LURED by a weather forecast that promised sunshine in Scotland and rain in London, I headed back to Galloway in the middle of April in order to get in a couple more days of walking. The weather was sunshine and small fluffy clouds for most of the journey to Scotland. It was also sunshine and small fluffy clouds for most of the journey home. Can you guess how it was in between?
I SHOULD know better than to try to make plans. Staying overnight in Millom, for instance, so that I could just get up early and start walking. That was a plan right up until the day before, when my hotel turned out not to have an actual room for me to stay in.
Some last-minute problem-solving saw me staying at St Bees instead, which meant that my hotel was right next to a beach but not, unfortunately, next to Millom. My earliness would now be constrained by the railway and the rest of my plans would have to be somewhat fluid…
MY RETURN to Lancashire came interestingly close to not happening, as I slept through my alarm and missed my intended train into central London.
The next one, which I caught, gave me very little time to transfer between National Rail and Underground stations, which culminated in my racing through London Euston and leaping aboard my train to Preston with literally seconds to spare. Compared to that, the ten minute transfer window I had at Preston provided great opportunity for dawdling.
I CHOSE the penultimate weekend of March 2015 on which to return to Preston and continue what was in theory my coastal perambulation, not that much of the first day’s walking could really be described as ‘coastal’.
In theory, my route for the day was pretty simple. I just needed to head west along the northern bank of the Ribble until it widened out into an estuary and I could head north along the coast. That seemed pretty straightforward, what could possibly go wrong?
MONDAY mornings are not renowned for their better qualities and are sadly often only appreciated in contrast to something worse. Monday last week (as I write this) was a glorious exception, beginning with the awareness that I’d taken the day off and that a full English Welsh breakfast awaited. Also it was sunny, I had slept well and I was ready to walk…
To be honest, I think that Monday was more than a little confused. I know I was.
TO RESUME my perambulation around the coast of Anglesey I took advantage of a lull at work and travelled back to Amlwch on a Friday afternoon, staying overnight in nearby Bull Bay. This meant that I was up and out early on Saturday morning, returning to Amlwch just in time to realise that I’d left my sunscreen in London. The weather forecast was approximately ‘Gas Mark Five’.
THE sky was cloudy and the temperature warm as I returned to Malltraeth at some ridiculously early hour. The village shop, a strange mixture of newsagent and fish & chip shop, was open for the purpose of the former and I unashamedly purchased an ice cream to serve as my breakfast. This I sat and leisurely devoured, while enjoying a view of the estuary from the Cob. It was an excellent start to a day’s walk.
YESTERDAY saw what I now consider a ‘short’ walk even though not that long ago I would have considered it a sizeable distance, i.e. twelve miles. The length of the walk was determined by a moment of unexpected synchronicity – it just so happened that I would reach a handy station (Portsmouth Harbour) twelve miles on from Emsworth and that twelve miles from Emsworth would, quite coincidentally, also be my three hundredth mile.
MY CUNNING plan for my fourteenth coastal walk was to walk from Newhaven to Shoreham on Saturday. Indeed this plan was so cunning it mutated to keep everyone guessing.
In truth, the weather forecast for Saturday was one of bucketing rain, which didn’t sound a bundle of laughs. The best day this week, according to the Met Office, was yesterday (Thursday). So yesterday I went.
YESTERDAY, I awoke at an ungodly hour and thought back to this time last year, when I was surrounded by friends and family, all dressed as pirates on a boat on the Thames. This year I opted to be more downscale and spent the day ambling about on my own. When I wasn’t unexpectedly recumbent in several inches of mud, that is…
If I had to sum up today’s walk in one word, that word would have to be ‘windswept’. And ‘muddy’. My two words would be ‘windswept’ and ‘muddy’. And ‘grey’. I’ll start again…