The path heading west out of Lulworth diverts inland slightly, leading up in a shallow arc to reach Hanbury Tout 440 feet above sea level. It then leads back down to rejoin the coast again half a mile or so later. Here we are, at the foot of Hanbury Tout:
I say “we”, but you will see that there is only Deb in this picture. I am taking it and that makes two.
Ben and Catherine, however, are conspicuous in their absence.
This is because after walking from Southend-on-Sea to Lulworth, across some 6 counties and 670 miles, they have decided to hang their boots up and say “enough”.
We had seen this coming for some time. When we first started this undertaking they were 8 years old. We were not naive and realised that they wouldn’t be with us all the way. As they grew in age we saw the moment of their departure loom closer and closer.
Who can blame them? At age 13 walking the coast of Britain is not at the top of their priorities. Nor would it have been at the top of mine at that age. We had seen the crunch point coming for about a year. As we got further and further away from home, with longer and longer journey times, we saw less and less desire in their eyes and less and less committment in their hearts.
As I say, we anticipated this. At age 13 they have their whole lives ahead of them. They have school, and homework, and growing up, and finding a career, and falling in love, and finding themselves to do. That’s a huge amount to be getting on with. Why walk the coast of Britain on top of all that? What’s the point? It’s all a bit too much.
The point for Deb and I, of course, is to want the very opposite of “too much”. We have “too much” already in our day-to-day lives. The point is to do less in life and in so doing get more out of it. But why should our 13-year old children be expected to know that yet? At 13 they haven’t even started to want the “more” out of life yet, yet alone the “less”! Give them until their 40th birthday and they may suddenly realise that the “more” they want is best achieved by concentrating on the “less”.
But for now, as is only right, they no longer want to go on their parents’ mad-cap walk around the coast of Britain They will continue to join us from time to time, but our Coastal Clan has now slimmed down to a hardcore of two.
I really am proud that, at by age 13, they have walked 670 miles in a continuous line around the coast of this country. When they have told their teachers they have generally been met with reactions of awe, incredulity, and yes – respect. The meaning of those reactions have gone a little over their heads at this age, but I hope in years to come they will realise the value of them.
This is the first photo I ever took of their particular Coastal Path, at the Broomway in Essex, on 9 October 2011. Two diddy children, dressed in whatever casual clothing we could find in their wardrobes to make the walk as comfortable as possible.
And here is the last picture, taken on 23 May 2015. Two rather taller, hardened walkers, clad in walkers’ gear, capable of walking the entire country, although they do not realise it yet. Maybe they’ll finish it one day.
Points on this part of the walk (copy and paste the co-ordinates into Google Earth):
- The Foot of Hanbury Tout: N 50° 37.242 W 002° 15.330
Walk #80 Statistics (of which this post forms the second part):
- Date of Walk: 8 June 2015
- Walk #80 total distance covered: 7.53 miles
- Coast of Britain Walk Total Distance Covered: 678.77 miles
- CLICK HERE FOR LINK TO INTERACTIVE MAP!!!
It doesn’t seem like you’ve been walking that long…
While I totally understand, this post brought tears to my eyes 😦
Oh Jill! Please don’t worry! They still come on the odd walk with us…
I know… but it’s still sad – it’s like a favorite band breaking up…
It will be a happy day (many years in the future!) when the
band gets back together 🙂
Oh, the end of an era. It’s sad – but, as you say, completely predictable. (I remember how much I hated family walks as a teenager!) I’m sure your kids will rediscover the joys of walking in due course.
Yes Ruth – I remember the same feelings too! They have come on a couple of walks since without too much turmoil and have even seemed to get into their stride and enjoy them!
Being confined to my sick bed with virulent ManFlu, I have spent most of the afternoon catching up on your 2015 walks, with my usual 3 windows open (your blog, OS view in Bing Maps and Earth view in GoogleMaps). The photo of the Broomway reminded me how I stumbled upon your blog 3 years ago following a newspaper article on one of Robert Macfarlane’s books. I’d just like to say ‘Thanks’ to Ben and Catherine for the adventures that they have provided over the past few years, and I look forward to the further adventures of Nic and Deb! Cheers.
Hi Gareth and thanks for getting in touch – you are very kind! Ben is currently ill in bed himself and your comment will cheer him up no end!
If you haven’t already seen it there is a link at the end of each of my posts into a Garmin app that plots our exact route – that might save you a window or two!