A trip with Ollie

As the weather was set fair today, I decided to take Ollie somewhere different. Although he is more than happy to spend his daily recreation time at Beetley Meadows and Hoe Rough, the monotony of the familiar walks sometimes wears me down. When the weather is unkind, as in most of the time, it hardly seems worth the effort to go further afield. But today was warm and sunny, as predicted, so time to take advantage of this meteorological bounty.

Blakeney is an attractive coastal village, just 23 miles from our home in Beetley. It has a free car park, a small harbour, and access to the coastal path walk, in either direction. The village has some attractive buildings, various shops, hotels, and restaurants, and a famously large church. Just the spot for a nice trip with my faithful companion. I could probably have got there in under 30 minutes, but I was in no hurry, so took the inland route off the busy A148. It still took just 40 minutes from home, and I was parked behind the village hall by 12.10. Crossing the main road, we walked down the small high street to the quay. It was busy with visitors, mostly late middle-aged or elderly people, as the schools are not yet on holiday. The view is unbroken across marshland and mudflats to the sea beyond, and the sky was blue, the air clear and fresh.

Three miles distant, Cley Windmill can be seen, and behind us, the large tower of the church, the only two buildings of any size visible on the horizon. The coastal path has recently been refurbished after winter storms, and stands on a raised embankment above the numerous inlets of the River Glaven. If you choose, you can walk alongside on a lower path, but then you would be cheating yourselves of the panoramic views. The fresh water levels were man-made, in the 17th century, to keep the sea from flooding nearby farmland. This is still grazed by cattle, and large reed beds can be seen too. They are harvested annually, and the crop is used by local craft tradesmen, for traditional products. Many small boats are moored from the quay along this area, and they are currently stranded on the mud, awaiting tidal changes later today.

Once free of his lead, Ollie scampered off happily, enjoying the new and different smells, and greeting the dogs accompanying some of the other path walkers. The sun was high now, and it felt pleasantly warm, so he was soon panting. After a mile or so, I stopped to give him some water. I have to take quite a few things along when Ollie is out for the day, not unlike allowing for an infant. I carry a bag with his water bowl, two bottles of water, filled at home, poo bags of course, and some treats to stave off his hunger until dinnertime. I include a roll of paper towels, for any excessive slobbering, and a carrier bag, to use for rubbish. Once refreshed, he was off again, checking out a passing Border Collie, as I chatted to the owners. As there are very few Shar-Pei dogs around, Ollie always generates a lot of interest, and questions about his breed.

The path bends around, avoiding the larger stretches of water, and as we got to the part closest to the sea, a refreshing breeze hit us, taking the edge off of the early afternoon heat. It wasn’t that hot, to be honest, it is just that we haven’t been used to such nice weather for so long now, it felt warmer than it was. After just over an hour, we arrived at Cley Windmill. Now a flourishing hotel establishment, this distinguished building is one of the best-known landmarks in Norfolk. I decided not to subject Ollie to the busy traffic-clogged streets of Cley village, as he is nervous around a lot of vehicles. So, we turned and retraced our steps along the coastal path, following a second water break. There were few other walkers on the return trip, so we took our time, and I admired the scene as we walked. This area is famous as a bird sanctuary, and most other people we came across were avidly scanning with binoculars, hoping to catch a glimpse of a rare bird, or just enjoying the views.

Back in Blakeney after a six-mile round trip, Ollie was looking hot and bothered, and I was in need of refreshment too. We stopped at a tea bar on the quayside, with tables in the open air. I bought a large mug of tea, and some oatmeal biscuits. Ollie had more water from his bowl, and his snacks. He later shared some of my biscuits of course. I could hardly enjoy them without offering him a morsel. Wandering back through the village to the car park, we were stopped a few times by people wanting to stroke Ollie, and admire his rich colouring, and velvet-like fur. Once in the car again, I decided to head off to nearby Langham, to see The Langham Dome. This is a WW2 oddity, located on a former airfield, and has recently been restored, and opened to the public on certain days. The dome was used to train anti-aircraft gunners during the war. In the days before simulators, and electronic aids, images of German aircraft would be projected inside the dome, and gunners taught how to track them, and when to fire their guns. It was easy to find, and much smaller than I had imagined. Unfortunately, I couldn’t go inside, as that would have meant leaving Ollie alone in a locked car, and I would never do that. I took a leaflet though, and will visit again, another time.

On the journey home, I looked at the villages of Great Ryburgh, with its round church tower, and Colkirk, places I had never been to before, and stopped at a roadside stall to buy sweet-smelling fresh strawberries, and nice dark asparagus. By the time we got back, it was almost 16.30, and we had been out for five hours, in the fresh air and sunshine.
From where I sit, that was a pretty good trip indeed.

