Canterbury Goes Coastal!
Inspired by the recent good weather and looking to put our Rohan kit to the test, we (Chani and Will) decided to leave the busy streets of Canterbury behind in favour of a day stroll (understatement) around the Kent coast from Ramsgate to Herne Bay. Keeping the sea in sight we followed a large section of the Viking Coastal Trail.
We arrived in Ramsgate at 9am, enthusiastic and ready to go, to possibly the most torrential rain that Thanet has to offer. Despite this, we stepped out from the cover of Ramsgate train station and made our way down to the coast (Chani getting us slightly lost on the way with her ‘local knowledge’ of the area…). We made good time through Ramsgate, Dumpton Gap and Broadstairs, noticing various interesting things along the way such as Kingsgate Castle, the North Foreland Lighthouse and the former smuggling haunts like Joss, Kingsgate and Botony Bays, (it should be noted that by now Will was regretting not smuggling a Rohan waterproof out of the store the day before, his non Rohan ‘waterproof’ provided less rain protection than a sieve).
We made it to Palm Bay by about 11am and it finally stopped raining so we could dry out a bit, this proved easy and quick in our Rohan gear which performed fantastically, of course. This is where I (Chani) grew up so I know and love the area. There is a new wind farm just off the coast of Thanet, usually highly visible from this point in Palm Bay. On creation in 2010 it was the largest operational offshore wind farm anywhere in the world supplying more than 200,000 homes with clean energy. Though we could not clearly see it through the cloud it ordinarily stands, modern and striking, a great signifier of life in the 21st Century.
We arrived in Margate just before 12 to the iconic sights of the new Turner Art Centre and the old sea front. We stopped by Dreamland to read about the new plans for the site, current work is underway to restore Dreamland to the world’s first amusement park to feature thrilling, historical rides. This is a really exciting prospect for Margate, especially for the people who have grown up, lived and holidayed there, and knew it in its heyday.
After a quick lunch stop we pressed on, now starting to feel the pace in our legs, knees and ankles. With this in mind we made our way down to the beach front to walk along the sand and rock pools to get away from the concrete from Margate past Westbrook and St Mildred’s Bays before rejoining the promenade at Minnis Bay where we briefly stopped for a boot readjustment! The stretch from Minnis Bay to Reculver was by far the most challenging, though one straight pathway and virtually flat, it was mentally draining to see Reculver Church in the distance and feel like, after an hour, we were no closer to it. The nice scenery kept us smiling though, this area feels untouched in places, there were wild apples growing, and you could see how the different plants and animals had adapted to their lives on the beach. The sea was almost impossibly calm and still and there was next to no noise.
When we finally hit Reculver, we realised how much we were aching and the following few minor hills were enough to discomfort our legs which had become accustomed to the flat land. On the plus side, we were nearly completely dry, and on the final stretch! So we plodded on, a lot slower now so this last section took us a lot longer than we expected. The walk became gradually more built up with housing, and it took us through a little woodland as we approached Herne Bay which was refreshingly different from the rest of the walk. We finally saw signs for Herne Bay at about 5pm, teasing us by making us think it was just around the next corner, and stumbled into the town around 5 30pm, looking like we’d just walked from Scotland rather than Ramsgate.
The walk was a lovely one, taking us about 8 hours, it was worth it to see parts of the Kent coast that are often missed when travelling by car. Its places like this that justify Kent’s reputation as the garden of England.
If you are interested in doing something similar, on foot or by bike, the Viking Coastal Trail website http://www.visitthanet.co.uk/viking/ is a good place to start! Afterwards, come in and tell us how you got on, and what your best bit of Rohan kit was! Chani and Will Rohan Canterbury
Will’s Rohan kit list: Merino 200 Zip, Long Sleeve; On Track Cargos; High Ground Hoody; Lukla Boots; Buff; ‘The Sieve’ Waterproof.
Chani’s Rohan Kit list: Roamers; Basis T, Short Sleeve; Hot and Temperate Climate Socks; Microgrid Zip; Buff; Walking boots; Waterproof jacket and trousers.
Read about the Ramblers recent poll to establish the top 5 English Coastal Walks and their concern regarding the English Coastal Path
Whats your all time favourite coastal walk?