Sunday, 28 June 2009

Shoreham by Sea (Circular) – (West Sussex) – 28/06/09 – 11 Miles – IVC.

You definitely have to check before using the tube at weekends, and in this case there was engineering works on the Piccadilly and District lines blocking my normal route into London. However having discovered on the night of the tube strike the rail station at the bottom of my road, that turned into a better option anyway, as it got me to Clapham Junction in 20 minutes, where I made the Shoreham by Sea connection. Yet that was nearly a potential crisis as the ticket machine at the station wasn’t taking credit cards. Fortunately it did take a £20 note, but then proceeded to give me 15 x £1 coins in change (thanks).

So anyway this may have been Shoreham by the Sea but forget any idea about it being a coastal walk, as apart from a glimpse out of the train window on arrival, that was as much as we really saw of the Sea. Well alright that is not strictly true, as we started off along the harbour, but the tide was most definitely out. However we found plenty to look at in regard to the weird and wonderful house boats moored there, some with really psychedelic exteriors. Of them all though, the most interesting one was a German World War 2 design E-boat. I say design however as a little confusion reigned here, with the info outside claiming it had been made sometime in the Fifties (did Germany have a Navy then) ? I would actually have liked to take some pictures, but given that this was someones home (in residence) I didn’t want to risk some Nazi rushing out at me with a Sten-gun or Luger. So moving past that we instead ‘admired’ a somewhat rusting piece of junk with a price tag of £165,000.

Having left the moorings, our next visual diversion was Shoreham Airport on our left, which apparently is the oldest licensed airport in the UK (whatever that means). Anyway I let the group push on whilst I waited to get the definitive picture of a helicopter about to take off. The pilot however must have known what I was up to, as he basically sat me out on this one, meaning a duff picture and a race to catch everyone up again before I lost them. By this point we had reached the end of the harbour, and came across two World War 2 pillar boxes (now unmanned), which obviously explains why the German E-boat thought better of coming too far along the harbour.

From there we picked up the Downs and I was amazed by how lush green they were, to the extent that the colours were almost as psychedelic as some of the boats we had seen earlier. Having come down from them we then picked up the river Adur (a come down in itself, not being so lush) and headed towards a pub called The Bridge, at Beeding Bridge, at Upper Beeding (got all that or would you like me to repeat). By this time it was gone 2.15pm so we had all worked up an appetite, and I was looking to offload some of those 15 x £1 coins that had been jangling in my pocket all morning. Now this was definitely one of the better pub lunches I have had with large portions, and reasonable prices. For my sins I had the unimaginative choice of sausages, egg and chips, washed down with a pint of cider and a chocolate fudge pudding. However one of our group who obviously felt he had really got his juices going decided to order the mixed grill. What turned up would in olden days have been known as a ‘Medievil Banquet’ and actually took up an entire table. All six of us who were in the pub were basically gobsmacked, and decided that we really should have just ordered that between us, and we would still have had more than enough. For his part though he completely bottled it, ate about one fifth’s worth, and then went and asked for a doggie bag (classy).

After lunch we retraced part of the way along the Rver Adur only this time on the other (East) side. From there we had a challenging climb of sorts onto the top of the South Downs, which really strung out the group on the way up. With our leader struggling more than most at the back, there was a few false claims about what was the summit, with it more a case of reaching basecamp, than the top. Once there however we became even more strung out, with a breakaway group (sans leader) pushing on ahead, and having to be periodically called back every time they made a wrong turn. In the distance we could see the runway lights of Shoreham Airport again, but having watched three planes come in, only one of them actually chose to use it. A slightly tense moment was to follow as we found ourselves having to walk through a herd of cows, especially given their recent penchant for killing dog-walkers, and flattening blind politicians. As we got closer however we were able to breathe a huge sigh of relief as it turned out to be no more than a herd of bullocks with three large bulls standing amongst them. So having survived that we crossed the enormous footbridge that spanned the three lane A27, headed into town and the train home. By this time the heat of the day, which had started hazy and reasonable, had become very sultry and muggy, and I felt close to conking out (which proves I must have got some exercise then).

Walks since last blog entry: (3 x seven and a half miler’s – Grand Union Canal / Osterley Park).


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. I think that the E-boat referred to East German Navy.