Second day in France, today all above sea level! (See profile from yesterday). Not as flat as the sand below the high tide mark was but a bit more interesting. As usual I enjoyed bugs and wildlife.
We get up and out of the Backpackers for the 9.25 ferry.Two of us are foot passengers cost £60 for them 4are in a car cost£100 for them. There are a couple of dozen foot passengers and at least a dozen staff involved in getting them on the ferry.
We meet for breakfast and the get off the ferry to meet down the road on the French Via Francegiena.Then it’s off along the beach 18km past the little village of Sangat of which you may have heard. The refugees/would be immigrants depending on your politics have been moved on by the gendarmes and the beach is quiet apart from a few people walking dogs and a large pack of French students with hammers. Tackling the geological interest of the hall cliffs of Cap dear grand nez blanc with its flint nodules. Happily low tide is 16.17hrs so we have a huge expanse of sand to walk along instead of having to scale the crumbling cliffs to escape the tide.
It seems a long way as any landmark is seen at least an hour before reaching it.
Lunch is taken on the beach when Tony anounces we are now directly over that other means of crossing the channel The Tunnel.
Last night we visited the White Horse pub in Dover a pub used by many cross channel swimmers and with the walls of the bar covered in their exploits and signatures.
We end up in La Source a pleasant enough long established camp site and a quick shop in the village allows washing and dinner and to be completed before the evening rain shower.
Many sea birds and pill boxes adorn the cliffs and a lone blue hard hat is found on the beach by Tim who adopted it until the end of the day.
Although we spent last night in a six bed dormitory in Dover Backpackers we are not yet officially in Dover having caught a train from Shepherd’s Well,today we catch a train back there to finish the English stage of our journey.
Dover Backpackers although basic is supposed to be the oldest current pub in Dover. We all sleep well with no complaints of snorring although Betsy has some bespoke ear plugs which seem to improve her nights. Tim wonders what the problem was.
The plan to get the train back to Shepherds Well was thwarted by the train not being available when we were. Nothing daunted we all set off on foot knowing train times back from yesterday. More importantly we also knew there was a pub the Bell Inn back in Shepherds Well to visit while waiting. Just as well it was raining when we got there. Jane a Kettish girl remarked that it does rain in Kent occasionally inspire of the obvious dryness of the fields and their problems with the rate of extraction of water from the aquifer.
On the route over the downs this time apart from plenty of Red Campion and some white we passed though Waldershare estate and stopped at the church to eat sandwiches. It has as pair of very ancient yews one of which may have been partly blown down in the hurricane of 87. Certainly a significant number of trees around were replanted then. Some magnificent old chestnut and a plane tree remain.
We get a train back to Dover and crash out in Backpackers.
Well up to speed and with ferry booked for 9.25 tomorrow.
Oh and the Backpackers has a nice cat.
Really not very up and down. We were well rested in the Cathedral Gate Hotel last night. Probably the last accommodation of some standard we shall use. A quirky place no en suite and the shower in a cupboard at least has minimal chance of falls. No room to fall. Thanks ancient Oak beams and sloping stairways more than compsate. We are starting gently with 2 days to Dover, as Jane is accompanying us on the first stages and is only a couple of months past her second hip replacement.
St Mary’s Patrixbourne
Aylsham Road Cemetery a pleasant place for lunch and with water, for flowers, and toilet facilities claiming daily inspection. Fortunately the residents don’t use them so they are clean if neglected.
11 miles across the North Downs sees us in Shepherds Well a little dormitory village. This is halfway to Dover and Jane has done well. The plan is two nights is Dover so we get on a train which arrives only 5mins after we get to the station. There is a pub opposite the Dover station the ladies need facilities and we fall gratefully though the door. Hopefully in a couple of weeks time we will regard 11miles as an easy day.
Canterbury. A quite nice town well looked after. A bit like Santiago de Compostela and for the same reasons it has not lacked for cash for repairs.
We visit the cathedral to get our credential and can get in free as pilgrims. But pay anyway. There are an aweful lot of repairs being done it seems fair.
In the grounds there is a plane tree with a viral infection. Plantanusxhispanica.
The cathedral is in full flood of renovation but even so the sense of age comes through especially in the crypt. There are quantities of excellent detailed stone work and some of theost beautiful stained glass windows I have seen. There are a number of friendly guide people who know a lot about the place including stories of the 5 murdered archbishops. Yes there were more just Thomas a Becket.
Golite 60l pack more filled than Betsy’s. Tent Tarptent Stratospire. From US. By a man called Henry Spires. Only 800grm I know tent that holds two in comfort. We did 2months in it. MSR Dragonfly petrol stove.
Write out 100 times “I must not add anything else”!
With a modicum of text
Link to where we are on Google Maps
Link to where we are on Google Maps