News, Sandlings 2021

Walking with John Macrea, Pre Sandlings

We’ve started walking on Sundays. Aged 88, John is an impressively strong and well paced walker. It is a pleasure for both of us, to have company, explore and exercise, these lock down days. I’ll keep adding our walks as we find them to this blog.

Meanwhile here are our few first exploratory walks

Five Fingers to Dunwich and back

10K On a day unexpectedly hinting at spring – after the cold of the last week (Valentines day, walk postponed, instead lunch of muscles in the cabin, and reading of poetry), it was a pleasure to wear less clothes and walk out. I chose this walk by the sea, thinking sand and less mud – I was mistaken. Setting off from 5 fingers, we walked parallel to the Sandlings walk on board walk, over marshy boggy woodland, reminding us both of Lord of the Rings. That part was easy, it was when we came out to the reed, where exposed the slippery mud began – it was heavy and slow going. Met Katherine on the way, who’d just seen a Bittern – we’d watched 2 circling sparrow hawks. Turned right just before the windmill, on higher and easier ground, we went to say hello to the sea, dogs full of energetic endorphins with their achievements retrieving sticks from a wavy sea, before retracing steps, to find the track to Dunwich forest. We turned into the forest to picnic just before St Helena’s – delicious Gill packed sandwiches, tangerines and cashews. An easy walk back, passed the house I almost bought, the garden done by Peter and Sue, young couples on bicycles, families walking, back to 5 fingers. Eyes opened to lichen, as reading Merlin Sheldrakes Entangled Life.

Holton in snow

8K After the Beast from the East arrived, here we are in over a foot of snow in places, carving our own footprints (good for leg muscles) we walked from Halesworth, over the railway line, up Loam Pit lane, down my favourite snicket (as we say in Norfolk) edged with old hornbeam coppice, across some fields, through a council estate, beside Holton round tower church, to my wood in Holton, finally to deliver a package to East Lodge. Back along the roads, via a conversation with Ros (socially distanced). We talked of frost bitten fingers, wondered about the freezing temperature of blood. I heard the story of how John bought his first flat in London with the money from selling a Ford Cortina (?), and their first dog, what was he called? Amazing how short the memory becomes. We had the land to ourselves, the road empty but for the occassional Land Rover, all inhabitants of homes inside, snow high on their stationary cars.

Wissett circuit

Our third walk, John took me on, we were on his patch, the Wissett circuit, starting from straight outside Rectory Road, through the bull field, over the footpaths to Wissett, down by the church, beside the graveyard where a friend, Miles (Armoral’s husband) was freshly buried, back along the road, into Halesworth. Not long but a good stretch all the same, and across fields and old hornbeam coppices which always raise my spirit.

Balancing Barn

Our second walk was our longest yet, over 12k, from Holton over the Blyth up and down into Wenhaston. A glorious sharp frost day, ground firm to walk on. Over Wenhaston Health to the balancing barn and all the way back. I said, if we cannot make it, Michael will come and get us, but we did it. 4 hours. Under the fan like branches of a cedar of Lebanon we ate a delicious picnic in the church yard of Mells packed by Gill, salmon sandwiches, apple juice and a healthy bar.

Holton Windmills

Our first walk was a modest walk to the windmills, Bernhard Matthews 8 great turbines, and back.

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