Day 294: Kilnsea to Kingston upon Hull
Distance: 29.56 miles
Ascent: 727 feet
Accommodation: Hull Trinity Backpackers
Well I had a decision to make this morning and had been thinking about it last night as well before falling asleep. That decision was Spurn Head, my original plan had been to have a rest day in Kilnsea and do a loop of Spurn Head during the rest day. When I had rejigged the rest day to a day later in Hull I had though I would maybe do it in the evening instead after pitching my tent but with guests on the walk yesterday this wouldn’t have been possible. The decision I finally came to this morning was to walk to the edge of the ‘washover’ zone essentially where it becomes tidal, until 2013 this was a spit but is now effectively a tidal island after a massive storm surge meaning that the road and sand near the mainland was washed away leaving a tidal island. This felt a slight cop out but it is in line with my ‘rules’ to only visit islands linked by a bridge or non-tidal causeway and as Spurn Head has a tidal causeway it is outside the scope of this (even typing this you can probably work out I am deciding whether it is a cheat or not.)
Anyway, after reaching the ‘washover’ point I was back on my proposed route for today and it was a fairly long mileage day up near 30 miles. Once again the sun was out and having set off before 7 the sun was slowly rising. The route today should be alright but only half was on an actual path, the rest was on flood embankments which though not shown as paths on the map normally are when you get to them so though slightly apprehensive I was quite confident.
After Kilnsea I joined straight onto the embankment and as I thought though not shown as a public right of way on OS map it was clearly used as such and I made good progress for the 5 miles or so to Welwick Saltmarsh. This was a lovely stretch with the sun slowly rising, and it is a while since I have had one of these embankment walks up a river and they are very enjoyable.
At Welwick Saltmarsh I had my first predicted possible issue, at a drainage channel (Winestead Drain) my proposed route headed a kilometer inland to cross at a farm bridge but stood here I thought maybe I could cross at the pumping/flood defence station a few hundred meters away. I was wrong there was a locked gate and cameras aimed at the area after the gate you would cross so I decided to revert to the farm bridge.
After crossing the farm bridge it was easy going and the embankment was clearer than I expected half due to dog walkers and half due to the fact that this part is used by a wildfowl (saltmarsh species) hunting group. I made good progress for the next couple of hours until the coastguard cottages at Stone Creek. From here the embankment became an official public right of way on the OS map and so I assumed no further issues.
The going was good for the next 5 miles or so on the embankment and then suddenly just shy of Paull there was a temporary security fence across the path and a building site on the other side with work on the embankment and a sign saying no entry. I approached the fence expecting a diversion sign but there appeared to be none. Unless I missed it there was no sign the 5 miles or so earlier when I joined the public footpath. This left me in a bit of a quandary and essentially 3 options. First option ignore the fence which you could walk around and just carry on to the embankment building site. Second option cut across the farm to the road which would get me to Paull. Third option head back 5 miles then follow roads to Paull overall about 13 miles extension. I instantly scrapped option 3 due to the distance, then option 2 soon followed as I felt being made to trespass across a farm because there was no diversion was not really an option. So, it was option 1, legally if you block a public right of way you must put in a suitable diversion and clear signage should be put up, so I did not feel too bad about doing this but was a bit apprehensive.
So I walked along the new ‘bund’ (embankment) they had created towards the large diggers and excavation machinery (it was quite a big building site), a group of workers in high vis had already been heading along the bund in this direction and when I reached them the first guy said you can’t walk here and I explained the situation that there was no diversion so I had no alternatives and to my surprise he was very sympathetic and radioed through to the site manager as he was just a contractor. It took the site manager about 20 minutes to get there and by that time there was about 10 builders with me and far from being an awkward situation we were more just having a laugh about the situation, before they even knew I was on a charity walk and then they felt bad for slowing me down, one even wanted me to take a photo but not sure how his bosses would feel about that so I didn’t. Finally, the manager arrived and again he was very understanding but said I couldn’t walk through which I expected but he would escort me to the side entrance where I could join the road to Paull. Whilst escorting he said that he would bring the issue up at the next meeting as if it was a public right of way (which it is) he agreed there should be a diversion with signage or an escort service across the site. It was one of those rare moments where everyone seemed to understand and listen to each other without any animosity and I wouldn’t be surprised if clear signage gets put up in the next few days.
Anyway, once out of the building site I was soon in Paull and took a path up a brook to where I would have to join a road. The first 1 kilometer of road did not have any verge but once I reached the main road there was a cycle and walk way alongside the dual carriageway. There did used to be a path in front of the docks but Siemens quite fairly asked to divert this behind the docks so they could expand there wind turbine works here, and paid for an alternative route along the back that is not as scenic but perfectly good to walk.
Along this stretch I bumped into 4 men who are actually walking the whole coast of England in 2 & 3 day stages (http://roundenglandwalk.blogspot.com/), and I think they began in 2011. I was only a couple of miles from the end so I joined them for the approach into Hull. I said goodbye and good luck to them near the old town and headed to my hostel for my rest day.
The hostel is very well located and the people working in it are very nice. They kindly allowed me to do my laundry for free and even gave a small donation. Most importantly the hostel gives my body a chance to recover over the rest day.
A sunny day walking along the embankments and all issues were surprisingly easily overcome.