September has been a bad month, walking-wise. After the injury in Scotland at the beginning of the month I had only managed a single days walking on the East coast since then. So I really didn’t need stubbing my toe on some furniture when I went to the bathroom in the early hours two days ago! Although a ‘walking-wounded’ I decided to get a days walking in again on the East Coast.
I drove to and parked in Boston and waited to catch the 7:15 #57 bus to Friskney Eaudyke. The forecast had been for a warm sunny day, but as yet the sky was overcast, with a slight breeze. I crossed over the busy A52 and carried on up Sea Lane out towards the shore of The Wash. I passed by the barrier and Control Tower of the former Wainfleet Bombing range. I noticed the curtains in the window of the Control Tower and further down the road met a couple who were staying at in the buildings. I enquired about the helicopter in the grounds, which apparently the owner had placed there as an additional bedroom! The buildings have retained their high security features, including the high enclosure fence with razor wire. I reached the ‘shoreline ‘, although the actual shoreline is some distance out across the Friskney Flats, a mixture of salt-marsh with irregular water channels.
I turned south-west and continued on along the top of the Sea Bank. This was not a designated public right of way and it showed, with knee-high grass, making for slowish progress. The sea wall is at the fringe of the bombing range, with regular warning signs to keep off the marsh because of the danger of unexploded devices. The two dummy ships used as target practice are still tethered a few hundred metres offshore.
I eventually came to the end of the firing range, marked by a large Control Tower on stilts. I could also see that a great amount of work had taken place on the Sea Bank. I could also see that this work was still ongoing as I could see diggers and other large construction plant operating on the Sea Bank further on. This is 3 – 4 mile Wrangle Sea Bank project which is currently rebuilding the sea defence and making it slightly higher. This was news to me and I suspect the public footpath which runs atop the bank would be closed. I did not see any signs, but there again I had come from a direction without a public footpath. Any detour looked really complicated especially inland, as well as the fields with many people working in them. I decided on the Salt Marsh approach, but I didn’t get far as within a few minutes I was thwarted by the myriad of water channels crisscrossing the marsh. I opted to walk alongside the sea bank, (which had been fenced off with barbed wire) and the salt marsh. I walked below the operating plant on the salt marsh side and was not challenged. I do this for about a mile, before climbing over the barbed wire fence and started to walk on the gentle slope of the sea bank. Although I could easy walk on the top of the completed Sea Bank, I would have stood out like a ‘sore-thumb’ and I do not want to be turned back when I have come this far. I did eventually venture onto the top of the Sea Bank and although there are public footpath signs in evidence, the absence of any footprints at all in the freshly raked top soil(probably for grass seeding), inevitably meant the footpath was closed. When I reached the end of the works at the Leverton Outgate pumping station my suspicions were confirmed with a Public Footpath closure notice attached to a gate. The notice did say that the work would be completed by 30th September, 2018 (3 days time). Glad I kept my head down now.
I could have followed the outer Sea Bank, but I knew that this was not a designated right of way, more importantly, parts of the outer Sea Bank had been purposefully breached to allow lagoons to form. Because I did not want to retrace my steps I stayed on the inner Sea Bank. The old inner Sea Bank was a delight to walk along as it had been grazed by both cattle and horses. I kept a close eye on the cattle, as every cow seemed to have a young calf alongside them. As I approached Frieston Shore I had the option of diverting onto the outer Sea Bank. I met a group who had come from that direction and they re-assured me that the Sea Bank was continuous around to The Haven. I could see that this was a well-worn path, but was not marked as a public right of way on the map. I passed a conical memorial to the inmates who first set up the nearby former Borstal, North Sea Camp, back in the 1930’s. They had reclaimed great swathes of land at the time by erecting sea banks. Today North Sea Camp is an open prison for men.
I reached a man-made channel called The Haven. I would continue along this waterway all the way into Boston. Because of low tide no vessels were on the water, although it was possible to see the large tidal range enabling the small docks at Boston to operate. I passed a memorial to The Pilgrim Fathers, actually a memorial of their thwarted first attempt to sail to Holland. I continued alongside The Haven with St Botolphs church (The Stump) clearly visible. Boston is not a large town and I quickly found the car park near the bus station where I had parked.
Distance today = 21.5 miles
Total distance = 4,300.5 miles