Viking Coastal Trail

On Sunday a friend and I set off to walk the Viking Coastal Trail, all 32 miles (50k).  The challenge was to complete it in under ten hours.

We set off just after 08:30 with lunch and waterproofs packed into our day packs.  It was a lovely bright October morning without a breath of wind.  In fact weather like this makes the sea look like a mill pond, which I find a bit creepy, almost the look of the lull before the storm.

We decided to head in the direction of Cliftonville to Reculver first, having walked this many a time, its the most boring part and parts of the sea prom are quite depressing.  We certainly didn’t want to end on this section when we expected to be tired and digging deep to finish the walk.

Once we reached the sea wall we met or should say were passed by, by lots of cyclists who were taking part in a BHF charity ride on the same route, this proved a bonus as the BHF had marked the route with black arrow more frequently than the official trial markers.

Trail Marker

Trail Marker

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Sea wall towards Reculver Towers

Looking back towards Birchington

Looking back towards Birchington

Across the fields towards St Nicholas at Wade

Across the fields towards St Nicholas at Wade

On reaching Reculver we stopped for lunch, filled up on homemade soup & chocolate !  We missed the signs for the continuation of the trail so asked in the local café…a then followed some ‘duff’ advice which took us through muddy cow filled fields on the Saxon Shore Way, however all turned out fine as we ended up back on the Viking Trail, confirmed by the cyclists whizzing past us.

It was a long long walk from Reculver to St Nicholas at Wade beside the busy Thanet Way, the path itself sits behind trees so you are screened from the actual road.

The long path beside the Thanet Way

The long path beside the Thanet Way

We passed through St Nicholas and crossed the Thanet Way, walked on to Monkton, then into Minster, the weather had now started to cool and the wind had arrived as predicted. This part was a bit of a trudge, the mid-way ‘why are we doing this’ mind-set set in.. so we had a few minutes stop, some jelly babies (needed the sugar rush) more water and set off again with renewed vigour.  The other side of Minster it was time to put our coats on the weather now reduced to light showers.  Heads down we ploughed onwards towards Cliffend.

This is where you start to dig deep to complete the last section of the walk, my friends body was starting to shout ‘ I’ve had enough’ but we pushed on, now in the rain.  We reached Broadstairs where my friend decided she couldn’t go on and phoned for her knight in shining armour to pick her up. (Just four miles short of the finish, 28 miles under her belt, so well done) It was a bit odd to walk off and leave her but it was just before 6pm and the evening was starting to draw in, I wanted to complete the walk and needed to get on, the aim to be home before dark.

I set off at a fast pace, no idea where this energy came from, but it soon dawned on me I wasn’t going to make it home before dark (in the pouring rain & wind), I couldn’t make myself phone for a lift as I was so near to completion so I carried on but starting to worry about the fading light.  It was dark by the time I reached North Foreland lighthouse so I decided to start jogging, I think fear of what lurks in the dark drove me on until I reached civilisation and the street lamps at Palm Bay.  I dropped down to a fast walk until I reached home just before 7pm, needless to say completely bedraggled.

The odd thing and very unexpected I wasn’t exhausted but glad to be home in the dry and warm.

32 miles / 12 Village & towns

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