Day 298: Cleethorpes to Mablethorpe
Distance: 24.42 miles
Ascent: 694 feet
Weather: Overcast, With SUnny Spells and some very Light Showers
Accommodation: Camping at Kirkstead holiday park (Kindly Complimentary)
When I woke up, to my surprise it was raining but by 6:30 the rain had stopped. It was a bit cold and due to the rain I was in no mood to move but eventually after packing I was still of fairly early about 8. The weather was meant to be OK today with the wind slowly swinging to the North as the day went on starting to bring colder conditions.
I set off along the cycleway at this end of Cleethorpes, passing the marker for the Greenwich Meridian Line before reaching the carpark at the far end by the nature reserve. It was clear immediately the next part would be an issue as there was significant work going on the soil sea embankment behind the nature reserve, there was a sign saying path closed but once again no diversion provided.
I thought I may be able to get across the nature reserve marshland without getting wet to beyond where the works were, but just shy of getting to the embankment there was a deep channel which was uncrossable and even worse some of the reed gave way and I ended up going knee deep in water and both boots completely filled up which was not ideal. On top of this I had to retrace my steps back to the carpark and work out my own diversion. I decided to try and go through the static caravan park and the golf course behind it and join a path that would eventually get me back to the embankment beyond the works.
In fact, my own diversion worked well and I was back on the embankment just with saturated boots, and about an hour longer than it should have been (said hour and a half in post earlier but looking back reckon more like an hour). I bumped into a cyclist pushing his bike on the embankment, and he was not happy they had been cutting down hawthorn bushes on the path and scattered thorns all over the ground which had given him two simultaneous punctures. He also informed me the lock was also shut for construction work (which would add an extra 3 miles onto the day if not used) but he said they hadn’t started work today so just sneakily climb the fence and cross.
When I reached the lock they had quite well fenced of the lock area but I found a way to sneak around and crossed over the maintenance bridge along the lock before swinging around the fence on the other side. I was now back on another embankment path and hoping there would be no other closures/issues today.
I bumped into two guys walking the other way who were grumping about a closure on the path further on but said they had climbed over it as no diversion and been shouted at but no issues and I told them about the plethora of issues they had ahead of them. Indeed the path was closed for the cable landing of the offshore wind turbine but as with other closures around here they hadn’t put a sign at the start of the path or provided a diversion, fortunately I didn’t have to climb over as could drop down onto the foreshore due to the tide and just walk by this issue.
From here I made easy progress to Donna Nook which is a visitor area for seeing the seals which drag themselves up here to give birth, unfortunately there were no pups visible though apparently one has been born so far, and there will be hundreds/thousands in a few weeks time. The next part of the walk had the possibility of being quite difficult, the red flags had been up before Donna Nook signifying the military base was active so after Donna Nook I was hoping to follow the tiny gap between the military base and the dunes.
I managed to get down to the front of the dunes, and then followed the landward side of all military stay out boards and strangely the red flags here were not raised though I still felt a little uneasy. In fact I made good progress along here and where the first track came through the dunes I headed up and joined an embankment that I was hoping would take me all the way to Saltfleet. Indeed I got to Saltfleet easily from here and now already quite tired and with saturated feet grabbed some food at the little shop and had a short break.
From Saltfleet paths took me behind the dunes for about 4 miles all the way to a carpark short of Mablethorpe. I bumped into a guy here who showed me the best way through the dunes to get to the beach for the last short stretch to Mablethorpe. The wind was getting stronger and had turned to the north by now and the temperature was dropping, and it even looked like rain might be on the way.
I reached Mablethorpe absolutely exhausted, and I don’t think I was missing much due to my tiredness as the town seemed to be primarily slot machines and static caravans. In fact I was so tired I was starting to really struggle but I had just a couple of kilometers through the town to Kirkstead Holiday Park who I had checked were open.
On arrival at the park the lady very kindly said my stay was complimentary and said regards my boots that at 7 the bar would be open and there was a fire in there which I was incredibly grateful for. I got the tent up just before it started raining heavily and then chilled inside it till 7 when I headed over to the bar to start the process of drying my boots.
A weird day because really it was a bit of a nightmare, but it ends up feeling like a really satisfying day just to get through it and be drying out the boots now. The weather turns tomorrow but fortunately due to some friends kindly joining I will have a roof over my head.
NB - for anyone who may follow this route, the area after Donna Nook is quite hazardous and involves going very close to a military base, and private land and switching between them, so don’t think it will necessarily be a walk in the park.