Monday, 5 July 2010

Sore feets and tasty treats

Sunday morning arrived and I arose to tend to the needs of Little Miss Molly, as I sorted missy out the kettle went on for the morning cuppa. Once all had been tended to I set about sorting out for the day ahead. 3 minutes later on went the telly for some mindless trite. Three members of the adventuring party arrived and we head over the road to await our omnibus, I went home again as I’d forgotten my bottle of squash. Back over the road for the bus which arrived promptly, that’s a novelty! I think the best way of getting to the top of a steep hill is on a bus, it’s so easy and not at all tiring. On arrival at the valiant Sailor, which was closed, we waited for Smiffy; He was nearer to the Battle SDC10749of  Britain Memorial than us so we set off to meet up with him since the memorial was our first port of call. I’ve wanted to visit the memorial for many years, but I’ve only ever gone screaming past it in a car or on a bus. I must say that it’s a fitting tribute to the brave men who defended our skies. It’s also very serene, a quiet seems to surround the whole site. We left the memorial and head toward Dover, however we were a bit peckish, that bus ride must have taken it out of us. Fortunately the cliff top cafe was open so we purchased tea and sarnies, yummo! After taking in the view it was time to head off properly and start our trek to Dover.

It didn’t take too long to find the path along the cliff top and some spectacular views across the channel and over to Dungeness. We passed through huge bushes that arched over the path making natural tunnels and in some places the cliff edge couldn’t have been more than two feet from us. The first historical building we came to was the sound mirror, a forerunner of radar. There are much larger examples of sound mirrors located at Dengemarsh but this one is a fine example, although I’m not sure that it’s as old as the Dengemarsh mirrors, I’m fairly certain it’s only been there for about ten or fifteen years. As we left the mirror we were on a tarmac pathway, this turned out to be a cycle route, we did notice some information points on the ground, one was in the style of a large open book and the other looked like a drain cover, apparently there are more of these things, but if most of them look like drain covers I think they don’t get noticed much. Continuing our trek eastward we headed down a path that was very close to the cliff edge and the girly types were thankful for the railing that had been installed.

SDC10764We then arrived at a disused rifle range, apparently metal detectors will find used shells and bullets even after all these years, and a point on the walk known as Lydden Spout, this was a military installation that had three large guns and served as part of the coastal defences during WWII. We found a hole that may be just wide enough for me to squeeze into but decided against any exploration and pulled the girly type out of said hole and continued walking. The girly type then wanted to have a look around the building that are still standing. However, given the fact that the building are now used to keep cows in  and didn’t smell too nice we chose not to explore them and returned to the path. Just before reaching the buildings Dave had a call from Batty asking where we were, he was told how to find us and then headed off in the opposite direction. Whilst we waited for him to back track we found another hole. This one had slightly better access, and remembering the stand on this sort of thing I had when I was younger, we had to go in! We had to trip down the hole, the second when Batty finally caught up with us so that he could have a look see. After the hole we headed on to Dover with short stops to investigate various look out posts and gun emplacements. Like me, Dave seemed quite shocked that places that were vital to the nation’s defence are simply being forgotten, vandalised and left to rot. I don’t want to sound disrespectful, but I feel there’s more to remembering the people who served king and country than wheeling out a few veterans every November. Whilst many of the buildings are beyond saving there a quite a few that could easily be restored to their former glory with just a little effort and help from the national trust. Like the veterans, when these places have gone there’ll be nothing to show how hard these people worked. But maybe that’s what the people who have a say in these things want. If the buildings are gone then we can forget it all ever happened.

We ran out of building to explore and were soon on the final leg of the cliff top path, Shakespeare’s Cliff, so called because there’s mention of a high cliff in Dover in the play King Lear. As we climbed the path to the top I started to flag a bit and was thankful for a rest stop at the bottom. We headed over to the south military road to walk up to Saint Martin’s Battery which overlooks the western docks, after a few photo ops and a bit of a wander we walk down the site of the Grand Shaft Barracks and up to the Drop Redoubt Fort. We walk around the base of the fort, sadly access is impossible as the place is sealed and padlocked, and the only time that access is by special permission of the English Heritage or when the preservation society has one of the two annual open days. Finally we walk down from the fort and in to Dover town where we decided to hit the eight bells on Biggin Street for SDC10780 a well earned pint and a bit of scram. Steak and chips never tasted so good.

We ended the day on a bus back to Folkestone, my feet are very sore, they almost feel bruised, but not being one to sit around, I’m about to help out with some house work and then head into town to do some stuff and then into Hythe to see Sue to go through some last minute planning for Sunday.

There’s plans afoot to head back to the hole in August and possibly exploring the detached bastion, oh happy day. I think I shall be taking a camcorder for the second visit.

So there it is, I walked almost 7 miles with some very good mates, I had some lovely grub and I have very sore feet and aching legs, but it was worth it. Photos of the day can be found on Mankey Badgers and my facebook pages.

See y’all.


Manky Badger said...

A brill day out. And a return visit is planned for Sunday 15 August...