Stopped in Holt on the way to Cley, to look in Morston Country Sports for new waterproof mittens, but they didn't have any in my size. Whilst trying on a posh (expensive) pair of wellies, something really funny happened..... my waterproof trousers split from top to half way down my left leg in one quick and massive rip!!! I laughed, but it wasn't funny really, as this was going to cost me! Tried on a pair of waterproof trousers in shop, but didn't love them AND they were £50! I had bought my now split trousers from Mountain Warehouse, quite a while ago now, so decided to go to their shop just around the corner, to see if they had any similar waterproof trousers – they did indeed and I got seriously lucky when the lady working in there, phoned her Manager who said 'just do a straight swop for a new pair'! So I got a brand new pair for nothing, jammy!!! Pleased as punch, I duly left!
My pre-birthday celebrations started with a cheese scone at the Cley Visitor Centre! Naughty me – it tasted so good! The views over the marshes looked stunning in the glorious sunshine.
The sun shone all day long and it was a beautiful day. I felt like a long walk and Blakeney Point seemed like a nice, but crazy idea. Blakeney Point was featured on 'Winterwatch' this week and Michaela Strachan suggested that people walk to Blakeney Point to see the seals. I like Michaela alot, as a person and presenter, but I really, really wish she hadn't mentioned this! I have never seen so many people walking down
BP!!! Loads of people in front of me and loads behind, a continuous stream of families, dogs, couples and children – several people were underdressed and had no drink or food either. 'Winterwatch'
didn't mention the fact that its a 10 mile walk on shingle, maybe they should have
done! There will be alot of people snoozing in tomorrow morning with tired joints and achey hips! That includes me!!!
I saw quite a few birds really, considering the time of year. Several pairs of Reed Buntings in the sueda bushes, three Blackbirds and a Hedgesparrow. Bird of the day was a spectacular Ring tail Hen Harrier, which appeared distantly over the Blakeney channel, flew over the sueda, across me and then east along the beach at Halfway House at 12.30pm. My camera was still in the rucksack at this point, so no pictures obtained. I sat on the front door steps at Halfway House in the warm sunshine and a had a coffee and lunch. It was beautiful sitting here and so peaceful. All the seal watchers had walked along the beach, so I had escaped them all, until later that is.
'Long Hills' didn't produce any snow buntings or shorelarks sadly, but I did have a big flock of Goldfinches. I continued on to 'The Plantation' which looked very barren with all trees leafless and the single pine tree was the only coverage for any birds. But, as to be expected, there were no birds in here at all. I sat high up on the dune enjoying the spectacular views in the winter sunshine, whilst having another coffee.
I crossed over the dunes and onto the beach and very sadly found three dead Seal Pups, each one a different age. There was another young seal in a small pool that didn't particularly well at all – slow moving and its eyes looked glazed over, I hope it survives. There was a pup in the sand dunes which looked really healthy and was a real poser – I got some pretty good pictures, considering the failing light. Further east along the beach, there was another very young pup with parents. I spent a while photographing these from a distance – didn't need to be close with a 300mm lens. A couple with a dog came much too close and both of the pup's parents looked alarmed and I suggested that the dog should not come any closer, which they did then respect. But this was late in the day, goodness knows what happened earlier. I actually wish they had been loads of seals here. The fact that there were only a few, would have been much tougher for them to put up with all those people today and some of those people would have got too close to get their pictures. As I left and started to trudge back along the beach, I turned and looked back. A youngish man on his own moved in closer to the seal family far too close to get his picture on phone, which distressed the parent's who then attempted to go after him, but he stayed close to get his pictures before leaving them. I don't know if anyone from the National Trust was there today to keep an eye on people's behaviour, but if they weren't, maybe they should have been, considering the massive advertising on BBC1!
I was told by a friend that phoned me up, the Cley beach carpark was packed out and emergency
access for National Trust vehicles had been blocked with cars! Chaos! Anyone would have thought there was a major twitch on! The NWT would have made a bomb today, had they had someone on the hut taking carparking fees. I'm sure it will be the same tomorrow.
The walk back was cold and relentless and it seemed to take, forever (as always) to get back to Coastguards. I arrived back in the car park at 5.45pm. Drove home and duly collapsed on the sofa to watch 'The Voice'.
PHOTOGRAPHS AND VIDEO TO BE ADDED