Sunday 12 February 2017. Helen was scheduled to lead today’s walk but cried-off with a heavy cold. Given the weather forecast I don’t blame her. Hilary also cried-off and a number of other members had previously advised that they were otherwise engaged this weekend. It was a 65 mile drive for me (each way) and, if it wasn’t for standing in as leader, then I too might have given it a miss.
As it turned out, there was just 4 of us: Moira, Betty, Josephine and me. The weather wasn’t quite as bad as forecast but there was a strong and chilly easterly wind. This was on our backs as we set off towards Stiffkey but we knew that it would be blowing into our faces on the way back. We agreed that we would walk part of the Norfolk Coastal Path first and, if the weather deteriorated, we would then retrace our steps and cut the walk short.
We stopped for coffee after just a mile and a half in a fairly sheltered spot just north of the small lake near White Bridges. I suggested that instead of going through Stiffkey that we should follow the path down the side of the lake and onto the main road for a while before picking up a path through Hang High Plantation and across Cockthorpe Common. I’d walked the road section many years ago and was pleasantly surprised to find that there is now a permissive path which runs behind the hedge and provides an effective barrier from the passing traffic. The path across Cockthorpe Common was new to me and was the most pleasant part of the walk.
We made a short detour into Cockthorpe for lunch at the church before heading back towards Morston. There was a ploughed field on our route and rather than getting ankle-deep in mud, we walked along 3 sides of this field to rejoin our route on Love Lane. It was at this point that we had our only few spots of rain but this lasted no more than 5 minutes and really wasn’t a problem. The walk wasn’t much shorter than planned at 6.6 miles with just 300ft of ascent.