243. Sutton Bridge to Kings Lynn

I checked out the forecast and could  see that the East coast of England would be in for a couple of days of sunny dry weather, so I opted to do a day’s trip to Lincolnshire.

This section would see the back of Lincolnshire and entry into Norfolk. No problems with public transport were envisaged, so I drove to and parked in Kings Lynn. I used one of the council car parks at a charge of £2.70 for the day. I don’t mind paying for parking, as long as the charges are not excessive. I walked along the small quay in Kings Lynn which is a charming and very interesting small market town. I headed to the bus station and caught the #505 bus service to Sutton Bridge.

I got off the bus close to the swing bridge. The morning traffic had started to get busy, however, I immediately turned up a minor road and walked alongside The River Nene, the road was quiet with only the occasional vehicle. Todays walk would be mainly on Sea dykes and minor roads. I walked along what is known as the Peter Scott Way, a trail from Sutton Bridge around to the Ferry to King Lynn, although part of the walk was also known as The Nene Way. Sir Peter Scott had a strong connection with the area and bought the East Lynn lighthouse in 1933, which I soon passed. At the time The East and West lighthouses marked the entrance to the sea, however, subsequent reclamation from the sea has since pushed the sea wall much further out into The Wash.

It was a lovely morning with bright sunshine and a gentle breeze. The grass on top of the Sea Dyke was cropped very short, but heavy with dew. I passed a couple of dog walkers and later on some ‘twitchers’ with large lenses. I passed within  500m of the Inner Trial Bank and could still make out the Outer Trial Bank out to the west. The Norfolk Coast was becoming much clearer now and somewhere around this point I crossed over into Norfolk. The walk was very peaceful, with the occasional sound of a Curlew and the hum of tractors working the huge fields.

Cross Keys swing bridge across The Nene at Sutton Bridge
Walking north along The Nene
Three Barnacle Geese in the foreground and four Brent Geese in the background on the banks of The Nene
East Lynn lighthouse (Peter Scott lighthouse)
The Great Ouse entering The Wash

The path began to bear around to the south-east and a couple of wind turbines just north of Kings Lynn come into view. I was now walking along The River Great Ouse, one of England’s longest rivers with its source back in Northamptonshire. After passing a large sewage works, with some real ‘heavy’ odours I  joined a long straight Hawthorn edge that accompanied the path until I arrived at West Lynn, just across the river from Kings Lynn. The small port and quay of Kings Lynn, presented some of it most attractive features and buildings from the opposite side of the river. I carried on heading for one of two bridges that cross the Great Ouse about a half-mile from Kings Lynn. I was surprised to learn that Kings Lynn, prior to 1537 was known as Bishops Lynn.

After crossing the bridge over the Great Ouse I headed along a cycleway back into the town. An attractive feature of Kings Lynn is the absence of tall large buildings. The most notable building include the double-towered Kings Lynn Minster – St Margarets and the quirky Greyfriars Tower, a remnant from a Franciscan Friary with quite a large lean.

General cargo vessel “Ernst Hagedon”, built in 1989 flying the Antigua & Barbuda flag berthed at Kings Lynn dock
Looking across the Great Ouse to Kings Lynn
Crossing the Great Ouse upstream from Kings Lynn
The quay at Kings Lynn (taken earlier that morning)
The Custom House Kings Lynn (taken earlier that morning)

Distance today = 17 miles
Total distance = 4,407 miles




242. Strathcarron to Tornapress

Not  the most inspiring of walks with the weather was forecast to be overcast with heavy rain, coupled with doing some of the walk in the dark!

This was to be my last section in “filling the gap” caused by an injury six weeks before and   the shortest walk of my three-day trip. The problem really was the public transport situation. The earliest time for a bus to/from my end point was about 11:00, which meant I would not be walking until 11:30. Although I could have completed the walk in the hours of daylight available, I did not want to be kicking my heels for 5 or 6 hours while I waited for a bus. So this is what I did.

I had slept in the back of the car at a small pull-in on the Bealach na Ba mountain road the night before and set my alarm for 05:00. It was pitch black when I set off down the road to Tornapress. I had brought my bike up on this trip in the event of public transport not being available. I chained the bike to snow gates and drove into Lochcarron. I set off from Lochcarron down the quiet cul-de-sac road to Ardaneaskan a 06:00. I expected the road to be very quiet at that time of the morning. For the first couple of miles there was street lighting although no pavement. I would not have been happy about walking along the main road in the dark, but I felt ok about walking along this road.

