First line of defence

Two days of walking on our local beaches here in Norfolk has really made us worry about the state of our sea defences.

Our coast is made up of sand with dunes which leaves large stretches vulnerable and at risk of erosion – and the erosion seems to be happening more and more often and at quite a speed.  Cliffs crumble away and can be dangerous, often collapsing without warning.

Yesterday we walked from a small village called Walcott to another village called Happisburgh – out along the beach and back along the cliff. The two and a half mile stretch of beach is something we’ve never done.

This is what most of it looks like.  There’s quite a high cliff just here.

There are lots of groynes.  Some running into the sea and others (as above) running in lines parallel with the sea.  Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, after a few years the metal bolts start to become loose, the wood rots and bits break away.

Here is Happisburgh church just peeking over the cliff (see photo below).  It’s getting closer and closer to the edge.   Great chunks of land and homes have fallen into the sea.  The static caravan park between the church and the edge of the cliff has closed and the site has almost been cleared.

This all sounds a bit grim, which is unlike me, but it’s how it is.  The photo below shows an old pillbox – once a cliff top lookout during wartime now resting on the beach quite a way from the current cliff edge.

On a positive note the view from the path on the way back is still a nice view – with the church in the distance.  And the farmer is still watering the crops.  We had to do a strategic run to avoid the spray!

We will continue to walk the coastal path here and monitor any changes.

Today we did a longer walk along the beach from Waxham to Eccles on sea. Sea Palling beach is between the two and is well protected by man made reefs put in place in 1995.  As a result the small village is protected and visitors flock here to enjoy the wonderful sandy beach.

Seals love this place too.  However they are usually born during the winter so this youngster, in the photo below, was a surprise to us.

The line of reefs can be seen in the photo.  As you can see, the beach has some rocky groynes which will hopefully last a little bit longer than the wooden/metal structures.

A few miles on and we reached the lifeboat ramp at Eccles and our turn around point.

There are several newer looking groynes here in amongst some rusting old defences.

I think it would be far better if more reefs were built.   I know it means bringing in lots of rock but this seems to be working as our first line of defence.

 

 

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Getting close to cattle on footpaths

Just saying Good Morning

Once upon a time one of the biggest fears Tim and I had when out and about walking was meeting cattle.  We would scramble across stiles and edge our way around fields.

So many stories of walkers being chased or worse, trampled, when crossing fields played on our minds.

However, over the many years of walking, we have only once been really scared.  That was up in the Lake District when we had no where to go and a herd was heading along the same path as us.  We escaped up a steep rocky bank and they passed by.  Mooing loudly as they went!

Be careful if you have a dog and be respectful if they have young and you shouldn’t really have any problems.

Here are a few photos which show how brave we have managed to get.

Cattle – always curious. We admired this one more than most.

Some have lovely fluffy hair styles

Regular milking stock

Best of all are the Highland cattle.  Surprisingly at home in Norfolk and Cornwall.

Quite fearsome but just like teddy bears

Up close but friendly

Quite at home on the coast

Photo Challenge Close

 

Sailing away on a very warm day

Sunday 25th August 2019

It was almost 30 degrees and we had to leave our simmering garden for somewhere cooler.

Instead of heading to the beach (our nearest being about a mile away) to join the masses we went to our closest river, The Thurne, and took a slow stroll along it.   Here we found a gentle breeze.

Yes its been a warm couple of days and we really shouldn’t complain about that but it’s what happens in this country isn’t it?  We’ve always got the weather to talk about.

In full flow of the school summer holidays the population of Norfolk swells as the holiday makers come to enjoy beaches, waterways and open countryside.  It was certainly busy busy on the river bank at Potter Heigham.

Hire boats and privately owned boats of all shapes and sizes with assorted passengers are a fairly normal sight on the waterways in this part of the world but it was the bigger sailing yachts and their crews (just beyond the red sailed boat) that really caught my eye.

On board were several groups of teenagers who were probably doing something they had never done before – experiencing a bygone era when telephones were a luxury.  These wonderful wooden boats were from Hunters Yard, Ludham which is about 2 miles from this spot.  I’ve had a quick look at their website and they promote youth sailing which I think is fantastic.

Here they are a little closer before raising the sails.

A few set off from their moorings, heading in the same direction as us.  I couldn’t help but take a few photos as we travelled along.

The Thurne heads north to a large broad called Hickling.  The first of the large sailing yacht with the youngesters onboard, legs over the edge in the water, headed that way and we watched them disappear while sitting on the bank near the footpath.

Another came along shortly afterwards but the teacher (skipper) wasn’t sure whether to go straight on or left.  A frantic radio message finally had a reply that he needed which was just before I was about to shout out ‘left’. They circled and headed away…

How strange that he didn’t know the route.  Was he a teacher or a hired skipper I wondered.

The last to come past us before we left this spot was a small sail boat with a couple on board.  They appeared in the first photo.  They sailed straight on – to a quieter waterway with an air of experience.

Their boat was called ‘Serene’.

When comparing these boats which is best and which would you prefer, the large yachts or the smaller boat?

Size Matters

 

A roadside display

Roadside verge.

After almost a week of rain it’s a wonder these flowers are still standing.

This verge is on a quiet country lane and I think the seeds must have been scattered by the owner of a house opposite as they only appeared in one spot and only opposite the house.

I think there does seem to be a growing realisation that wild flowers are important as they are appearing in towns and cities  bit more often now.  A growing trend that’s such a good thing for our insects and wildlife.

