Norfolk Coast Path Day 1

The starting point of the Norfolk Coast Path: the street end of the pier.

We hung around Middlesbrough just long enough to wish Craig’s neice a happy 18th before we were off once again, this time Norfolk-bound. We were going to the Voewood Festival to see British Sea Power and, while we were there, walk the 45-mile Norfolk Coast Path.

The red bay window over the entrance was ours.

The night before we began, we stayed in a room overlooking the sea at the Cliftonville Hotel in Cromer. I was tempted to just sit at the bay window in our room, but the menu downstairs was very enticing. So enticing, in fact, we ordered two starters and two mains, double our usual restaurant order. The portions were huge; in the end, we sent so much back, the waitress was ordered to question our satisfaction. Hahaha! We had consumed literally the exact amount of food our bodies could hold without either vomiting or bursting.

Lining up for fish and chips. Notice we are not in that line. We don’t queue for food.

We had lobster, crab, fried brie, and “pate” made of smoked fish. The lobster and crab each came on platters with no visible space– it was all covered in piles of food. One of the dishes also came with steamed vegetables, but there was no room on the platter, so it was served, overflowing, in another family-sized bowl. It was all so good, I just wish we could have had it over about four or five meals. It was that much food.

We rolled off to bed at a relatively early hour, in order to have an early start. We were on the trails by 9 the next morning. It’s well-marked with acorn symbols, which is just as well, as large swaths of the NCP are not so much on the coast as near it (relatively speaking). We spent quite a bit ofthe first day walking in the woods, probably never more than a few hundred meters of the ocean, but too far too hear or smell it.

A couple of miles in, blue skies and a sea view.

We walked the 14 miles to Cley-Next-the-Sea, then got on the very convenient Coasthopper bus back to Cromer to pick up the car. From there, we drove to Kelling Heath, where we were camping, because it was “moments away” from the Voewood Festival where British Sea Power would be closing the opening day. “Moments” turned out to be a neearly ten minute train ride. So much for truth in advertising.

Voewood Festival

While the festival organizers may not have had a firm grasp of how time and distance work, they completely understood how far copious amounts of jamon, manchego, and red wine could go towards making up for their shortcomings. It was the best festival I’ve ever been to, and I don’t see how another one could top it. It was lightly raining, but there was not a speck of mud anywhere. The rain wasn’t so heavy that we couldn’t sit under an umbrella at an outdoor table and enjoy endless plates of jamon, after a starter of a hot pork and manchego sandwich, and a few too many glasses of Spanish red.

Our table: right between the wine and the jamon.

There was no seating in the music tent, but that was to be expected, and I’m not classy, so I just sat on the side and assumed a heavy canvas tent built to house several hundred people could take my weight if I leaned against it. It could, and within about 30 seconds, another couple followed our example and sat beside us.

British Sea Power

When we were ready to travel the moments three miles back to the camp site, we found out the one shuttle bus (they were being very literal when they advertised a shuttle bus) would not be going for another 45 minutes or so. Fortunately, a local volunteer drove up as we were trying to get a number for a cab company and she generously went out of her way and drove us to the camp site. Have I ever mentioned that Craig is both charming and persuasive?