Walking from Dover to Deal

10 miles

Sunday 18th August

One of the good things about bad sailing weather is that it is often good walking weather. When the forecast appeared rather uncertain for bringing Sumara up the Thames Estuary we decided to go for a walk instead. Poor Sumara hasn’t been used so much this year and I was amazed at the growth of weed. Luckily it just wiped off with my soft broom. We forgot to throw out the rubbish too so it was a worthwhile clean up visit.

This “Walk” was actually going to be a “Run”. Grit and I set off walking along the seafront from Wellington Dock with the intention of starting to run once we hit the path. The path started in a part of Dover that I have never visited before tucked behind the main ferry port in the eastern part of the dock. In a very picturesque street there stood the sad site of a closed down Shepherd Neame pub. Once we eyeballed the path leading straight up the cliff it was decided to continue walking then begin the run at the top. The path was pleasantly busy on what ended up being a fair and sunny day. Our run was rather short lived. Grit didn’t have her heart in it and would have preferred to have walked the whole path so she could take in the views. I ran on to the lighthouse and doubled back. There is a café at the Lighthouse called Mrs Knots Tearoom which looked good and seems to pick up five star reviews.We walked down to The Coastguard Pub in St Margaret’s Bay and were just in time (1430) to order lunch. All the food looked very good and our fish and chips was first class. We sat outside in the lee of the cliffs and could watch the ships in the channel and some yachts heading south. One was under full sail looking splendid but the two motor-sailing were looking very awkward in the surprisingly bumpy se with their mainsails flapping as they pinched to hard on the wind.

We walked on. By now the path was less busy. On reaching Walmer we turned down a narrow street with pretty cottages to find the sea again, and The Zetland Arms. We didn’t stop but the following week Philip Main invited us for dinner there. Coincidently he lives in one of the cottages. The pub has recently been taken over by Shepherd Neame and it was bustling with people enjoying evening meals. My Steak and Ale pie was one of the best I’ve had. So in just one 10 mile walk there are two great pubs.

The final stretch of the walk is flatter and takes you on to Deal which was heaving with people enjoying themselves listening to live music.

We saw the old Time Ball used to set the chronographs on the ship at anchor in the Downs. Time was against us to explore any more. We caught the eight minutes past hourly train back to Dover. The train was full of suntanned ramblers.

A great, varied and easy walk and a potentially good hill run.

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