It was a little chilly, mostly because of the on-shore wind but we put on our sweaters and set off, walking down the road towards the sea… we can’t actually see it from our house, we have to go down the road, round the corner, across the next road, to Links road which leads to the beach. We’re renowned for having the second highest tidal range in the world, so when the sea goes out, it almost disappears it’s such a long way away. When it goes out you can’t walk to it because between the edge of the sand and the edge of the water is mud, mud, mud… It’s very dangerous and despite the huge signs people often have to be rescued from the mud, wading out too far, or park their car too near the mud – again ignoring the massive signs warning of the danger, and the tide comes galloping at a lick, under the sand as well as over it, turning it to jelly so he vehicle sinks, can’t be moved and is engulfed… It’s bad enough to lose your car, but some people have lost their lives, all through ignoring the warnings.
We didn’t go down to the sea; we turned left along Links Road and walked towards the boatyard, stopping to chat with friends taking their new baby granddaughter out in her pram. We walked on, through the boatyard, taking pictures of the magnificent sky as the sun was beginning to set, birds wheeling against it. The air was full of the scent of may – may not May, and we walked on past the café and the boats in the yard. We stopped, shocked at the sight of a large cruiser up on stocks being repaired; ropes were hanging from various parts and on one of the was the head of a woman, her black her writhing like snakes in the wind, her lipsticked mouth red and open, her eyes staring… But it was just the head of a dummy, grotesque though, and with a shiver we walked on.
The limestone face of the old quarry glowed apricot in the last of the sun and we walked past the ruins of the lime-kiln and the explosives hut. We walked past the site of a Neolithic settlement, the old roofless church behind us on the other side. Cows were grazing contentedly and we walked on, uphill now. We passed through another gate; the air was full of birdsong and the grasses edging the path full of cow parsley, also known as Queen Anne’s lace. We walked on until we came to another gate at the top of the rise, and through it we turned left leaving the path and through yet another gate.
We walked down a grassy lane between hedges edging fields. Eventually we began to climb again and ahead of us on the hillside rows of houses facing west had blank sightless windows reflecting the last of the day. They were rather sinister, but we reached the final gate and passed where an old railway station had once been and then up onto the road. We walked along the pavement as cars whizzed past until we came to the turning to lead us back down into the village.
Once in the village we walked along Uphill Way, along the underside of the hill. The village is not named after a hill, but a pill – the local name for a creek; it was supposedly once the site of a chief called Oppa, hence Oppa’s pill, and so abbreviated to Uphill. We walked past the Ship, full of folk enjoying themselves, someone’s thirtieth birthday we believed, and past the Dolphin also full of the sounds of more folk enjoying themselves, and then we walked up the High Street and home.
An evening walk…