Northerly winds in excess of 50mph accompanied by strong snow curtailed this week’s efforts for a couple of days. Walking alone on deserted sea banks, miles from anywhere, and with no guarantee that the Victory Van could retrieve me at the end of the day just didn’t make sense. Even so, here are some of my walking highlights before I depart to the west country for a funeral.
I re-joined the walk at the RSPB Frampton Marsh which, after the fierce weather, had seen much of the marsh freeze over. From there, I cried all the way to Boston as I stumbled along doing battle with the strong headwind. Through my wind-watered eyes the local landmark of the ‘Boston Stump’ came clearly into view: St Botolph’s Church tall thin tower is unmistakable and I had been using it as marker from the time I’d begun to circle The Wash.
Reaching Boston I became aware of an unusually large police presence, blue flashing lights, outriders, and sleek Range Rovers. I’d arrived just too late for an official visit by HRH Prince Charles. The same happened when I walked into Skegness - but the Princess Royal just missed me!
Going down the banks of the River Witham I discovered a memorial, on which I learned of the association between the Pilgrim Fathers and Boston. Their first attempt in 1607 to leave the country in search of religious freedom was thwarted; after being betrayed they were tried by magistrates and imprisoned at Boston.
My walk away from Boston continued, when I too ended up in prison - but only for ten minutes! The footpath took me straight through HM Prison North Sea Camp, an open prison where Lord Jeffrey Archer had once been detained. On arrival at the prison stile I was told to “wait there” and a prison officer would come and escort me through the campus. Ten minutes later I escaped ‘over the other stile’.
As the second largest county in England, everything in Lincolnshire is on a grand scale. Huge blue skies above and flat expansive fields full of crops below, punctuated by countless drainage channels. I’ve seen rows of pickers doing back-breaking work in fields of mud, from cutting broccoli to picking daffodils. Here is the heart of England’s growing industry and it’s where I came across the memorial to John and Dulcie Saul who set up a growing company in 1912. The company now farms over 3,000 acres.
Walking frustrations continue. After a long 15 miler the map indicated a footbridge crossing a creek to my finish point. To my dismay I could see the footbridge had a ten foot gate, adorned with spikes and padlock. Reviewing the map I assessed the detour would be another five miles – something I wasn’t prepared to do. Instead, I managed to dig my boots in the grill, scale the gate, almost tearing the seat of my trousers, before jumping down the other side. Job done and not defeated! Next stop Skegness.
Skegness struck me as a place where visitors do nothing but eat. Everywhere I looked I saw burger huts, ice cream kiosks, coffee stops and hamburger stalls. I stopped long enough to visit the Jolly Sailor landmark, based on the LNER advertising poster ‘Skegness is So Bracing’, before quickly moving on – without a mega coffee, king-size ‘donut’, or bag of chips!