After the thrill of seeing a low-flying Spitfire, we continued our way along the marina arm. Waves continued to crash up against the concrete and drench the walkway. We were able to tell where the flash points were – they were covered in water whilst other parts were dry. We hurried along the wet bits, trying to time our dashes so that a wave wouldn’t hit us, but with varying degrees of success. The sea was choppy today. When we reached the end of the arm a boat carefully made its way into the harbour.
Although the boats were having a bit of a rocky time, the birds were gliding through the gusty wind almost as if it were a calm day. Their aerodynamic bodies dealt with the turbulent weather with ease.
We reached the end of the arm, where there was little to do but turn around and make the three-quarter mile walk back. We continued to dash between waves, trying to avoid the spray. We passed the fishermen again, but there was no sign that anyone else had caught a fish. Once we reached land we turned west, walking alongside the fishing vessels lining the working section of the harbour.
At the western end of the marina we had to duck through a tunnel under the multi-storey car park and into another car park, serving a busy supermarket. We dodged cars laden with groceries as they entered and exited the car park, feeling distinctly out of place in our walking gear and backpacks. Cars queued up in one corner, waiting for men in overalls to wash them. We walked through a cutting that lead back out to the shoreline and shingle beach. Brighton Pier stood a mile or so away, standing firm against the blustery weather.
To our north was a long hoarding, painted orange. Whatever was being kept inside, they didn’t want us to see it. We walked along to a gap in the hoarding and saw there was a sand sculpting exhibition inside. Should we go in? I was tempted, but it would have cost £36 to get everyone a ticket. I wasn’t that tempted. We walked on and decided to call a taxi.
“We’re in the car park by the Marina, next to the sand sculpting exhibition,” I said.
“I don’t know where that is,” said the man on the other end of the phone. I was a little surprised; this was a local taxi firm. Still, I agreed to call back with more precise directions. Three minutes later I called him back.
“We’re at the entrance of the Black Rock car park,” I said, “right next to the train station”.
“We won’t pick you up unless you give us a street name and a house number,” he replied. “We won’t come to car parks”.
It was at around this point that I realised we were back in what they call “civilisation”. Give them a street name and house number. They can plug those into a sat-nav with mechanical and factory-like boredom and they will send someone to that spot and wait for you to find them. Ask them to come and pick you up from anywhere else and they will tell you they can’t. It is simply too much effort. I contrast this with the more rural taxi firms, who are happy to accept vague descriptions of the middle of nowhere, and who will happily come and find you and take you home.
Still, there was nothing for it. We trudged up the steep grass bank to Marine Parade, looking for the nearest door with a number on it. We duly called this in to the taxi operator who this time told us he would send a car over. We did, I suppose, get the chance to look over the hoardings at the sand sculptures. As skillful as they clearly are, very few were on display and many were hidden by boxes. I was rather pleased we had saved our £36!
Points on this part of the walk (copy and paste the co-ordinates into Google Earth):
- Eastern Arm of Brighton Marina: N 50° 48.522 W 000° 06.020
- Working Part of Brighton Marina: N 50° 48.647 W 000° 05.730
- Supermarket Car Park: N 50° 48.825 W 000° 06.350
- Site of Sand Sculpting Exhibition: N 50° 48.825 W 000° 06.550
- Black Rock Car Park: N 50° 48.850 W 000° 06.600
Walk #51 Statistics (of which this post forms the last part):
- Date of Walk: 12 May 2013
- Walk #51 total distance covered: 8.04 miles
- Coast of Britain Walk Total Distance Covered: 419.49 miles
- CLICK HERE FOR LINK TO INTERACTIVE MAP!!!