Sunday, 31 August 2003


Hythe, Kent → Folkestone

[Tear in the Sky]

Distance: 5.9 miles
Ascent: 73 metres
Duration: 1 hour 50 minutes

Aerial accompaniment
« Lydd | Dover »

I'd intended to spend most of this week walking. Once finished with Greenbelt I should have had four or five clear days. Continuing from Amroth seemed to make sense, since in Cheltenham I was already half-way there; trying to close the West Bay to Sandbanks gap another option. Instead though, I headed to Bolney. Spend some time with Mum, and make good progress on Kent - perhaps getting as far as Margate - was the most attractive plan.

The plan was good as far as it went, but I'd not allowed for my state of mind. I didn't want to do anything but lounge about the house and so it wasn't until today - feeling guilty that I'd not walked at all - that I managed to get out.

"It's on the way home" isn't quite a lie, but let's say that the detour coefficient for this walk was quite high. Parking in Hythe, I hoped to make it to Dover before getting a bus back to the car and making my way to Woodbridge.

I got as far as Folkestone.

I've never been so disappointed looking at the trip meter on the GPS as when I reached Folkestone. Six miles is a pathetic achievement, but the signs indicating Dover was another seven or eight away convinced me it was time to stop.

All the same, it had been a beautiful walk. An unexpected attraction was the Shepway Air Festival taking place in Folkestone and providing a suitably dramatic indicator of my destination. (Unfortunately the same event was responsible for scrambling the local bus timetable and consequently supplying me with a seventy minute wait.)

Just as dramatic scenes were to be found out to sea. Constantly scanning the horizon for signs of France (at one point I could make out five separate headlands), I became aware of remarkable cloud patterns. It's not quite visible in the photograph above, but a conspiracy between the sun and the clouds created the illusion of a tear in the sky: a dark band streaming diagonally down towards the sea.

Finally back at the car I headed on home. I was annoyed at not reaching Dover, especially since there doesn't look to be anywhere obvious (cheap) to park in Folkestone town centre for the day when I start the next leg. Still, it'll be a wonderful walk: out of the town quickly, then up above the cliffs before descending once more into the busy port.

Posted by pab at 22:04