Maylandsea to Bradwell On Sea 19.02.13
It is a beautiful day when the bus deposits me outside the Maylandsea post office. I walk down to the sea wall and head off up the thumb of land that divides Lawling Creek on the left and Mayland Creek on the right, my toe still hurting a little but bearable. I have devised a few different solutions to ease the discomfort, the latest one being a walking pole so I can take most of my weight on my left foot. As I approach Mayland I study the map to see where I can pick up St Peter’s Way and after 20 minutes trudging through gluey mud trying to avoid a large water works (to the amusement of a few workers and a couple of sleepy horses) I come across a post with a red circle and with a sigh of relief I head off down the track. Ten minutes later I realize I am on the right track but going the wrong way! With a sigh I turn round walk back up the track and peering around some trees discover the right way. I am only on this path now for a short while until it branches off east crossing the peninsular to end at St Peter’s Chapel On-The-Wall, founded in 654 by St Cedd, an Anglo Saxon monk from Lindisfarne. I will be visiting this chapel later as I make my way from Bradwell round to Burnham On Crouch .
I walk as briskly as I can now, aware of the time I have lost and of how far I have to walk today. The path is strewn with open clam shells and I start thinking about how the birds manage to open the shells with just their beaks as tools – again I need to know more about birds.
Strange channels of water snake their way through the glistening mud. What controls their twists and turns?
At the mouth of the creek I stop at a caravan site to borrow a toilet. The owners are painting and cleaning, getting ready for the Spring season, the fruit machines stand in silent disorder, the dusty red drapes of the stage hang heavily, the tables and chairs empty and waiting.
The sun is now hot and the sky blue. As I turn a corner, a flock of startled geese rise from the field to my right to fly squawking and honking above my head to settle down on at the waterline. I take my eye off the uneven path and nearly twist my ankle in a concealed hole. Rattled I walk on, eyes down.
A little later St Lawrence comes into view and I’m already looking forward to lunch in the pub – not to be, the pub is closed for the winter. Fortunately the friendly owner makes me a large mug of tea and I sit out in the sunshine eating a sandwich bought from the local shop. Packing up I turn to the seawall and discover my way blocked – part of it has been incorporated into the gardens of the houses facing the sea and the only way to continue is to go down onto the beach. I pass a particularly ugly construction and wonder whether this is legal.
I am soon alone again, the air hangs still and syrupy in the sunshine, I pass a beautiful pond, its little island reflected perfectly in the clear blue water.
An hour or so later the familiar hulk of Bradwell power station is now very close. I pass through the marina with the millionaire sailing ships and then cut across fields to the village.
The pub in Bradwell is closed and now that I have stopped walking it is very cold. My feet are sore, so I hobble up to the local shop for a cup of tea and linger, the lady in the shop tells me there are a lot of very rich people in the village – crooks she says with a faint smile. Outside the church I sit and wait for a bus back to Maldon, the afternoon sun slanting through the headstones in the graveyard and fading quickly.