Friday, 12 April 2013


Wrangle → Wainfleet All Saints

em-seabank.png Distance: 8.87 miles
Ascent: 86 metres
Duration: 2 hours 38 minutes

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Here's a secret: we entered a marathon last year. I blame the woman with the dog. Or maybe the Bed-and-Breakfast proprietor.

Let me explain.

There's a public right of way almost all the way around The Wash, but this stops about five miles short of the northern corner. The sea bank continues but it's on private land and the coastal walker who chooses to trespass faces another problem in addition to angry farmers: the Steeping River. This deep channel has to be crossed at the end of the five mile transgression, and while there is a bridge, it's locked and heavily fortified. The only alternative is a long trudge inland on the busy A52. This dilemma - road or trespass - is why it's taken me so long to come back to Lincolnshire.

A couple of years ago we solved the problem. On the bookcase of a B&B in Falmouth I found a copy of Two Feet, Four Paws by Katherine Talbot-Ponsonby. It's another coast walker's journal, and critically when discussing crossing the Steeping she reveals that the gate is unlocked once a year: for the Boston-Skegness Seabank Marathon.

It seemed a little crazy, but why shouldn't we join in?

So around this time last year we sent off our entry forms and waited for the big day.

The day came and went. In the end, two things stopped us from participating. First, the weather was lousy. Second, the race was held on a Sunday when public transport between finish and start was almost non-existent. We resolved to look more closely at logistics and enter again this year.

A couple of weeks ago my heart sank as I looked at the race date: prior commitments meant we wouldn't be able to participate. So the detour (race) that could have saved us from having to making an inland detour was out of the question.

Enough messing around! We'd just have to take the road option.

Things didn't get off to a good start: we'd planned to park at the end and take a taxi to where we'd left off previously, but Wainfleet's only taxi firm was on holiday. So before the true walk even began we had to walk the two and a half miles from the village of Wrangle to the sea bank.

furrows.pngThe sea bank itself made for wonderful walking, providing a slightly elevated view of the expansive flat fields. In one, labourers were sowing a crop by hand. In another, the curly kale was just shy of being ready to pick (again, a manual activity).

a52-crash.pngBut too soon it was time to head inland. As we neared the A52 we saw blue flashing lights and found a road suspiciously devoid of traffic. At the first junction we were stopped by the Police — they'd closed the road ahead so that the air ambulance could attend an accident. Once again we were sent on a detour.

Finally we reached the Chain Bridge just outside Wainfleet and finished our walk.

It wasn't the day we had planned, but it's been good to get going again and start the campaign for 2013.

Posted by pab at 18:26 | Comments will be back one day. Please email me instead!