I was wearing my hi vis vest and a strobing head torch. I also carried a hand torch, with bright LED lighting if any traffic approached. I met only 3 cars throughout the entire length of the road and two of them were where there was street lighting. The rain started after about a mile down the road and would continue off and on for the rest of the day. At Port na Fearna, the street lighting ceased and I was in the dark. It would be another hour and a half before any reasonable daylight was available. I turned my strobe light to the energy-saving red light and continued on in the dark. I have always liked walking in the dark, at least along pavements or roads.

I passed through the hamlet of North Strome, nearby to where the ferry used to go to Stromeferry across the loch. As I walked along the road through the Old Scots pine plantation near Leacanashiel, I was able to switch my torch off. The public road ended at Ardaneaskan, by which time the greyness of the morning was apparent.

Early hours of the morning on the Ardaneaskan road
Dawn at Leacanashiel looking across Loch Carron

I headed up an Estate track and dropped down to Loch Reraig. I was heading North East now and followed the Reraig Burn. I was looking for a footpath sign that branched off from the Estate track after 1 km. I got to a point where I knew I had missed the sign for the footpath. I retraced my steps and found the sign albeit surrounded by high dying bracken. The footpath climbed gently over open moorland and down into Loch Kishorn to the village of Achintraid. I was back on a metal road and continued through the hamlet of Ardarroch which soon joined the A896 Kishorn road. I plodded along the main road for a couple of miles until I came to my chained up bike at Tornapress. I was rather relieved that the bike was still there, having been on show since 5:30 that morning.

I began the 6 mile cycle ride back to Lochcarron and to my surprise I only had to get off and push three times. As I arrived back in Lochcarron the bus which I originally had planned to take was departing for Tornapress,  which made me feel pretty good. However, I still had the small section to walk from Strathcarron to Lochcarron, a few miles. This I did by cycling out and walking back…pushing my bike.

Not a great walk with few photo opportunities and poor light and heavy rain, but satisfying that I got the walk done in good time and had finally plugged a gap that had been bugging me.

At Ardaneaskan looking across to Plockton
Looking back to Loch Reraig
Hidden sign for Achintraid path (poor quality photo)
Heading over open moor to Achintraid
Looking down to Achintraid and Loch Kishorn
Approaching Tornapress

NB: I also publish all my Scottish Blog entries on the excellent Scottish Hills website, I use the same narrative, but larger photos and a few extra ones. They can be found here:


Distance today = 16 miles
Total distance = 4,390 miles


241. Strathcarron to Kyle of Lochalsh

This was going to be a tough day in more ways than one. Firstly, it was something like 22 miles to Kyle of Lochalsh and secondly, there was still construction work going on along the A890.

There have been issues with rock stability between Attadale and Ardnarff for many years, especially where the road and rail routes come together and are pinched between the loch shore and the steep mountainside. The underlying problem is the presence of the Strathcarron Fault and nearby Kishorn Thrust, forming components of the Moine Thrust. The latest attempt to stabilise the rock slope is currently being undertaken with the road closed overnight and for long periods during the day. The opening times for the road was based around the train timetable and subject to a convoy system. To make matters worse pedestrians were not allowed to walk through the works, instead being carried inside one of the convoy vehicles – this was not an option for me.

I considered a number of solutions to get past the works on foot and walking around the site was the only option. I found it was not possible to walk on the shore side, between the rail track and the loch, as  in many places there was a sheer drop from the track into the water. I decided that I  needed to climb high up above the works to a height of about 350m just after Attadale. This height was important because it was above the very steep slope, above the forestry which spans the steep slope and importantly above a number of very steep ravines which cut into the slope.

I drove to and parked next to the rail station at Strathcarron. It was still slightly dark when I set off down the A890. I was wearing my hi-vis vest and strobe light head torch. The road was open at 07:00 so I knew I would see some traffic long along it.

When I reached Attadale climbed a deer fence and set off up the hill. There was no path, but the terrain was not that bad, just steep. The steepness of the slope finally relented and the going became much easier. The 3 or 4 miles trek along the top was simply a case of keeping high on the undulating ridge, and maintaining a bearing between the hummocky knolls and boggy ground. Although I had extensive views over Loch Carron, I could not see down to the road works below me or even the forest. The route finding was quite simple as I navigated between a succession of small lochs. The key loch was Loch na Stroine, which I knew was close to  the end of the road works below.

