Heybridge Basin to Maylandsea 18.02.13

Heybridge Basin to Maylandsea 18.02.13

First walk of 2013 and I am excited and apprehensive, mostly as to whether my sore toe will hold up to the 12 miles I have planned. A few weeks after Xmas I was on a plane to Copenhagen to see an old friend in hospital. When I fly I like to take off my shoes and on this occasion, just as I stretched my leg (and foot) into the aisle, a rather heavy man came rushing down towards the toilets and inadvertently stamped on my foot, my little toe taking most of the weight. It may be broken, I have, as yet, not taken it to the doctor ……………………anyway.
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The morning looks grey but the weather girl promises sun later and after a last wiggle of foot into boot I set off over the lock bridge following the clear path up the side of the creek back to Maldon, which I can soon see through the morning mist. I meet no-one and feeling there is no need to check the map for this stretch of the walk, I pay for my complacency by spending 10 minutes wandering around a particularly unpleasant recycling plant which leads me out onto the road into Maldon. The road walking does not take too long however and soon I am following a pleasant residential road, down to the Marina and the magnificent Thames barges.
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Soon I find myself walking through Promenade Park presided over by the figure of valiant Byrhtnoth, an Anglo Saxon king who died fighting the Vikings in the battle of Maldon in 991.
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Gradually, a familiar landscape unfolds, the grassy sea wall, mud flats, and salt marshes, mossy teeth of crumbling wrecks – peace and quiet apart from the wind in my left ear and bird song.
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A few times my attention is caught by the narrow channels of water snaking through the glistening mud and I find myself wondering what determines their course and what are the many seabirds looking for as they peck away at the surface. Apart from geese and seagulls the only bird I recognise is the godwit, I need to study birds more.
And then I am in Maylandsea, a motley collection of working boats, a few dilapidated shops – probably one of the most forgotten corners of my walk so far. I sit waiting for a bus back to my B&B in Maldon, munching a humble ham and pickle sandwich which tastes like heaven on earth.
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