Lowestoft Illuminations

Day 27 – Shingle Street to Lowestoft – 16th June – 31.9 nm

Yeehaa! A lie-in at last! On the ebb brings a welcome late start, we relish sleeping bag warmth until a luxurious 9 o’clock (a.m. that is) shows on the clock. It is also going to be a pretty straightforward start to the day, for once. The wind has dropped, the sun is out and no real swell is forecast – game on.

 The campsite is very pleasant, the owner takes serious pride in her site, we are reluctant to leave; unfortunately the same can't be said of the nearby pub. Hey ho.

Shingle Street is much more pleasant this morning, though still a touch too much shingle for my liking - I think I have an allergy forming.

Down the steep slope and away, perfect conditions to paddle along Orford Ness – nice. I am intrigued by the Ness and look forward to the next few miles. Yet more shingle though.

The tide works nicely and soon the concrete pagodas of the long-extinct nuclear weapon testing facility loom into view, lending a ghostly touch to the peace and quiet. Next comes the incongruous lighthouse, seemingly too close to the edge to me – one of the (very) few instances where I think a touch more shingle may be useful.

The pretty town of Aldeburgh slips by, followed soon by Thorpe Ness, and then the nuclear theme, continues with the pressurised water reactor at Sizewell.  The Weather Gods are obviously on their lunch-break, the sun shines and there is just a gentle breeze. It seems such a luxury to eat, drink and yes, of course, to have a pee, without any precarious swell-dodging spraydeck-rushing moments.

The low cliffs at Dunwich drift by, while Walberswick doesn't appear to be quite as humorous as its name. More low cliffs follow, until a rare bit of sand at Kessingland and then Lowestoft is next. I have been following the Lowestoft wind turbine for a while now; geography and tide dictate that I will complete the day just to the north of the town.

Of course, the day of a UK Circumnavigator isn’t that easy. The wind quickly strengthens as I close on the town and the rebound from the sea defences and the harbour wall put a slightly stressful mark to the end of the day. The Team Manager is also having a slightly rough time as she tries to meet up with me, in a not-so-shiny part of town. The moment is lifted though by a car load of rather bemused Chinese Tourists and a very pleasant chat with a gentleman walking his dog along the beach - it looks the sort of place that you need a dog in order to go walking along the beach. A big dog preferably. 

Later we reflect on the lack of spontaneity in modern British camping; 2 sites – 'no tourers', 3 sites – 'members only', 1 site – 'no access without a pre-booking'. Eventually we find a very pleasant site where we are allowed to choose our own pitch and are even trusted to drive there un-escorted. Big boy's stuff now.

Later a beer is opened, and while the sun goes down we watch another owl and then the onset of the Campsite Illuminations Competition (Suffolk Area) as the caravans light up in various extremes of multi-coloured glory.  Good ol’ Great Britain.