Half way around Pagham Harbour, at its far northwestern corner, is Sidlesham Quay. The Crab and Lobster pub is here. We knew it only as a public house sign on our map, but have since found out that it is, locally, if not regionally, a very well respected establishment. That would explain why it was so busy when we stopped off for a drink.
Everyone there had adopted smart casual dress. Women wore summer dresses and heels. Men wore chinos with creases pressed into them. I looked down at my trousers and realised that our dress was not quite of the same calibre. We tramped in, wiping the mud off our boots as best we could, feeling somewhat underdressed in our sweaty walking gear. We went straight through the pub and into the garden where we could sit a little less conspicuously. As we made our way through the patio and onto the small grassed area below, we passed a woman describing how tired she was. “I’ve been up since 7:30 this morning!” she exclaimed. I walked on, but suddenly realised that Deb was no longer beside me. I looked back. My wife was standing like a statue, staring at this woman; her mouth had fallen into an incredulous gape. She seemed ready to pounce right into this conversation, and she had the upper hand – we’d been up since 6:30, and because we’d just walked two miles of shingle and another two miles of mudflats we were clearly going to be more tired than this woman! This was an argument which my wife could not lose. Or could she? The problem was that the woman she was about to challenge was rather expensively dressed, and so were her companions. My wife was in a state of mud-strewn dishevelment. No, Deb would not win this one. I gently took her by the arm and guided her away. We left the woman to the sympathetic condolences of her companions. They were very much in awe of her Sunday morning tribulations. You could tell by the way they sipped their gin and tonics.
The pub staff could not have been kinder. They did not mind our dress and were cheery and attentive. I wish we could have sampled the food, but clearly you had to book for a Sunday lunch.
We ate our lunch on the nearby Sidlesham Quay. This was a flat grassy area, but in times past had been a tidal mill since the Middle Ages. The last mill to stand here had been built in 1755, but when Pagham Harbour was sealed and reclaimed for agriculture, there was no water to operate the mill. All that remains today are the foundations and some low level walls.
After lunch we headed off to finish our detour around Pagham Harbour. As we left, however, I saw something. I stood there for quite a while just staring. It was one of the most beautiful places to live I have ever seen.
Points on this part of the walk (copy and paste the co-ordinates into Google Earth):
- The Crab and Lobster: N 50° 46.138 W 000° 46.745
- Sidlesham Quay: N 50° 46.130 W 000° 46.809
- Attractive Residence: N 50° 46.150 W 000° 46.850
Walk #57 Statistics (of which this post forms the third part):
- Date of Walk: 4 August 2013
- Walk #57 total distance covered: 10.27 miles
- Coast of Britain Walk Total Distance Covered: 472.79 miles
- CLICK HERE FOR LINK TO INTERACTIVE MAP!!!