Getting off the hill and back down to the main road was the biggest challenge. I knew that there were forest roads running parallel with the hillside, but no paths or firebreaks linking them to the higher ground. I aimed for an old forest track, that I knew would be overgrown, but have a small distance to bash through to get to. I descended down very steep ground and had a few goes at getting through the forest. I finally emerged at what looked like an old road, very overgrown. I was very pleased with my navigation as I knew that this road would lead to a much more open forest road, and it did.

Looking towards the hill I would climb to bypass the roadworks
Looking down at Attadale
Looking down Loch Carron
Heading down to the forest
Looking back at the overgrown forest track emerging onto a better track
On the A890 and looking back

I finally arrived back on the A890 some 4 hours after setting off from Strathcarron, but I still had a long way to go. I continued along a very quiet A890 to the panoramic viewpoint above Loch Carron. I chatted to a couple who were selling coffee and snacks in the lay-by there. The coffee was a real tonic and tasted really nice. They offered me a free cup of coffee after they heard what I was doing, I politely declined as I had to get a move on, I had a train to catch.

I set off down the A890 and soon turned off the main road through Achmore. For the next 4  miles I continued along a quiet lane with the dramatic cliffs of Creag an Duilisg rising high above me. As I approached Duncraig Castle I was able to follow a footpath down to the railway line and pass underneath it and continue along a lochside path all the way to the outskirts of Plockton. I did not have time to walk into Plockton itself and continued along the road heading towards Duirinish. Duirinish was a unique little hamlet, with a row of cottages either side of a burn that ran through the settlement. Sheep grazed on common grazing land in the middle of the hamlet.

Below the cliffs at Creag an Duilisg
Loch side path heading towards Plockton

I continued on to the nearby settlement of Drumbuie and then onto Erbusaig with the road getting wider and containing more traffic. By the time I reached Badicaul I could see the Skye Bridge, albeit from a different angle. I passed into Kyle of Lochalsh and immediately looked for somewhere to eat.  I did not fancy the cafe/bistro there so I popped into the Co-Op and bought some food. I had about 30 minutes before my train departed back up the line to Strathcarron. The rail journey was taken in the late afternoon light and I could still make out the landmarks I had previously walked along. It would be a superb journey to take the train all the way back to Inverness. As I passed by the road works on the train, my suspicions about being unable to pass between the railway and the shore were confirmed.

I would spend a third night in the car due to The Wee Campsite in Lochcarron being closed for the Winter.

The hamlet of Duirinish
At Badicaul looking towards the Skye Bridge
At Kyle of Lochalsh and the train back to Strathcarron

NB: I also publish all my Scottish Blog entries on the excellent Scottish Hills website, I use the same narrative, but larger photos and a few extra ones. They can be found here:


Distance today = 22 miles
Total distance = 4,374 miles


240. Ardheslaig to Applecross

Finally back to Applecross after my slight mishap some 6 weeks ago. On this trip I was hoping to ‘plug the gap’ left by my previous trip being cut short by an injury and also to further advance my progress around the Applecross Peninsular.

I drove up the day before and reached Inverness by 20:00. I popped into Aldi to get some provisions and continued onto Applecross. I had been hoping to park the car  at Coulags again, but I could see most of the parking space was occupied by a camper van. I continued on the road towards the Bealach na Ba as I knew the location of a number of parking spots lower down. I found a great parking spot by a burn. Only a single car passed by all night. I was in for a bit of a surprise at about 1 in the morning, as a stag very, close to the car, let out a roaring sound akin something that Zombies would make! Scared the living daylights out of me!

At 06:00 I continued onto Applecross. Because it was a Wednesday I had opted to use the weekly bus service around the northern tip of Applecross. I had booked a seat on the minibus a few day before and arranged to be picked up at the Applecross Inn at 08:00. I was the only passenger on the bus which meant I could have a good chat to the driver, who was also a mechanic at Lochcarron Garage, who run the service.

I got dropped off at the road-end to Ardheslaig and began walking back to Applecross along the old road which was well-preserved in this area. The road around the northern part of Applecross is quite new, well 1976, which is quite new in road terms.  I could see why the new road was needed, with the only other way into Applecross over the Bealach na Ba, which could be impassable sometimes in Winter. I stayed on the old road for a couple of miles, climbing steadily and giving a great view back towards Loch Torridon. Most of the Torridon ‘giants’ were still in cloud, but I had great views across the loch out towards Red Point, which will feature on my next visit to the area.

