Day 303: Gedney Drove End to King's Lynn

Distance: 23.74 miles

Ascent: 1058 feet

Weather: SUnny

Accommodation: Dawn & Andy’s House (Kindly Offered)


After posting my diary yesterday evening I returned to find an issue with my tent. An animal had managed to cause two holes/tears in the tent. As it was dark and with nothing I could actually do and with a dry forecast for the night I decided to just get in and would see whether it was salvageable in the morning. Actually that was not how I was at all I was fuming, and my thoughts were swinging to the extreme from I’ll be able to fix it in the morning (which it was clear I wouldn’t be able to even in the dark), to when I get up in the morning I am going to head straight to the station and just train to London and finish the walk there and then. Somehow I fell asleep very quickly but at about 3am I was up I think because my mind was stressing about the tent.

At about 6:30 having packed up I finally got out of the tent just as it was getting light to inspect the tent. The tears and holes were smaller than I remembered but still sort of 30cm ragged triangular sections taken out of the tent that would allow water straight in. The issue was they were either side of a thin corner seam and one of them was on the front stretching porch area which is under force when in place, therefore even though not an absolutely massive tear it would be impossible to get any structural or waterproof integrity back into the tent. It was clear quite early on I wouldn’t be able to fix it, but it still took me a long time to make me throw it in the bin. Eventually I did and I almost cried as this tent has become my home and had become something I trusted so inherently and it was hard just to chuck it away.

Anyway with the tent gone, I set off still quite early about 7. It was clearly the coldest morning of this winter yet with a thick frost and all the puddles frozen solid, though I had been snug in my sleeping bag through the night. The first 6 miles or so were scenic and the sun was out along the sea embankment, but all I was concentrating on was coming up with a solution to accommodation. I came up with three options;

1) Try and find a cheap tent in King’s Lynn this afternoon (cons – unlikely to find a practical tent for stormy conditions.)

2) Order a better one online for delivery by Sunday as 3 of the 4 nights from today I had accommodation and I would only need to sort out accommodation for tomorrow (cons – decent tents are expensive is it affordable or worth it for only 15 nights or so under canvas)

3) See if with everyone’s help sharing the walk I could go tentless, as would need to find accommodation for 15 or so canvas nights. (cons – reliant on other people and changes nature of walk)

I left these mulling over in my head and by the time I reached Sutton Bridge I was beginning to make my decision. I decided to treat myself to a tea and bacon sarni in Sutton Bridge due to the stress of the situation. In this café I actually bumped into an elderly gentleman who has been walking the coast of Britain in little stages over many, many years and now only has the Mull of Kintyre to do.

From the café it was much of the same and back onto the embankments in the glorious sun. Weirdly by 11am I was completely chilled about the whole tent situation, I think half because things seemed to be sorting themselves out with the next 4 nights’ accommodation now almost sorted. The embankment walking was lovely but with about 12 miles of it in this section by the end it was becoming a little tedious, as literally nothing changed with farmers fields on the right, marshland and sea on the left and you following the exact same width embankment the whole way.

I finally reached the Free Bridge just shy of King’s Lynn, and the view from this was magnificent and before long I was in King’s Lynn. Before the tent issue had arisen Dawn and Andy (a friend of a friend of a friend) had kindly offered to put me up and would be home from 5:30. I had arrived by about 4 and on logging on to my laptop in Morrisons it became clear that all my issues had been sorted through the kindness of both followers of the walk and businesses. My next 4 nights were sorted and the Baldocks were kindly offering a brand new (yet 10 years old) lovely one manned tent that should arrive by the time I’m in Sheringham. This meant that everything was sorted going forward.

At 5:30 I headed around to Dawn and Andy’s house and as well as putting me up they had very kindly cooked me a lovely dinner and after responding to most of the kind messages today and having written this diary I am ready for sleep having been up since about 3am and with my mind having been racing all day.

In fact it was a lovely sunny walk today, and by the end of it all the issues were sorted so in fact a really successful day and thanks so much to all the followers helping out.

charles compton