Having completed my Orford Ness adventure it was time to head further north for my final evening in East Anglia, leaving Suffolk behind and heading for the coast (of course) of North Norfolk. Only 80 miles or so. Plenty of time to explore my new environs I thought.
I’d counted without two important factors. As my friend Julie, a former Norfolk resident, told me, you should always double your normal estimated journey time for trips in Norfolk. Even the A roads tend to be single carriageway, so a heavy goods vehicle or a caravan (of which there are many at this time of year) can delay your trip, and so it proved on the A12. The first time everything ground to a halt it didn’t trouble me too much, but when it became habitual I turned to my radio to learn that my route coincided with thousands of music fans making their way to the Latitude Festival.
It was early evening by the time I checked into my accommodation leaving little time for making the most of the many beauty spots on this coastline so I wasted no time in heading out (though an empty stomach was also a factor to consider).
Knowing Blakeney Point to be a major nature reserve, and with Blakeney being a relatively easy point for me to join the coast road, I knew where I’d start, though to be honest I didn’t know what I was seeking. As I neared the village there was a dominant feature; and as it turned out deliberately so. The church of St Nicholas is perched atop one of the highpoint in this generally flat landscape and makes quite an impression with its imposing flint tower. A smaller tower at the east end didn’t strike me as significant so it remained unshot. The following day, from a vantage point off shore the value of the church, and many others visible along the coast, became clear. For the many fishermen of this region they were landmarks, and what’s more the secondary tower housed a lantern making it lighthouse as well as church.
To my untrained eye, the interior held little of significance beyond this 15th Century font. What a shame that I didn’t know to look for the examples of medieval graffiti that can also be found there.
I hurried on down to the quayside in the hope of greater interest.
It’s a strange place, where a loop of the River Glaven takes leave of its natural urges to break free from the estuary, head back inland to where a few boats are moored in the village, before returning to the North Sea. Consequently a tidal stretch of river runs alongside the quay where boats are moored in anticipation of the next cycle. As I arrived there was a rapid current already signalling the returning waters, so that I shot the same scene a number of times in case the changing light and changing conditions produced better results. As I write this I’ve just watched a TV programme that revealed 12 or so copies of the same scene by the artist Alfred Munnings, so I feel no shame in offering you repeated fare.