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Venturing North

We are in the middle of a ‘pause for chores’, these largely consisting of removal of personal (land-based) effects from a store in London to another in Devon.
Here I am in white-van-man mode concentrating on the road ahead. There is nothing as scary to most car drivers as a white van with scratches down one side approaching at speed so the driving experience for us over the last few days was not a bad one, despite the miles covered. It gave us the opportunity to drop in on a few friends and also to cadge some Scottish charts, part of our round Britain preparations. All we have to do now is sail there to use them, of course.

For that we would like some wind, preferably not blowing directly from the direction we intend to to travel and looking ahead, Thursday looks like being suitable for setting off from here.
In anticipation of a decent and kindly wind we have moved Cirrus into Sharfleet Creek, one of a series of quiet backwaters fringeing lower reaches of the River Medway. At the time of our arrival, just as the tide was starting to ebb, the water so smooth that the few white clouds were reflected as if in a slightly distorted mirror. The day was warm, our best yet, and as the temperature nudged 25 degrees C inside our cabin, lethargy overcame us.
Only partly was this tiredness due to the heat, however. Yesterday, a similarly hot day, we chose to give our folding bikes an airing by cycling along the coast to Faversham, a straight line distance of some 15 miles. The journey was along part of the ‘M1’ of cycle paths – National Cycle Route 1 – a single path connecting Dover to Inverness for those who have the stamina. For those not familiar with the concept of an NCR let me say right away that there is absolutely no resemblance to a motorway. I suppose the route might have been as straight as an arrow had we built cycle paths in this country before we needed roads for cars but with the cyclist being considered only as a Johnny-come-lately the routes have to slip between houses, to deviate along narrow shared footpaths, to pick disused railway lines and use quiet meandering lanes where motor traffic is almost non-existent. A beetle trundling across the road in front of my wheels could be confident of making it to the other side here, especially after I’d swerved to avoid him.

The one thing these routes don’t do is take you along busy roads, a serious challenge around the more industrial parts of Sittingbourne and shortage of the tiny red signposts here made this bit rather difficult to follow. But we soon got ourselves back on track and a haze of bluebells in a roadside wood signified that here at least Spring was in full flood. There was apple blossom everywhere and I even spotted a brown lizard sunning himself before he saw me and darted away.

Sadly our legs were not entirely up to the challenge and today we are suffering the consequences so this quiet anchorage suits our mood entirely.

In the last hour the wind has filled in and changed, at last a fair wind for us to sail north tomorrow. Our plan is, over the next 2 days, to sail to Suffolk, maybe as far as the River Deben, a favourite haunt of ours from many years ago when our family home was in a village less than half a mile away. We have enough food on board to last us for some days, maybe a week or more if we are prepared to eat the ‘boring stuff’ we always resort to when the fresh veg runs out. This means we can use quiet sheltered anchorages, far from civilisation, if we can find them, with only the wildlife for company.

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