Heybridge Basin is quieter today. Last time I was here, the pubs were open and the walkway was crowded. Now there is a fundraising event, with stalls being set up on the grass on either side of the lock.
I have plenty of time for the first section of my walk today and I linger to take photographs. Then I walk over the top of the lock gate and begin my walk around the coast, heading back into Maldon. There are a few people out, walking their dogs.
To my right are fields and a nature reserve, giving way to a new development of town houses. The path then leads through an industrial area, reaching a road, crossing a bridge and then back along a quayside walk.
I phone my husband and we meet at one of the pubs to enjoy a delicious meal, eaten outside in glorious sunshine.
After lunch, I walk through the Promenade Park, passing a great children’s play area, and head out along the sea wall.
At the end of a rocky outcrop there is a wonderful modern statue of Byrhtnoth, the Earldorman of Essex, bold and fierce, looking out to sea. Byrhtnoth lived at the time of King Ethelred, 10th Century, and bravely stood against the Viking marauders, losing his life in the Battle of Maldon. The battlefield is just inland of this point.
The afternoon walk takes me along the sea wall through marshes. The path is overgrown with grass in many areas. I wonder about snakes.
The path curves in and out and the going is tough, both physically and mentally. I see Bradwell Power Station ahead of me and realise I am no closer to this structure, as the crow flies, than I was a few days ago. In fact, I am further away now than I was at Tollesbury marshes.
I plot my route with way points using Trip Journal app on my iPhone. But, due to the bends, I have taken many GPS readings and have used my phone too much. With horror, I realise I only have a few minutes of battery left. I text my husband and let him know I am on schedule for our afternoon rendezvous.
Then the phone dies.
The path is difficult to see with tall grass hiding the ground. The wall is narrow and it is easy to miss the safe, flat top and put my feet on the slanting sides. I stumble frequently. Now I am worried about twisting an ankle. And with my phone dead, I have no way of summoning help.
Eventually, I reach an area where the path is wider and the grass shorter. I see a caravan site, and there are other people walking along the wall.
Ahead of me is Maylandsea. I walk along the sea wall, concrete now. I am glad of the firm ground and the easy route, my legs are very tired. The sky is dark and threatening rain. At the end of Maylandsea promenade I join a road and walk back along it, looking for my husband’s car. I find it, locked of course, and wait under the darkening sky for him to arrive.
Vital stats: miles walked = 12