Day 010: Herne Bay to Cliffsend

Distance: 20.89 miles

Ascent: 1715 feet

Weather: Rain Morning, Overcast Afternoon 

Accommodation: Wild camp Cliffsend


Today started slightly strangely when a dog called Tim woke me up about 5.15am when he had rummaged under the outer and into the little porch bit of my tent. He seemed friendly enough, but soon scuttled of again. I can’t work out why someone would be walking a dog at 5.15am in the pouring rain.

I set of pretty early around 7, whilst it was still dark. Unfortunately, due to the rain in the night the tent outer was wet, and as the temperature had dropped the tent inner was also quite wet from condensation. I packed them up separately and hoped they would not be too wet by the evening.

Only a mile or so from my pitch point I came across Reculver Abbey/Towers. As it was still quite dark, misty and light drizzle the ruin looked quite enchanting. Though I would have loved to see it in the daylight (and dry) as it looked like quite an impressive ruin and I reckon would make for an awesome picture. The main part of the current ruin is part of a medieval church with the main towers built in the 12th century, there are also signs of the original Roman fort which stood on the site before.

From Reculver there is a long stretch of concreted embankment all the way to Birchington, where I then followed a mixture of undercliff paths & clifftop paths to Margate. There were some pretty nice looking modern houses on this stretch and one thing I appreciated (even if I did not use them as was to early for me) was that the cafés along the shore were open even at this time of year.

Margate, has some nice features, and some good new projects but showing some signs of an aging seaside town, but overall I liked it. Margate is also home to the Turner Contemporary Gallery opened in 2011. I had mixed feelings about this building. In some respects, a quite basic industrial looking design with a modern twist sits well within its location on the quayside. But part of me thinks they could have done something a bit more exciting and ambitious given its location. Though all that said they’ve got a good exhibition space right on the coast. Directly in front of the building is one of Antony Gormley’s cast iron statues that appears and disappears with the tide. This was the first one I have seen and it does make an impression

Just a short distance after Margate (but still in developed area), something quite weird was happening though I didn’t quite realise at the time. I was surprised to see someone swimming and with what looked like a lobster pot sort of as a float. Then I noticed someone filming it with a professional looking piece of equipment. It was only then that I noticed the woman was completely naked, walking up the beach with a lobster pot. Maybe this sort of behaviour is normal in Margate. It was just lucky I didn’t have my camera out at the time.

After Margate it is mainly clifftop walking to Broadstairs. This is where Charles Dickens used to spend his Summer holidays and the building he used to stay in is now called Bleak House as apparently the house in the book was based on this building. I liked Broadstairs, it had some nice character.

From Broadstairs I walked along a sand beach for the first time on this walk, most of the way to Ramsgate. Ramsgate was surprisingly busy, with lots of shops and people. Strangely a group of foreign exchange students as well. Who knew Ramsgate was such a draw!

I carried on along coast path to Cliffsend, where I came across a Viking ship (well a replica), called The Hugin. It was rowed from Denmark to England to mark the 1500th anniversary of the invasion of Engand. It did look slightly out of place.

I found a great pitching spot a couple of km beyond Cliffsend, and though the outer was still wet, the inner was almost dry (just needed quick pat down with towel). Probably my best pitching spot yet.

Overall a pretty grey overcast day, and a lot of the undercliff paths just blended into one, but still an enjoyable walk.

Hopefully not to many mistakes above, laptop charge hit 2% so just had to post.

charles compton