The continued success of the England football team at the World Cup has delayed my return to Skye, which means I can fit in my one-dayer’s along the East coast.
I had planned an even longer walk for this section, but again Traveline came up with a few more surprises. I had hoped to finish the walk at the coastal resort of Mablethorpe, but on calling a number to “book” a seat on the bus service I was told the bus did not travel to the place indicated on Traveline. I re-thought my plans and came up with a shorter alternative. I had one eye on the weather and was slightly relieved to see spots of rain and an overcast sky on the drive to Lincolnshire from Shropshire.
I drove to and parked at the small village of Saltfleet, I then took the #50 bus towards Grimsby and got off at Old Clee. I then hopped on a #7 bus that took me to about a mile from the pier at Cleethorpes. The sky remained quite grey and overcast, with a stiff breeze which was good walking weather. After buying a coffee and a sausage bap from a cafe on the sea front I set off along the promenade. I could see many ships out on the Humber. The walking was very easy and in no time I had arrived at Tetney Marshes.
From this point onwards I would be on the Sea Wall – a dyke or levee with a grassy footpath on its top.I had only gone about an 100m before I noticed a Stoat/Weasel bounding towards me. I froze still and the animal came towards me. It passed within 2ft from shoe, before disappearing into the undergrowth. I did think about getting my camera out, as I did not want to scare it and the encounter only lasted 20 -30 seconds. I re-ran the event in my mind and could not remember to look out for the distinctive black spot on the tail which distinguishes the Stoat from a Weasel. I do however, remember its gait, which was an arched-back bound indicating the animal was probably a Stoat. As I approached the bridge over the Louth Canal at Stonebridge, I could a small mobile drilling rig taking cores from the Sea wall. I hoped that I would not come across a dreaded footpath closed sign! Fortunately, there was no such sign and I continued on to Horse Shoe Point. Shortly after passing the car park at Horse Shoe Point I came across more construction work, this time the main work was proceeding about a mile out on the sands. This was the land-fall for the cable from the Hornsea offshore wind farm, a Project that I had passed by construction work on a number of other previous walks.
As I approached the Donna Nook National Nature Reserve a series of fighter jets approached overhead in formation, wave after wave. In fact there were 27 of these Typhoon aircraft and to cap it all off the Red Arrows flew over me . It was not until I reached the Air Ground bombing range was I told that they were on their way down to London, for the fly past over Buckingham Palace. The person who told me about the RAF centenary celebrations was also the Rangemaster for the Air to Ground range. As it was flying a Red Flag I enquired about my onward route to Saltfleet, he advised me on a route which was absolute pants!! I set off along a dead-end path, making a suggested turn inland around some buildings. I eventually got stuck between the Bombing Range and some unwelcoming GOML (Get Off My Land) signs . I decided to walk along the edge of the range to the next Control Tower. I could see it was manned but the guy inside did not come out. I opted to do a bit of trespassing and finally gain the sea wall, which sits behind the range. In retrospect,with the Range active, I should have detoured inland. Contrary to the advice given there is no public ROW onwards along the shoreline, during firing.
I eventually reach the outskirts of Saltfleet, where the range boundaries ended. I chatted to a few people in the car park about the fly pass, they were quite annoyed to have missed it as they had watched it in their nearby caravan.
I continued onto Saltfleet Haven passing through purple swaths of Sea Lavender, which although very similar to “normal” grown Lavender has no smell.
I finished the walk in the small village of Saltfleet.
Distance today = 19 miles
Total distance = 3,978 miles