The Lincolnshire coast was next on my walking tour and is an area I previously knew little about.
Gibraltar Point offers a peaceful stretch of wild coastline teeming with birdlife and a clear view out towards the Norfolk coast some 14 miles away.
Walking this sandy shore I noticed a blanket of delicate looking white flowers just above the tideline. Sea Rocket is common throughout the British Isles and is actually far from delicate. This hardy plant thrives in the harsh coastal environment and is a pioneer of beach areas, laying down strong tap roots that provide a sturdy enough structure for sand dunes to develop.
A couple miles north and the scene changes dramatically - the teeming streets of Skegness are a sharp divergence from the peace and tranquility, as is to be expected in the height of the summer holidays. As I made my way through the crowds of people here it was almost as if the events of the last 18 months hadn’t occurred - people were happily enjoying the many attractions on the seafront and munching their fish and chips on the pier seemingly without a care in the world.
Plodding through towns and villages with a rucksack that rivals my own size and an increasingly bedraggled look has been raising some curious looks and questions. Most people show great interest and have many further questions when I explain what my mission is and why. The kindness of humans has really shone through. Setting my bag down in a pub for a well deserved rest at the end of the day creates great conversation with those around me. One particular evening in a small village just off the coast of Sutton-on-Sea I find myself chatting with the locals until closing time - recalling tales of my trip so far and the many experiences they’ve also had along the British coastline.
As I head back to my tent (the pub owners have kindly allowed me a spot in the back garden to pitch up for the night) it’s clear that the sense of community here is strong and is a theme I have encountered across my whole journey. The reliance on tourism during the summer months contrasted with the much quieter winter season seems to bring a certain bonding sense of belonging to local coastal regions - something I haven’t quite seen replicated in other areas so far.
With the prospect of a cooked breakfast and a hot shower in the morning, kindly offered to me from a friendly local couple I’ve just met, I drift off to sleep with a whole list of new recommendations for places to visit and most importantly reviews of the top fish and chip shops along the way.
Early morning excitement of a cup of tea and chocolate porridge is not a bad start to the day
Cleethorpes - the same view 10 hours apart
Being aware of the time is something I haven’t needed on this trip and it’s been absolute bliss. Don’t get me wrong - I am notoriously late in my day to day life but that doesn’t mean I’m not still constantly checking the time. The simplicity of waking up with the sun and spending the day walking from place to place has made me realise how many hours are hidden away in the day that I’d usually spend mindlessly scrolling my phone or busying myself with a never ending list of things to do. Sometimes it’s nice to slow down and go back to basics.