I came to Norfolk late. I was well into my forties when, one summer, my partner Jim and I made the long drive from our home in Sussex to that marvellous North Sea coast – marvellous at least until a cold, thick sea-mist rolled in and pushed us back home.
Before the mist, we camped in a basic camp-site with no showers and a single toilet housed in a too hot, brightly carpeted garden shed. Quickly, we learnt to take a deep breath before going in; and hold on to it.
We washed with cold water from a bucket, crouched behind an opened car door to shield our vulnerabilities.
After the finest of camping breakfasts – a fried egg sandwich – we walked for hours through sand dunes;
along bleached boardwalks;
and across huge tidal beaches. We got sunburnt.
We were struck dumb by an enormous, dead sperm whale washed up on the sands; and dumber yet by our dog rolling ecstatically on its stinking, rotting tail. We washed our dog with tomato juice.
We moved to a different camp-site with non-carpeted toilets, a shop and a shower block; erecting our little dome tent beside much larger, grander ones boasting TV’s and fridges and watched as their owners erected miniature, plastic, white picket fences about their plots. And wondered why.
We dined in a busy Stiffkey pub-garden where a puce-faced chef stormed out of the kitchen to scream at me. I’d tucked into the food placed before me by the waitress, neither of us realising that it was meant for somebody else.
“Do you always f*****g eat whatever’s put in f*****g front of you?” screamed the chef.
To which I could only answer, “Um. Well. Yeah.”
Despite the queer picket camping fences, monstrous corpses and shouty, ever-so angry chef, we liked Norfolk very much but didn’t return for many years.
And then Jim’s cousin bought a holiday home near Burnham Market (featured in this post) and we began visiting again. On day-trips to the nearby beach, we noticed signs for the Norfolk Coast Path; part of the Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path National Trail. We decided that the NCP was a path we wanted to follow.
In the spring of 2015, using the holiday house as our base, we planned a three-day, 45 mile walking holiday along the trail from Cromer to Hunstanton. But after two bright and clear days, the weather turned foul and we left the final third for another time.
I was waiting until we had completed all of the path before posting this account but over two years later, with the months slipping by and the holiday home now sold, I’ll post the first two parts of our walk anyhow. As soon as we walk the final day, I’ll add that too. When will that be? Your guess is as good as mine.
Day 2 – Blakeney to Burnham Overy Staithe (coming soon)
Day 3 – Burnham Overy Staithe to Hunstanton (coming not so very soon)