The weather forecast gave a midday temperature of 11° C, cloudy, wind NW 4 mph gusting to 6. Lo! What a miserable day considering this is now the middle of May. Yet it was the day I’d been waiting for . . . perfect for walking the marshes.
This is a walk I’ve not done since the CFS took a severe downturn in 2005. But the chronic fatigue is now a thing of the past: 15 months since the last (minor) episode. So no more putting it off. But it’s not the distance that’s the problem; 12 miles, maybe 13, I’m doing that often now. It’s the environment.
These marshes began life as the (Bronze Age) Great Estuary into which flowed the three rivers, Bure, Yare and Waveney. Flat, some would say ‘featureless’ but that depends. True, there are not many trees but there are a great many drainage channels—some, like the Fleet, dating from its days as a tidal salt-marsh. And there are always the herds to see: cattle, horses, swans. But facing the North Sea, with only the mud-bank that’s become Great Yarmouth to protect it, the wind can sweep these marshes like an icy scythe. So “wind NW 4 mph gusting to 6” is a veritable call to walk.
As with the wind, there’s no protection from the sun. The land bakes concrete-hard beneath it. Unprotected the skin sizzles; yet clothed it becomes a challenge for any brand of antiperspirant. And there is no relief. What trees do exist are stunted thorns. So the only time I’ll venture here is on a cloudy, chilly, almost windless day . . . no matter it is now middle of May.
I regret I didn’t take more photos. I did have the camera (read ‘phone’) in my hand much of the way. But much of the way I was trying to find a footing amongst the rock-hard ridges and furrows made by the tractors back in winter when the land was wet and malleable.
I tried several times to capture the little egrets that are breeding here now. But seems they’re camera shy. I toyed with the idea of snapping the swans as they sat on their nests, hatching their eggs. But I’d rather walk through a field with a bull than tempt the ire of a brooding swan.
And so . . . .
Finally, as I was coming into Acle, I took this tree-shot. Trees don’t move. They don’t fly away. They don’t get uppity if you take too long composing a shot. (Oh, and by now it was getting ready to rain.)
And a note on pronunciation: In Norfolk Acle is ‘A-cle’ as in hay and cycle, not ‘Ak-lee’ as in acne and leeway as the Midlanders say it.