As I still haven’t sorted out my camera, please click the links for photos and more information. Scroll down the Blakeney site for some nice photos of the village.



30 thoughts on “A trip with Ollie

  1. Pete, I need to haul my derriΓ¨re up to Mt. Charleston and hike one of my favorite trails–the Bristlecone Trail. (Photos: http://www.lasvegas360.com/942/bristlecone-trail-hike/) As the brief trail description states, “This hike starts out at 8,600 feet [2621 m] and reaches an altitude of 9,381 feet [2859 m].” I mention this loop trail because it is also a six-mile walk (including one mile of paved mountain road that connects the two trailheads). I’ve seen mule deer and wild horses on this trail, and always keep an eye out for mountain lions.

    As you know, I enjoy birding in the wetlands, and would dearly love to take the walk you describe in your beautifully written post. Before I reached the links at the end of your article, I was already Googling the places you mentioned. Blakeney is quite charming, and the Cley Windmill begs to be visited. I was particularly intrigued by some images I found of Colkirk.

    It’s clear that you and Ollie thoroughly enjoyed this outing. I hope the weather cooperates again soon so that you can explore Norfolk even more.


    1. Thanks David. I expect your Bristlecone trail is far more demanding than the easy coast path.
      Colkirk is a small village, just a pub, and some mixed housing, but it has some history to it. Blakeney has been given over somewhat to tourism, as it is a popular departure point for seal-watching tours by boat. However, the coast path is very long, and bigger walks are possible in both directions. I might do a really long one sometime, but doubt I will see a mountain lion!
      Best wishes as always, Pete.


  2. Pete, what a delightful telling of you & Ollie’s outing. I’m certain you both had a wonderful time, and was rejuvenated from your rain there… take care from Laura


      1. Pete, if I’d walked as much as you did today I’d be sleeping right along with Ollie, and probably panting too from the warm day you had…


          1. aw love those straight paths .. inclines and my knees are not talking anymore.. perhaps never were.. Now give me downhill and watch me go .. wink..



    1. Thanks Sue. If you are ever up this way, it is an easy and manageable walk, on a good path. Lots of photo opportunities too, wrecked boats, coastal flowers, and the marshes. It is a most photogenic place, especially on a nice day like today.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah, yes I have done that walk from Cley, but we took the bus back to the car! Have you ever walked to the Point Pete? I suspect you couldn’t take Ollie because of the seals. Strawberries AND asparagus! What a feast πŸ˜€


    1. I haven’t done the point yet, mainly because of always having Ollie along.
      I had the asparagus on a plain pizza, and the strawberries will be enjoyed later, no doubt! x


  4. A top day out! I had to wonder about your comment on leaving Ollie in the car but then remembered that an open window is an invitation to a thief. I have grown that used to leaving doors unlocked and windows open, I’m sure I’m tempting fate, but then Jackie is very possessive of the van πŸ™‚
    Glad you are getting some good weather, more to come I promise. All the very best from the Winkos.


    1. I’m not worried about the car Eddy. I would be concerned that someone might take Ollie though, as random dog-stealing is rife in East Anglia, and he’s soft enough to go off with anyone.
      Forecast for tomorrow? Heavy rain. Just as well I went out today…Cheers mate.


  5. Lovely to read about other parts of rural England I’m not familiar with Pete. Always sounds idyllic in your posts. Sounds like Ollie enjoyed a different walk. Thank you also for the second ambiance post link you sent, much appreciated as always. Very best wishes Jane x


    1. I’m lucky Jane, as I can got to places when they are not so busy as they are at weekends, and during the school holidays. So, no traffic, and a nice peaceful walk!
      Best wishes as always, Pete. x

      Liked by 1 person

  6. What a nice post, we really enjoyed the walk with the two of you through the splendid Blakeney marshes, Pete and Ollie! πŸ™‚ No sight of rain! This is one of our favorite walks (after Weybourne-Sheringham on the cliffs, walking back on the beach). The weather was lovely, wasn’t it? I felt boiling hot at times. πŸ˜‰
    We had a car load with garden waste to bring away and on the way home we went for a walk in Sheringham Park (which is much further down on our list, a park is a park … πŸ˜‰
    Big hug to you and Ollie from the four of us in Cley,
    Dina x


    1. But it is a rather nice park DIna, with great views from the top of the tower and I imagine at this time of year the azaleas and rhododendrons are beautiful. You live in a very nice area πŸ™‚


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