky with the weather too. Love the socks - learning to knit a pair is still on my 'to do' list! Have a good week. x

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  5. Hi Sandra, I loved your sunny beach photos an I'm looking forward to the next instalment.
    Great socks too.
    Jacquie x

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  6. We took our kids to Waxham one September and it was full of seals. Loved it. That coast is so bleak in a beautiful way. I want to visit Waxham barn one day, I have never been.

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