An interesting update from Nat and his encounters with road walking:
Essex has appeared almost from nowhere out of the rivers, levies and flatlands of Norfolk and Suffolk. It’s been two weeks of seemingly rapid progress if you look at the map but in reality I would have liked to have been further ahead. Blocked paths, detours and the reintroduction of rivers have slowed down the progress somewhat.
I realise, however, I have yet to address the issue of road walking. Road walking is unavoidable as any coastal walker will know; the ‘coast road’ is almost as famous as the coast itself. Hence, to walk by the coast I am often dawdling along with pensioners out for a pleasure cruise and surfers driving to a secret surfing bay. You are also have families and delivery drivers, workmen and officials.
Most ignore me. I walk and they skirt around, sometimes hurriedly, but often without a murmur. Others offer me lifts, take pity on me, then egg me on when I tell them ‘no, I must walk!’ These are nice people. Then there are the ones who try and run me down, beep their horns and tell me to get off the road. Those last ones I am tempted to throw stones at. I don’t, of course.
As for the actual walking, it’s a mixed bag. The road is obviously a faster footing than sand, or mud or wet grass. You can make good progress. But it is also quite boring, monotonous even. And the feet take a pounding. The lack of give in the tarmac makes the feet hurt a lot with the poor soles of my boots not loving the friction. As I am always walking on the same side, and due to the camber of the road, my boots wore completely on one side more than the other- obviously not ideal!
However, I am sure roads will continue to be a key feature of the walk for the remaining few weeks. The next big barrier is the Thames and I am looking forward to finding an interesting way to cross it…