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New book: Walking the English Coast
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Category Archives: 05 Kent
When I walk in, people stare at me. I wonder if they are looking at my boots, my jaunty little rucksack, or admiring my general air of health and wellbeing. After a very good lemon curd bun, I visit the loo and find out, by looking in the mirror, that my hair is sticking up on end and covered in sand. I look like a wild woman. Continue reading
Buffeted by wind, and fighting for a foothold on the shingle, I continue onwards – disoriented and uneasy. I have the dangerous firing range on one side. A nuclear power plant on the other. A howling gale blowing behind me. And ahead is a protected nature reserve. Continue reading
I come across a warning sign.
“Caution non-ionising radiation. Do not loiter within 2 metres of any antenna.” I look back at the mast where I have just spent 10 minutes of ‘loitering’. A bit late to tell me now!
This is the best day of walking, ever. I start from Dover seafront. Looking out, across the little beach, through the mouth of the harbour, I can see the outline of France. It is clear and close. You could sail across and be there is a few minutes, or so it seems.
The ‘path’ turns out to consist of footholds in a grassy bank. There is nowhere to rest. The slope is too steep to sit down. I am scrambling on all fours – looking for footholds and hand holds. The steep drop below, and the glimpses of bright sea even further below, add to a vertiginous sense of anxiety. I am reminded of skiing and that black slope moment of terror when you realise that you don’t want to go on, but you know you can’t stop.
This morning is warm and the sky clear, with a low haze. I leave Sandwich and head through a pleasant park, crossing the river and walking along the bank towards Sandwich Marina. Joggers pass me. A couple are out walking … Continue reading
It is warm and people are arriving on the promenade, opening up their beach huts and assembling chairs, tables and barbeques. People (this is an odd English custom) are erecting windbreaks – despite the fact there is no wind. I witness a few territorial skirmishes.
Margate on a sizzling hot Good Friday. I am intrigued by the Royal Sea Bathing Hospital and pay a visit the Turner Contemporary. Hamish Fulton says ‘Walking is an art form in its own right, it does not have to be a lesser form of land art.’ Now, that is my kind of artist!
Perhaps it is hunger, but I begin to have paranoid fancies. I imagine the pub full and no space to sit down. I imagine it has stopped serving food (it is now nearly 3pm). I imagine there are signs saying ‘no boots allowed’.