Photo Challenge Display

 

 

March madness? The Lake District revisited

I’m sure I could hear a helicopter and it was close. That thud thud thud of rotor blades. I was puffing a bit and Tim had just disappeared over the snow cornice just below the summit, out of sight.  Deep breaths. ‘Are you ok?’  I shouted. No reply. ‘Are you ok?’ I shouted again.  “Yes, use the holes for your hands and feet, I’ve kicked them to make them bigger” came Tims voice. It was at this time that I realised that it was my heart that I had heard and not a helicopter. Now that it was all quiet I better get going.

March 2019 – The Lake District

Sometimes it’s good to go back to your favourite holiday haunts. A week at the end of March in Cumbria seemed like a great plan so off we went.

Tim and I have enjoyed so much walking in this area I need to write a book.  For this posting, however, I’ll share a couple of days that took our breath away.  Let’s take a look at Striding Edge and Jacks Rake.

1.  Striding Edge, ridge to Helvellyn

I’ve talked about this ridge in a previous post – the link below takes you to it if you want to see a few more photos.

On the edge of something big

Getting up high in the mountains is generally an easy thing in clear weather.  Find a route, follow a path, take your time, take a map.  Striding Edge is best done on a calm day, set off early and turn back if the weather turns nasty.

Leaving Glenridding early in the morning we gradually left the houses behind.  Once off the Tarmac our route followed close to a Beck (mountain stream).

In the photo below our route is on the far left of the peak, slightly shadowed.

On a sunny day it’s a pleasure.

Once you reach the brow the mountain scene really opens up and it’s time to decide what you’d like to do and where you’d like to eat your packed lunch.  Our choice was take the ridge on the left, scramble along it for a couple of hours then get onto the summit of Helvellyn.

Helvellyn (with snow on top in the photo below) is the third highest peak in the lakes there are several routes up, most of them far easier!  Tim, in this photo, is making his way up onto the ridge itself.

Photography – we love it.  However we’ve found that recording our adventure on film is quite a bit of fun too.  So, as we crossed the ridge we filmed the whole event on a GoPro action camera.  Film making takes time though and our stomachs needed a snack so we stopped for a few minutes.

It is possible to walk along the crest in most places but there’s also small pathways on either side. You need both hands if you want to scramble about  – as this photo shows.

We eventually found ourselves at the remains of a cornice.  This is a snowy lip on the edge of mountains.  You can see it here as we got closer.

This is how I started this post – with my helicopter heart rate.  I pulled myself together and climbed up, following in Tims footsteps up onto the flat summit, my crawling/staggering steps being filmed as I came into view.

Phew – it was quite a morning.  After enjoying our lunch near the top we made our way down, basking in the surprisingly warm sunshine as we went.

2.  Jacks Rake – route up to Pavey Ark

Sometimes I really wonder how we ever got into these high places.  Our parents didn’t take us, we didn’t visit on school trips or took guided holidays.  But here we are, in our middle years and now fairly experienced walkers in these wild areas.

One place that is somewhere special is The Langdale Valley.  Here you can enjoy the mountains of the Lake District in a variety of ways from simply gazing up while having a pint or scrambling along a rock face.

We have enjoyed both.  Today though we would take on Jacks Rake – a route that quite honestly can look terrifying.  The red line shows the route in the picture below.

Its a grade 1 scramble which means using hands as well as feet (sometimes elbows and knees) to climb but if you are fit and healthy and wear good walking shoes or boots and appropriate clothing anyone can do this.

I won’t describe the whole route taken to reach the foot of this climb but it is really enjoyable following Stickle Ghyll, which is crossed twice to reach Stickle Tarn.  If you find yourselves in the Langdales, and only want a short walk, park at the New Dungeon Ghyll car park and take the path behind the buildings here.

All this is merely a warm up if you plan to climb the rake or go up any of the mountains that all come into full view.

A rocky path is followed around the tarn to a faint path with large boulders the size of small cars and scree.  Up we go then.

The photo above shows Tim almost at the start of the rake.

At the rock face itself we packed away our jackets and sticks got the action camera out and started the climb.  The terrain is, well, it’s rocky but as you can see there is a groove or channel that makes you feel slightly more secure than you might imagine.

We were doing this on a Sunday and even though we had set off early we were joined by other intrepid scramblers, most of them in small groups of twos or threes.  Most of them quicker than us so we let them pass where there was room.  I like to think that we are not slow, we just like to stay safe and enjoy the day. You can see some people who passed us in the shot below.

As you can see there are a few flat sections or are they ledges that allow you to walk along like a normal human being! And then some sections that don’t.

As long as you keep going up the view gets more and more impressive.  I’m actually filming and photographing Tim at the same time here and even though he was smiling I don’t think Tim could quite believe his eyes…..

Anyway, here we are almost at the top. Stickle Tarn below us and beyond that the Langdale Valley.  You can’t actually see the path that runs alongside Stickle Ghyll or the car park from here.

We did stop a couple of times to admire the view or discuss Boulder negotiating.  Here is Tim almost at the top.

And then there is one last clamber before its all over and you find yourself with masses of space and feeling exhilarated.  Now to find somewhere to eat our sandwiches!

I would urge you to add this to your bucket list. Go, just go.

 

Thanks Sue & GC – I think this fits into your latest photo challenge of Comfort    in my case out of our comfort zone…..

Photo Challenge Comfort