After a couple of miles the old road joined the new road, which I would remain on all the way back to Applecross. The road was very quiet to start with, but as the morning wore on the traffic picked-up. However, the road was still pleasant to walk along and after passing through the small hamlets of Arrina, Fearnbeg and Fearnmore outstanding views emerged over  The Inner Sound across to Rona, Raasay and Skye beyond. Although the sun was out, the odd rain shower appeared, but not for long. With the road being very straight  it was possible to make rapid progress.  I continued on and passed through the small hamlets of Cuaig, Callakillie, Lonbain and Salacher.

At Ardheslaig with the minibus just setting off back to Lochcarron
Looking north to Red Point across Loch Torridon from the old road.
Near Kenmore and the road ahead
Not sure about this, as I can find no reference to it – local knowledge or local grafitti?
Looking back up Loch Torridon
Entering Cuaig with Rona and The Storr on Skye in the distance
Looking south down the Inner Sound towards the Red Cuillin and the Isle of Raasay on the right

Near Meallabhan I could see a  road veering to the right down to a MOD submarine testing station. Close by was a small car park and a sandy beach, with a number of people enjoying the autumn sunshine strolling along the sand. Sitting below the small crags high above the beach was a huge sand dune which appeared to have been created by unique aeolian processes in this small bay.

The road eventually turned east into Applecross Bay and I could pick out the village of Applecross across the bay, which was still three miles away. As I entered the village I passed the site of the Four Trees of Applecross. Although the original trees had disappeared just after the Second World War, four Sweet Chesnuts were recently planted to commemorate the original trees planted in a square formation. Various stories, myths and superstition surround the trees, one of which was  do with a race to claim Applecross with one of the claimants cutting off his hand to throw ahead to claim the prize and the trees planted to commemorate the event. Hmmm yes….After 6 hours of continuous walking I arrived back in Applecross.

Large sand dune above Meallabhan beach
Looking across Applecross Bay to Applecross village
One of the four recently planted Four Trees of Applecross

NB: I also publish all my Scottish Blog entries on the excellent Scottish Hills website, I use the same narrative, but larger photos and a few extra ones. They can be found here:



Distance today = 20 miles
Total distance = 4,352 miles


239. Sutton Bridge to Moulton Marsh

This was the second leg of my walk around the head of The Wash. I had opted to do this leg on a Sunday for one reason. When I do these ‘one-day’ walks the drive to the start of the walk is normally done in the early hours and the traffic is very light. However, when I have finished the walk, invariably the drive home is done through ‘rush-hour’ traffic which can be anything from 14:00 – 19:00! Its frustrating and quite stressful at times. So this was to be a Sunday walk and hopefully a bit less traffic on the drive home.

I needed to fill in a 6 or 7 mile public transport gap on this section, which meant the use of my bicycle again. I drove to and parked at the Moulton Marsh car park and then began the cycle ride to Holbeach. I used the quiet back roads which took me to the small market town. The roads were virtually empty on a Sunday morning and the almost flat terrain, lack of wind made for an easy ride, apart from the almost freezing cold morning and I had forgotten to bring my gloves!

I cycled into Holbeach secured my bike in a bike rack at Tesco’s in the town. I then walked a short distance to a bus stop where I caught the #505 bus to Sutton Bridge. I had opted to do the walk in reverse because of bus timings, the bus running eastwards was at least 3o minutes earlier. I got off the bus close to the large swing bridge that spans the River Nene. I decided I would take a closer look at the bridge on my next visit.

I followed a straight road that ran alongside the River Nene, which was at low tide. I walked straight through the small dock that forms Ports Sutton Bridge. Being a sunday there was nobody about. The tarmac road I was on disappeared and I continued along a green lane heading towards two lighthouses, one of which was on the opposite bank of the river. The western Nene lighthouse, which I walked past, was at Guys Head and is now a private dwelling.

The swing bridge across The River Nene at Sutton Bridge
Heading out of Sutton Bridge alongside The Nene
Fisheries Research vessel moored at Sutton Bridge quay
Western Nene lighthouse

Shortly after passing the lighthouse the sea bank veered to the NW following the edge of the outer salt marsh and the outlet into The Wash for the River Nene. I could now see the Outer Trial Bank, an artificial island built in 1976 as a water storage scheme. Unfortunately the Trial determined that the scheme was financially unfeasible. I  approached the RAF Holbeach Bombing Range, with its string of control towers and warning notices. The public footpath that runs along the sea Bank at the perimeter of the range is open even during live firing so I was not unduly worried if a red flag was flying. As it turned out there was no activity as I passed by the range, apart from some people returning from a walk out to the targets on the range.

