Day 324: Goldhanger to St Lawrence
Distance: 21.93 miles
Ascent: 826 feet
Weather: SUNNY sPELLS
Accommodation: tHE Terkelsen’s House (Kindly Offered)
I had been surprisingly snug in my tent last night and decided not to put my fleece on to sleep, I had been worried I may be cold but was still perfectly snug when I woke up this morning. I assumed it had been warmer than forecast last night but on getting out of the tent, it was bloomin freezing and the whole outside of the tent had frozen solid. Taking the tent down was not fun and my hands complelety froze and I was only just able to pack the tent away as the replacement tent is not easy to pack away before my hands completely lost use.
Once on the way and walking with a glove warmer in I soon heated up and the weather today was much better than yesterday with mostly clear skies. The sun was a beautiful red hue as it rose over the River Blackwater. It was about 4 miles of good quality embankment walking to Heybridge Basin passing some interesting modern beach huts on stilts that would be essentially little islands at high tide.
The embankment continued around Heybridge Basin, I presume this used to have another use but now it appeared to be just a wildlife lagoon. I had to find my way through a small industrial park before crossing over a bridge and into Maldon. I grabbed a few Lidl pastries here, and then followed the waterfront. There were some incredible boats here including a large Thames Barge with its red sail unfurled, Maldon seemed a really nice place.
From Maldon it was back out onto the embankments after a brief scenic promenade and after a further 7 miles or so reached Mayland, this village/town had a slightly odd feel to it but it allowed me to stock up and I decided to actually grab a quick lunch inside.
I must fess up on leaving Mayland, for only the second time on the walk I believe, I made a slight mistake. I just looked at the map (not my plot) and followed the main path but actually the more minor path kept closer to the water and I only noticed the mistake in the evening when plotting. In reality if you were to look at my plot above you wouldn’t even notice it, but it cuts of a tiny peninsula maybe saving me 1 mile.
Once back on the proper path and following the river exactly I soon passed Steeple Bay Holiday Park and the amount of rubbish and dog poo bags hanging in the trees around here was quite disgusting. I continued along the embankment up until it was blocked by a house and then had to cut across a field before rejoining the path on the other side of a group of boats.
The embankment took me into St Lawrence (also strangely known as Ramsey Island or Stone) and I had emailed the sailing club who had said I could pitch outside the sailing club. Only a minute shy of the sailing club a lady (Gilly it turns out) asked where I was walking and then incredibly kindly and to my surprise said I could have a bed for the night.
I was very grateful for this in the current cold conditions and hung my tent out to dry before the Terkelsens cooked me a lovely dinner, they were also kindly spreading the word of the walk and trying to get me accommodation for tomorrow night.
A good, simple day with cold but clear conditions and glad to have a bed.