One of the first things we saw on arriving at Portsea Island was really quite beautiful. A yacht cut through the sunlit waves followed by a gull who glided alongside.
This yacht was sailing out of Langstone Channel and into the open sea. As it sailed off I checked my map. We were on the eastern corner of Portsea Island and my GPS was showing a footpath around this corner of the island, however, my map disagreed. It showed no footpath. The lie of the land seemed to agree with my GPS; there was a clear trail through the grass where many feet had passed before us. We decided to follow this trail, which soon petered out onto a shingle beach. Ahead of us was a jetty.
Never one to miss a jetty (when walking the coast of Britain all jetties must be walked, otherwise you feel as if you have cheated) I thought I might gain some vantage point showing me whether the beach was accessible all the way around. It wasn’t.
To be sure, I jogged over to the fencing whilst the remainder of the Coastal Clan ambled slowly behind. There was no way through. “Go back!” I yelled into the walkie talkie I now always carry with me. The walkie talkies were an idea of my friend and Guest Walker, Mike. A great idea they were too, so think the remainder of my family. Whenever we get to a bit of coastal path which looks as though it might finish in a dead end, or whenever we think we may have taken a wrong turn, they always get the walkie talkies out.
“You run on ahead and we’ll follow!” my wife always tells me, with that funny look on her face which I know means she is trying not to smirk at me. I always run along as ordered, and if the way is blocked I radio back to them so they can avoid the unnecessary walk. Sometimes, however, I radio back to say the way is open. On those occasions, they seem to take an extraordinary long time to catch up and I realise they have just been sitting there, resting, waiting to find out whether they should bother walking forwards or backwards. I suppose, if you are going to walk the entire coast of Britain, saving a few feet here and there soon builds up. But what would I know? I never get the opportunity.
“Go back!” I yelled into the walkie talkie. Back we went, joining a road instead and heading southwest. We walked to the north side of Fort Cumberland, a pentagonal fort built between 1785-1810 to protect Langstone Harbour, but it was almost invisible to us from the road. A housing development or two later and we were able to rejoin the coast at Eastney Beach. Eastney Beach is reportedly a naturist beach, but it was way too cold for any of that today, besides which we kept to the promenade rather than the expansive beach itself; I suspect the naturist beach is tucked away in a quiet corner and not visible from the promenade.
Points on this part of the walk (copy and paste the co-ordinates into Google Earth):
- Jetty: N 50° 47.335 W 001° 01.690
- Fort Cumberland: N 50° 47.335 W 001° 01.950
- Eastney Beach: N 50° 47.105 W 001° 02.750
Walk #65 Statistics (of which this post forms the second part):
- Date of Walk: 2 February 2014
- Walk #65 total distance covered (not including ferry ride): 8.53 miles
- Coast of Britain Walk Total Distance Covered: 538.76 miles
- CLICK HERE FOR LINK TO INTERACTIVE MAP!!!