Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Have to swim... have to.

Too cold and too out-of-bed-too-late to swim. Cycled yesterday. Hate the shuttle bus to site from the car park. Solution - drive, run, take swim stuff.

On the drive I peered down each street to figure out which to take for the beach access. My plan was to run to the site then overshoot to do the extra 5.6kms I needed to make up 11km.

Of course I couldn't resist turning off the first lane to get off-road. It stretched out straight ahead for 500m then turned 90° the wrong way. When I reached the zag that went with the zig there were signs forbidding my entry into what looked like an old RAF base that had been ruthlessly occupied by old ladies.  The only thing that kept me going was the tempting church and lighthouse on the horizon.

I reluctantly followed the footpath markers instead of following my intended direction. The lighthouse obliged, getting closer until I was able to use the luxurious facilities before continuing.  Aged tourist population is obviously good for something.

I hoped I would be able to access the beach by now but instead I had to continue along the top of the cliffs as they were steep and crumbling.  A person sat in a shack called "The Happisburgh Coastal Lookout", peering between a monocular and a laptop screen.  I dared not wave in case I still wasn't supposed to be there.

Perhaps the caravan park would offer a route onto the beach? Unfortunately, it seemed that many of the caravan pitches had followed the cliffs seaward and I ended up running up the camp site road to put clearance between me and the crumbling tarmac edge. I followed a dog walkers path through the touring site and finally found a sign for beach access.

I checked the Garmin. 4.85km!  I still had to make ground along the beach just to get parallel with where I'd left Maurice the Audi.  Then do the extra 4km to site.

The sign at the top of the path warned that "A lot of concrete and metalwork had been removed from the beach.  More will become exposed over time and removed from time to time".  Need to keep my eyes open then.

For a moment I thought I was going to be foiled by more excessive boudler-works to protect the sea.  There was, however, a clear route along the bottom of the cliffs - exposed steelwork, concrete (what looked like the remains of outfall pumping stations) and brickwork - remains of houses washed away by the ocean? - all in abundance.

I finally picked my way through all the debris onto open sand with only the sea crashing against the breakwater to keep me company.

Stones lodged in the breakwaters - above: new (Wooden) and below: old (rusty steel tubes filled with concrete)

This continued for all of the 4 miles back to Walcott where I joined the concrete sea wall and continued to run through Bacton village along the breakwater despite the sploosh of the ocean every 100m or so.  I was only getting a little bit wet.

Finally I reached the next run of caravan parks with all steps leading to (more) "PRIVATE" signs on gates so I dropped of the sea wall, safe in the knowledge that we don't yet have much privatisation of beaches in the UK.
Finally, my off-ramp to start my working day
At the end of my working day (shit - but thanks for asking) I decided to go swimming in North Walsham.  Unfortunately the swim club had monopolised the pool and there was no public swimming for another 2 hours.  So I took my hotel up on the offer of using the pool at their sister chain.  After 20 seamless minutes of never-ending lane changeovers (12m pool) I discovered my watch had only counted 9 laps so I threw a pissy and went to eat my dinner.  The changing rooms were freezing and I nearly ran naked back to the pool area to change my clothes.

Only one thing finished off the day as well as it started.  This, spotted on the back of a street sign in Cromer.

No comments: