Monday, August 08, 2005

Horsey Mere

Between Norwich and the coast lie the Norfolk Broads, a large area of rivers, marshes and farmland in some of the flattest territory of the UK. Our destination was Horsey, an 8km circular walk beginning at a Windpump (ie a Windmill that pumps water rather than mills grain).

Perched on a canal/waterway, the Horsey Windpump looked over a bunch of sail boats that were being manned by some young teenagers under adult guidance: possibly water/sea cadets? We diverged from that canal soon after, but continued to see white sails appearing to drift across fields of reeds for some time.

We suddenly found that the path crossed a cow pasture (not mentioned in the walking guide). The path ran through the cattle like a line of best fit through a scatter plot of weight and interest in malamutes. Calves approached to check out Bondi, and the adults approached to make sure the Bondi wasn't checking out their children. It was a little unnerving but I held my ground and managed to shoo the calves away and their parents were satisfied.

We passed another - broken down - windpump, and some empty fields before crossing the main road and heading through a break in the dunes to the beach. A long stretch of dunes have been planted with grass and buttressed on the sea-side by concrete barriers to stand against the North Sea. When the dunes have given-way, as has happened many times, the flat lands behind them at sea-level are quickly indundated. A bracing northerly wind whipped up the sea as we pounded through the sand for just over a kilometre to the next break in the wall.

The clouds opened up for 5 minutes, drenching us, and we passed a family out on the same walk. At this point we reached a stile that Bondi refused to negotiate. He instead tried to go around, and plunged into a watery ditch, emerging black and stinking. Joy unbound.

Up ahead we saw a greater concentration of cattle on the last stretch before we got back to the Horsey windpump. I really didn't want to have to confront them again - cattle on the other side of a ditch were already assembling to inspect Bondi - but the family offered to go on ahead and shoo them. That worked reasonably well. We had to stick close to their flank as the cattle went around to see us.

Fortunately there was a hose available to rinse off Bondi and I had a bit of coal-tar shampoo left to ameliorate the smell.

We stopped at Great Yarmouth (ie mouth of Yare) but it turned out to be a craptacular seaside resort and so it was back on to Norwich.
Now sitting on my arse in the middle of Norwich town square at 8.30pm as it's the only place I can get a stable wireless internet connection with BT Openzone

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