Day 012: Dover to Littlestone-on-Sea
Distance: 22.48 miles
Ascent: 2125 feet
Weather: SUnny Spells Morning, Overcast Afternoon
Accommodation: Wild camp Littlestone-on-Sea
After a “lovely” nights stay in the hostel (enough said about the hostel), I was up early and out. Luckily the coast path was well signposted out of Dover as there were lots of little turns. But what I hadn’t been expecting was the number of steps! There were some very steep ones out of Dover, then some steps down and some other steep ones after the Western Heights fort, and these were just the start.
But on the second set of upward stairs whilst it was still practically dark I saw an animal I have never seen alive before. I heard some movement to my left so stopped still and then I saw a badger approaching from the left on a path that ran at right angles to mine. He kept approaching and only noticed me once he was about 3m from me, be looked up, looked very unimpressed by me and quickly scurried of in the other direction.
Aside from the positive of the badger, the almost immediate barrage of stairs and ascents/descents before my body was properly warmed up really tired me out at the beginning of the day. During this period, I passed many military structures pillboxes, bunkers etc. and even a ruin of a Knights Templar Temple.
The path took me down to Aycliff where it crosses under the A20, and the path re-joins the coast proper. For the next 3 or so miles the path went constantly up and down over the various peaks and troughs as it followed the very edge of the cliff, and I was feeling it. Several hours after setting of my body was just getting into it and feeling good again just as the cliffs formed a sort of plateau, so the next few miles following the cliffs was flat. All the cliff section from Aycliff was beautiful and the sun even made an appearance. I also passed a sound mirror (actually passed one yesterday as well), these are concrete concave dishes that allowed military invaders to be heard from a significantly greater distance than with the ear alone
Just before Folkestone the path begins to descend for quite a distance, not to steep but steep enough. I found at first I was trying to stop myself going to fast which was tiring and puts pressure on the ankles, so I soon got used to almost doing a slow controlled jog, which was easier and put less pressure on the ankles.
Folkestone was dead when I arrive around 10.30, I am not sure if it was the time, weather or if it was always like this. I had been quite excited to see Folkestone, as when I was at Buro Happold there had been a scheme to begin to redevelop the area. I did not specifically work on it but the part my team worked on was the harbour arm carrying a railway and station which had been left derelict. The proposal had been to turn this into a walkway across the harbour, renovate the old bridge and the station could be used for shops/cafes. I wondered if anything would happen and on arrival at Folkstone harbour it was clear the walkway was now functional if not quite finished, the bridge has been renovated and the station was well towards being done. This alongside other projects should really rejuvenate Folkestone.
From Folkstone the path followed a boardwalk and promenade all the way to Hythe. There were some truly bizarre artworks/sculpture along this bit, many were just odd but I liked the beach hut that looked like a classical piece of architecture almost like a lighthouse (see picture below).
Just before Hythe a woman approached me and asked if I was the person walking around the whole coast, she just spotted me whilst on the way to get petrol. I was surprised by this but we had a little chat and then we were both on our way. The link apparently went back to Duncan Neale. Once I get my poster on backpack, I am sure more people will stop me.
After Hythe you have to divert inland a fair way due to the Pennypot military base, and the diversion takes you down the scenic Royal Military Canal before rejoining the coast about 3km further on.
The final part of the day took me along the promenade and some lovely sand walking passed Dymchurch and eventually stopping just after Littlestone-on-Sea where I pitched in the dunes. Hope it doesn’t get to windy as we all know what they say about a house built on sand!
So all in all a good day, and I deliberately did a little more mileage as I may realign next 3 days for accommodation reasons.
Sand dunes have very poor quality signal, so this took too long to do and upload.