I passed a number of people out with their dogs and got totally ‘slobbered-on’ by two friendly Boxers with drool gushing out of their mouths! When I reached The Fleet pumping station I was very fortunate to see how the process works. I heard an  alarm siren sounding, then the pumps starting up and the sound of gushing water. I checked the seaward side and could see a large discharge of water flowing  into the outlet channel.

I could now make out St Botolphs Church (The Stump) in the far distance. The Sea Bank  gradually swung around to the SW as it approached the River Welland at Fosdyke Wash. The small wood at Moulton Marsh where I had parked my car, came into view. After arriving back at and my car and changing my clothes I set off back to Holbeach to collect my bicycle. The traffic on the way home was busy around Peterborough, but ok.

Looking out to Outer Trial Island
Looking along the Holbeach Bombing Range
Approaching the Helipad at RAF Holbeach
Walkers returning from a visit out onto the range
A surge of water outflow at The Fleet pumping station
Looking back at the Sea bank, a typical vista in this part of the country

Distance today = 17.5 miles
Total distance = 4,332 miles

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238. Boston to Moulton Marsh

I had planned for a 2 or 3 day trip to Scotland, but the forecast of heavy rain had put me off. So I turned my attention to continuing my journey along the East Coast, more precisely The Wash. The coastal walk from Boston to Kings Lynn is dissected by three rivers The Welland, The Nene and The Great Ouse, all requiring lengthy inland incursions to reach the nearest bridging point. To this end and given the availability of public transport in the area, i opted to split the section into 3 separate days of walking.

The first leg of walking would be between Boston and  Moulton Marsh, located a few miles down the River Welland after passing Fosdyke Bridge. Because my next leg would require the use of a bicycle, I needed to include a small bike ride on this leg. So I drove to the Moulton Marsh Nature Reserve car park and left my bike chained to a post. I then drove around to the small village of Fosdyke and parked at the Village Hall. I then waited for the #7B bus which I had booked the day before to take me into Boston.

As we drove into Boston we picked up 3 more people from the scattered and isolated hamlets in the area. The bus driver mentioned something about a footpath diversion, close to the docks. I got dropped off at the Bus Station and made my way back towards The Haven. I could see a number of signs  on the large flood prevention scheme which intended to save 15,000 houses in Boston from Tidal flooding. The footpath diversion was well signed and hardly an inconvenience. After a short while I was able to gain the Sea Bank and continue walking along the banks of The Haven. The grass, initially, was overgrown and seemed to receive  little foot  traffic. I could easily make out my previous walk, completed a week before, on the opposite bank of The Haven.

The old Railway Swing Bridge across The Haven rarely used now
Construction works on the flood prevention scheme
Heading downstream along The Haven on an overgrown footpath
Fishing boat returning to Boston
Juvenile Cormorant perched atop a Port-side marker on The Haven
Looking back towards Boston with fishing boats heading out to sea

Other footpaths joined this riverside path and by the time I had drawn level with the Pilgrim Father’s Memorial on the opposite bank, the long grass had disappeared and the going became much easier. I passed onto and through Wyberton Marsh and had the option to do an out and back to the mouth of The Haven. As I already visited the mouth, albeit on the opposite bank I continued  SW over Frampton Marsh. I passed a few ‘twitchers’ with huge zoom lens’ and the occasional dog walker. I was walking into a rather stiff breeze, but this did not bother me. I gradually approached the River Welland, which was difficult to see untill I was almost upon it.

I could see the small jetty on the opposite bank where I had stood in the morning. Even though the jetty  was only 100m away, it would take me almost an hour to get around to this point. I could begin to make out the traffic on the main A17 in the distance, about 1.6 miles away. I could also make out the steeple of the nearby village of Fosdyke, where I had parked my car. The roar of the traffic on the A17 got louder as I neared Fosdyke Bridge. There is not much at the bridge other than a small marina, a few houses and the Old Ship Inn. I crossed over the River Welland on a cycle/footpath and headed back up alongside the River Welland on the opposite bank. With the sun out and a stiff breeze at my back I soon arrived at Moulton Marsh car park where I had parked my bike. The ride back to the village of Fosdyke was only 3 miles, but even though the terrain is very flat, the headwind, hampered my progress.

The next leg of this walk, would be  longer, but I had shaved a couple of miles of it by doing an extra bit today and also set myself up for avoiding any cycling along the busy A17.

Wyberton Marsh looking out across the salt marsh of The Wash
Moulton Marsh car park across The Welland and where I had left my bike
Crossing The River Welland at Fosdyke Bridge
Moulton Marsh car park

Distance today =  14 miles
Total distance =  4,314.5 miles