Monday 5 September 2016

Seals and Stalag 19

Monday 5 September 2016
After a quick breakfast we drove to the NT car park at Morston Quay, ready for our trip with Beans Boats.  I'd booked the 0945 trip as it included half an hour landed on Blakeney Point. We piled in with about 22 other people and headed down the creek as the night tide turned. The two boatsmen gave a good commentary and some history of some of the boats (called pirate ships and arks for the sake of the children!) as well as the old lifeboat buildings on the end of Blakeney Point; we'd seen these on Countryfile and we're looking forward to a look around.  The weather was calm and sunny, a marked difference to yesterday's very strong westerly winds. The boat took us to see the common and grey seals on the pebble beach at the end of Blakeney Point, with some swimming and popping up around us.  We did 6 drive pasts so both sides of the boat had plenty of time to take photos, before turning back into the harbour and landing on the shingle beach for half an hour.  It was very warm as we walked in along the pathways, through the dunes and up over to view the open sea. We'd have loved to have spent the whole day here, watching the bird life and the sea.  It was a quirky area, with a few small huts where the NT Wardens live all year round in relative solitude, plus looking after the large blue old lifeboat station, which now houses the visitor centre.  They spend a lot of their time observing and counting the seals and birds - not a bad life.  The half hour soon passed and we returned in a different boat to Morston Quay.  I'd highly recommend the Beans Boats trips - good value for money and funny, informative boatsman.  

Back at the van we made our lunch and sat at one of the picnic tables with a cuppa to enjoy the sunshine, before heading off on a walk around the salt marshes to Blakeney Harbour. We had a walk around the narrow streets and found the Spar shop and seafood shop for tomorrow.  I also noticed the harbour car park is free to NT members - result!  We retraced the route back to Morston and drove to our stop for tonight - Highsand Creek campsite in the village of Stiffkey (pronounced 'Stewkey').  The Stiffkey cockle is famous for its dark blue shell and meaty mollusc. Unfortunately this was a poor choice of site.  At £23 without electric hookup, it was the most expensive place we have ever stayed in the van.  We were allocated a grass pitch, all of them laid out in a strict grid - ours was C4.  The campsite is large with tents on one side and motorhomes on the other.  The latter was quite empty but all the vans were allocated pitches next to each other, so we all huddled together in one area, while the rest of the campsite was empty.  All around were old-style hangars - it felt (and looked) like a WW2 military camp, hence me calling it Stalag 19!  I thought perhaps they'd be a 0500 roll-call, complete with searchlights and guard dogs, when we would be roused from our beds and made to stand to attention at the front of our vans and shout out our pitch number, just to make sure nobody had escaped in the night!  The facilities block were also a little tired and smelled of sewage.  Cathy braved the showers first and came back drenched - the shower was so strong the jet of water hit the back of the door where she had hung her dry, clean clothes.  The cubicles floors also seemed to slope the wrong way so that all the water escaped under the door - the only thing to escape that night!!  I had a similar experience, although managed to keep my clothes dry.    I prepared a Greek salad for dinner, while scooping a couple of strong G&Ts. We had this with some lamb steaks cooked on the Cadac and sat outside in the warm, humid air.  A bottle of vinho verde kept us the right side of sanity and once it was getting dark, and a gentle mizzle started to fall from the grey sky, we retired to our prison hut - I mean van bed! There was much whispered talk of digging tunnels and jumping the fence in the van, but in the end we just fell asleep.

Morston Quay

Old Lifeboat House at Blakeney Point


  1. Chris and Peter (Belgian Beauty, our moho, not us ;-))12 September 2016 at 11:35

    Are we lucky you could escape in the end! Some people/campsites in the UK are shameless at their price setting! We therefore try to 'Britstop' whenever we can.

    1. We like Britstops too. We used two this trip and plan to visit another this Friday when on the Isle of Anglesey.



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