Thursday 23 April 2015
Great Yarmouth to Happisburgh
The Hill House Inn B&B
What a day. Oh happy feet in new boots.
I spent the whole day walking on the beach or in the dunes (so I probably actually walked at least a mile further than stated) and it was lovely; the sound of the sea accompanied me all day. The further into Norfolk I got, the finer the sand and the fewer the stones on the beach. Still very few people though, mainly dog walkers, and it is noticeable as walking through the dunes one has to pick ones way past the dog poo!
The day started cloudy with not a breath of wind, so the turbines out in Scroby Sands Wind Farm were still; however, by 11 am the sun was coming out and it turned into another gloriously sunny afternoon. I am so tanned that I am concerned by the end of this trip I’ll be 40 but look 50. People might think my mother is my sister (Norfolk joke…my apologies to anyone from Norfolk).
I reached Winterton-On-Sea in time for a late morning coffee and a quick visit to the Winterton Coastwatch tower. It’s manned by volunteers who record passing shipping for the Coastguard. To do this job you need to be happy spending hours watching the sea and drinking tea.
Winterton looked like a nice place, with some quirky housing, including a lighthouse and some round houses.
The afternoon walk from Winterton was one of those magical times that I hoped for on this trip. I began wending my way through the dunes, eyes peeled looking for adders, but I wasn’t lucky enough to see one even though it was really warm, still and great basking conditions. I did see a pair of ring ouzels but gave up on seeing an added and decided to pop over the dunes and down onto the beach. As I came over the dunes I noticed a line over large stones on the shoreline, but hang on a minute, they were moving. It was a line of grey seals, about 400 of them, lying on the beach enjoying the sunshine. I couldn’t believe it. I walked along the beach, keeping a respectful distance of about 20m and got a great view of them at rest and at play in the surf. For anyone that’s not David Attenborough or hasn’t been to Horsey before, seals are smelly.
About 15 minutes further on there was a car park and signs pointing the way to the Horsey seal colony; how lucky I decided to walk on the beach when I did!
There were more seals further on up the beach, this time common seals, which are shorter, fatter, cuter looking and lift their tails up whenever a wave comes as if they don’t want to get wet.
After that experience I was on a high so decided to try my luck again adder-spotting; they must be actively avoiding me. I had a quick stop in Sea Palling for a cup of tea and a sandwich and then it was the last section to Happisburgh. I was lucky enough to see a pair of Little Terns to round off a good day. Since I arrived in Suffolk several beaches have had sections roped off because Little Terns nest there, but I am a bit too early so I was fortunate to see a pair flying low over the shoreline.
Approaching Happisburgh the cliff erosion becomes very apparent and this village is famous for shrinking since the 1990s as houses have fallen off the cliff. The beach section here is closed because of the danger. I didn’t need to walk it however as I was staying in a quirky pub and treated myself to Cromer crab and chips for dinner. What a fantastic day.