The morning I started walking the Norfolk Coast Path it was chucking it down. Proper raining cats and dogs. The day before it had been hideous humid sunshine, but that morning – torrential rain. This was a blessing in disguise though as it made my first day on the path a cool, calm walk – with hardly a soul in sight.
But I am getting ahead of myself.
At the start of June I decided I needed a break. I couldn’t *GO* anywhere as I couldn’t get the length of time off work that would make foreign travel worth it. But I needed to have a few days away.
It soon occurred to me that maybe now was the time to get in touch with MarGins Walking and Glamping Holidays. I have been following this company since their first year of business when we were asked to display some leaflets at my work. I wrote about them in my post about walking from Sheringham to Cromer, and have stalked them on social media ever since. One quick email, one check with the boss-man re dates and I was all booked in to walk The Curlew Package – half of the Norfolk Coast Path.
It’s at this point that I should add that I have never done any long distance walking. At all. The beauty of MarGins is that they do all the hard work –minus the walking that is! They set up, take down and move on a fully equipped OZ Tent, along with your luggage. They do all the bookings and provide you with a map and super detailed guide of your route. The tent has everything you could need, as well as things you didn’t think you would.
All you have to do is carry as little as you want and walk the miles.
It was so reassuring to know that at the end of the day there was a tent all set up and a kettle waiting to be boiled at the end of the path. A little fridge filled with local produce provided the next days breakfast ( or breakfast for dinner!)
Over the next few posts you will truly get an idea of what MarGins have to offer, and why I would recommend them to anyone, be you a seasoned walker, a novice like me or just want a fabulous Glamping weekend!
Back to day one. The amazing Kat picked me up in the pouring rain, and we drove off to Hunstanton. ( thank you SO much for the lift!!) As advised, I dropped my main luggage off at the tourist information centre to be picked up later that day, had a nervous wee and went on my way!
Money and time has gone into the Norfolk Coast Path in recent years. The signposts are clear and frequent enough that at this stage I didn’t really need the guide. Walking the clifftops first thing in the morning I lost track of how many people I said “morning” to. Everyone seemed so friendly.
Leaving the clifftops you walk across the dunes and through the beach huts.
This leads to Holme Dunes – a boardwalk through a beautiful bird sanctuary looked after by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust. It’s an easy walk, easy to get distracted by the views too!
Due to the weather earlier in the day I barely saw a single person on this section of the trail. Which was exactly what I needed. Working in a customer service role, this escape was exactly what I needed to switch off. I was able to soak up the view and enjoy the peace and quiet…. well…. apart from the crashing waves and the birdsong. But you cannot complain about that!
The first toilet stop came up at Holme Dune Visitor Centre – which had a delightful gift shop and a cafe. Facilities used and coffee refilled I continued on my way.
(As I started my walk the rain had pretty much stopped and out came the snails. I did spend a fair bit of time dodging them! Not always successfully- I think my end snail casualty count was around 7)
Despite it’s name, the coast path does divert from the coast a few times. On the first day you find yourself heading inland slightly -up a hill and across some beautiful farmland before heading back to the salt marshes of Brancaster.
Where I learnt all about millionaires row from some lovely local dog walkers.
If I ever win the lottery I am moving here. The properties all back on to the board walk and salt marshes. I can’t imagine what it’s like living there. ( in fact – I am not sure a lot of people do, SO many holiday lets. But lets save that rant for another day)
I was still pretty much the only person about for the whole day. And even so I never felt unsafe.
The point in which you leave the path for the first nights campsite is clear – the site is actually signposted. Set back from the road Burnham Deepdale campsite is a fantastic facility consisting of a youth hostel, group bunkhouse and extensive campgrounds. With a convenience store too it really has everything you need.
And it is here where you meet your personal Tent Elf – Gin, and get introduced to your tent – mine was Samphire. Gin spends some time with you, showing you the site, and giving you a good tour around your accommodation for the next few days.
It was so nice to finally meet her, and have a good chat. She is so knowledgeable about the local area and was full of tips and advice for the following days. Knowing I had her at the end of the phone was a lovely reassurance. After meeting her on the first night we were not to cross paths again during the trip. The tent magically disappeared and reappeared at the next campsite. All she asked that was because I was travelling on my own is that I would text to let her know I’d arrived safe and sound.
(In my next post about day two I will talk a bit more about solo travel, and why it’s not so scary!)
Waving goodbye to Gin I spent the rest of the evening relaxing and reading. I cooked myself breakfast for dinner, all local produce supplied in the cooler. I used Burnham Deepdales fantastic shower room and read through some of the information and leaflets Gin had supplied. Including a warm up and cool down sheet.
Her parting words to me were to stretch.
Advice I did not follow on the first night and slightly regretted! By the time it came to go to bed I zipped up Samphire, unrolled the fleece liner, crawled in and didn’t move again till 7am. Mainly because I couldn’t!
That said, it was such a snuggly toasty bed, and I woke up well rested ready to walk 14 miles to my next campsite.
In my next post we walk 14 miles to Stiffkey, do the smelliest 2 minute beach clean and walk the incredible Holkham Beach!
PS – if you head on over to my Instagram, I have the whole trip saved as a highlight!!!