Last weekend I decided, rather than sit in the house and arse around on Facebook, that I should head off and walk somewhere pleasant, maybe have some lunch out too. I got in my car and drove to the village of Althorne, abandoned my car and headed down to the River Crouch estuary.
A stroll along the edge of here has been part of my walking routine but, from my house, that involves a lot of walking along the sides of the roads, which ain’t that great. Though I have to admit to some enjoyment since this is the first English Spring I’ve seen in 10 years.
So I headed down and along the edge of the estuary to Burnham-on-Crouch. It’s pleasant down there and I was reminded of the time when, at about age 20, I was training myself for a walking holiday in the Lake District. I had someone drive me out and dump me by Bradwell power station and walked back in, following the sea wall to where my parent’s house was located. This was about 20 miles.
I was of course writing stuff at the time and I made plenty of notes while tramping along and afterwards turned this into an article, which I sent to a walking magazine. I was young and naive then and unfamiliar with the ways of the writing world, so made the common mistake of becoming impatient and sending off a snotty letter when I hadn’t heard something for a while. The editor sent my article back telling me to shove it. Apparently he had been about to go and take pictures of the area to complement the article, which he was going to publish.
That would have been my first publication success had I not been a dick. I wonder now what course I would have taken if it had been published. Maybe now I would be a jobbing writer turning out articles for various magazines and newspapers while yearning to be a novelist.
Anyway, back to the walk… I arrived in Burnham after an hour and a half. My plan had been to have lunch there, but most of the pubs were still closed and, really, it takes a little while to cool down after a good walk and actually feel hungry. Instead I found a café and had a cream tea. All very English and, I admit, the first time in my life I had ever eaten a scone with clotted cream and jam.
After whiling away a pleasant time I then headed back. A search on the internet told me this walk was 5 miles so, with the return journey, 10 miles. Others told me it was 3 miles but I thought no. Average walking speed is 3.1 miles (though dependent on a lot of factors) and I was walking fast. I plumped for 8 or 9 miles. Now having traced the route on Google Earth I find it was a total of 11 miles.
Yesterday I decided to head the other direction along the Crouch to a place called Fambridge. Again the internet told me this was about 5 miles. It took me 2 hours to reach a pub called the Ferryboat where I intended to guzzle a pint of something, but when I got there it was closed for refurbishment. Following directions I headed to a nearby marina bar and there drank a pint of Thatcher’s cider before heading back. My estimate of 10 miles was again upgraded by Google Earth, this time to 14.8 miles. I thought I felt a bit knackered.
And here I am writing an article in a different way. No waxing lyrical about crab shells stuck to the sea grass, dry and papery and rising about me like confetti as I walked through them. Nothing about sun and salt bleached driftwood taking on the appearance of alien creatures that had hauled themselves from the depths. Aliens and things of a crabby nature are elsewhere now.