North Norfolk Coastal Path Challenge – We made it!

“We feel we might be lost.  We can hear the distant pounding of the waves but it seems hours and miles since we left Cley Next The Sea. The shingle underfoot is unforgiving and seems to stretch to the near horizon which is shrouded in an eerie mist.  Is that really a dead seal over there? Slowly on our right the barrels of giant World War 2 Howitzers rear out of the murk.  Have we slipped through a wormhole in time?  No we have just come across the Muckleburgh Museum and we know we can’t be far from Weybourne and the final push to Cromer (although it’s not as near as we think)!”

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That was Day 2 of our charity walk to raise money for our local Little Discoverers group.  We six from Learning Resources had over a thousand pounds riding on the challenge of walking from Hunstanton to Cromer along the bleak and beautiful North Norfolk Coastal Path in just 48 hours. 

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Day 1, while not just a walk on the beach, had also not seemed so taxing.  The weather was fine, balmy in fact, the terrain was firm and level we had the confidence of fresh legs and un-blistered feet. We arrived in Wells Next The Sea footsore and stiff in the knees just ahead of a biblical thunder storm. We found shelter at the YHA Hostel and hot food and cooling beer at The Crown.  22 miles down we thought, about the same distance to cover tomorrow? Err wrong!

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We had trained for this; eight mile walks weekly after work, a couple of longer walks at the weekend as the event approached.  What we hadn’t considered was the effect of walking that distance on consecutive days, and the effect of discovering that the actual distance on Day 2 is actually close to 26 miles.

Day 2 started so magically.  The sea mists drifting along the creeks giving the marsh a dreamlike quality, the spider webs hung with dew that glittered in the pale morning sun, the mournful cry of the curlew and the raucous gabble of gathering geese, the weathered boats with their faded peeling paintwork.

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But we had billed this as a challenge, and challenge us it did. For after our posh deli lunch in Cley we encountered the shingle (see above), the surprisingly hilly path to Sheringham and the dispiriting and seeming endless inland trek before the bracing vision of Cromer Pier.  When, one mile from Cromer we came across a sign that said ‘Cromer 2 ½ Miles’ some of us wanted to cry! It’s true to say that everyone in or team; Liz, Helene, Sammy, Jo, Nick and your humble author had to dig deep in our own ways just to keep going. 

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Bur of course we did it, to the delight of friends & family & colleagues (and hopefully our chosen beneficiaries).  And all we will remember is that inspiring camaraderie that only a shared struggle to a goal can deliver.  That and the views and the fact that we seemed meet every dog in Norfolk on the way!

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Dennis Blackmore

Managing Director – Learning Resources Ltd

North Norfolk Coastal Path Team 2014.

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