We left the Great Wall of Ramsgate and walked into the harbour area. The two harbour arms extended out into the sea. We wandered up the eastern one enjoying the good views across the harbour to the lighthouse at the end of the opposite arm.
Over the seaward wall the sun glinted off the waves as they rolled in towards the shore. A puff cloud hung over the nearby groynes.
Back on the promenade is the King George IV obelisk. King George IV of Great Britain was also King of Hanover. In September 1821 he visited Hanover, choosing Ramsgate as his port of departure and point of return. So taken was he by the hospitality given to him by the people of Ramsgate that he decreed that Ramsgate’s harbour should have the designation “Royal” added to its name. It is the only Royal Harbour in the United Kingdom. This is celebrated by the obelisk.
We would be far more easy to please than King George, I was sure, so we were looking forward to see what Ramsgate had to offer us in the way of lunch. Alas, what we were treated to was a 20-minute wait for a harbour-front fish and chip takeaway that sat heavily on our stomachs for the rest of the day.
We stacked our unfinished fish and chip boxes up, forming our own little obelisk of thanks, and headed off. Deciding some stiff exercise was required to walk off our lunch, we opted to climb some stairs to the clifftop path rather than follow the promenade. As we reached the top we realised that we could see France in the distance. It took some squinting to find it, but there it was. Spotting it with a zoom lens was slightly easier:
As we walked, we saw a rather curious statue – a pair of giant hands holding a giant molecule. This statue celebrates the design, development and manufacture of innovative medicines in East Kent (which must make them Medicines of Kent, I suppose, and not Kentish Medicines…).
The clifftop walk was pleasant enough, but it was not the same as the chalk cliffs of the previous weeks. Those cliffs, the longest stretch of unbroken chalk cliffs in the country, will be missed.
We dropped back down to the sea wall, but a short distance after the Pegwell Tunnel we had to climb back up to the cliff top (the fish and chip lunch still weighed heavily on our stomachs as we climbed). After a walk over the cliffs we dropped down into Pegwell Bay.
The cliffs lining the north side of Pegwell Bay, over which we had just walked, contain man-made tunnels. One of the more interesting ones is “Frank Illingworth’s Tunnel”, or the “Puzzle Tunnel”. It is a tight tunnel with an entrance some eight feet above ground level, and it has little or no room for turning. It extends into the cliff by some 500 feet. Named after the man who explored and wrote about it in 1938, it is believed to have been a smugglers’ tunnel. Illingworth found an ancient pistol and three buttons from an excise man’s tunic when he explored it.
At low tide these tunnels can be accessed. When we arrived, however, the tide was in. This was probably a good thing. If the tide had been out, my wife and I would have had a heated argument about tunnels, mud, children, fun, lack of torches, coastguards, drowning, stupidity, and the fact that it was my turn to drive home today, which I wouldn’t be able to do if I was stuck in a tunnel having eaten too much fish and chips for lunch.
As it was, we had little choice but to move on. We walked out the bay itself and up to the village of Cliffs End. Here, there is a Viking ship – a real one! Built in Erederikssund, near Copenhagen, the Hugin was brought across the North Sea “by oar and sail alone” by a crew of 53 Danes in 1949. This event marked the 1,500th anniversary of the Danish crossing to Ebbsfleet, just outside Cliffs End, in 449AD.
As we walked into the village and our journey’s end, a Spitfire suddenly shot out above the roof tops. I flicked my lens cap off and swung my camera around but only managed to take a couple of blurred shots. Still, you don’t get to see a Spitfire on its own very often, so here they are:
Points on this part of the walk (copy and paste the co-ordinates into Google Earth):
- Ramsgate Harbour: N 51° 19.754 E 001° 25.275
- Ramsgate Marina: N 51° 19.866 E 001° 25.175
- King George IV Obelisk: N 51° 19.909 E 001° 25.405
- Hands & Molecule Statue: N 51° 19.597 E 001° 24.220
- Pegwell Tunnel Entrance: N 51° 19.581 E 001° 23.772
- Pegwell Bay: N 51° 19.621 E 001° 22.672
- Hugin Viking Ship: N 51° 19.730 E 001° 22.377
Walk #34 Statistics (the entire walk from Dumpton Gap to Ramsgate and on to Cliffs End, of which this post forms the second half):
- Date of Walk: 22 September 2012
- Walk #34 total distance covered: 6.48 miles
- Coast of Britain Walk Total Distance Covered: 266.46 miles
- CLICK HERE FOR LINK TO INTERACTIVE MAP!!!