Travel StoriesRain In The Far East
Way Out East
Ride Date 9 May 2023
By Ren Withnell
Boy did it rain last night! As soon as I'd settled in to (try and) sleep it started. You all know how I struggle to sleep in a tent? For reasons beyond my comprehension I slept, even through the rain. On those moments I did stir to adjust for a dead arm or sore hip I'd inspect my surroundings. Yes the tent sides are wet but here am I, dry, and the stuff around the tent appears dry too. Go figure.
One has survived one's drenching and remained dry.
It's 0645 when I decide it's time to get up. For some this might seem early but for myself this is pretty normal, even when I'm at home and not working. Judging by the lack of noise the rain has passed, a cursory look on my mobile hints this is merely a temporary reprieve.
Breakfast consists of a hot cuppa and porridge direct from the pan. I'm tempted to let the tent dry out a little but by 0800 I'm itching to go so it's packed away wet. I'm just thankful I got to pack away in the dry, packing away wet is "challenging".
Right Ren, what's the plan? It should be an easy day today as I'm about 75 miles from Ness Point, the whole raison d'etre for this little soiree. After Ness Point my next campsite is only a few miles away. I reckon I've got all day to cover about 80 miles, no rush then huh?
I can't make my mind up. I miss the mountains and indeed the curvaceous nature elevation forces onto the roads. I miss the illusion of remoteness mountains offer as they block the view to most habitation. Even so as the sun breaks through here and there I see a great deal of beauty on the flatlands. The smell of the rape plants tells me spring is here, the traffic is moving well and none too heavy, trees aplenty and thick undergrowth in the verges, the occasional town and roadside farmhouses.
I, well, yes and no, hmmm. I'm reminded of those big wide roads from American road trip kind of movies. It's not at all dry and dusty here but like those vast open plains roads the roads are wide with wide grassy bits before the overgrown weeds and bushes and trees... and then the large fields. Space, that's it, space. The Highlands offers space in a different way, you're a long way from anywhere quite often. Here there's always civilisation close by but that civilisation isn't crammed in, squeezing every millimetre out of any available real estate.
Definitely NOT Amurica, there is a sense of space here though.
Feeling all Yanky Doodle Dandy I spot a roadside food emporium and pull in for a brew. I'm kind of careful about roadside food vans, there are some (not all) that may be, errr, less than ideally hygienic. Oh dear. This one looks well tended and as a trucker leaves, with his burger's scent wafting up my hooter a hunger comes upon me. Before I know it I'm chowing down on a bacon and burger bap alongside my strong hot tea. The purveyor is most friendly, he works extremely long hours while remaining full of life and loving his endeavour. Fair play, and your product is very tasty.
Sometimes you just need a bacon burger bap.
Being a big growed up boy now I am learning to manage my expectations. The Lizard Point (most southerly point) is set among Cornish fields and meets the sea at a craggy outcrop. Dunnet Head (most northerly point) has a car park and lighthouse yet remains remote and wild. Similarly Ardnamurchan Lighthouse (most westerly point) also has a car park and "light" tourist facilities yet is very much remote along a beautiful single track lane. Luckily I'm not expecting anything of the sort at Ness Point.
Lowestoft starts out OK with a few amiable bungalows before falling rapidly. It's a town. It's quite a large town and on this grey overcast and now drizzly day it's a grim town indeed. It looks and feels much the same as any other British town does on any other grey and overcast and drizzly day. I'm sure it would look better in the sun, how much is debateable.
Sat-Nav leads me through the estates and industrial units, past the retail parks and pubs, then finally, rather disappointingly, onto another industrial estate. I am assured I am here although there's no suggestion of it other than the sea. As I unmount the bike the drizzle starts to become rain.
Ness Point doesn't quite match up to it's counterparts.
Over the stout ugly concrete sea wall lies more concrete - and the only indication that this is anything other than a drab coastal defence. There lies a large black and white (dirty white) circle with 4 segments of each colour. I suppose this indicates the points of the compass. I am here, I have achieved my goal, my mission has been successful. Great! Even with managed expectations I don't feel all that great about it though.
I guess this is Ness Point's point?
I take a few snaps as the rain comes and goes, get back on the bike and depart this unimpressive hole. I head south, making a quick stop at Morrisons for fuel and supplies and find my next campsite. Ah - there it is - Kessingland Beach Holiday Park.
This is another Parkdean Holiday Resort. You may recall my last interaction with Parkdean did not impress Sharon much and yet here I am at another Parkdean. The camping is cheap and there are facilities on site - plus Sharon's not here to be disappointed with me. I book in with reception then I meet a groundsman at the camping area.
There's plenty of space. There's plenty of flooding too. I spot a few pitches that are dry and take my fancy but the groundsman points to a ropey patch of ground under a tree, something about flooding and electric hook up is mumbled. I obediently pitch the soggy tent, noting it's dry and warm presently so maybe it'll dry out. I get myself set up as the sun comes out! Yay.
It's boggy and muddy but I have a hint of elevation above the waterline.
Of course the toilets and washing up facilities are away at the far side (near where I'd hoped to camp). Why oh why oh why... Of course there's a large tent nearby, the only other tent here today, and the incumbents are coming and going constantly and noisily. Of course the ground is soft so I take some time to relocate the bike on the sturdiest patch I can find, complete with side stand puck. Ho well.
Once I'm sorted I take a stroll through the site and out towards the beach. It is mild with the sun poking out between the clouds. I have only my t-shirt and shorts on, carrying my valuables in my tank bag that turns into a rucksack. This ain't so bad is it - better than working.
Stunning I'm sure. It might rain later.
As I stand on the edge of the beach I hear a distant rumble. Thunder. Meh. It's far away. Then I feel a big blob of rain hit my bonce. Ah. I'd best head back. By the time I've walked a few yards that big blob of rain is joined by it's family, friends, neighbours and Uncle Tom Cobley. It is now siling down and I'm still several hundred yards from the site or any kind of shelter.
By the time I reach the eaves of a random chalet I'm already dripping. By the time I'm bored of waiting for the rain to pass and return to the tent, I am drenched. Well there's one thing at least - it's not cold. Hmmmm. The logical thing to do is thus. Get my waterproof overjacket, get a fresh set of clothes, get my toiletries, and get a shower. This I do, hoping the rain will pass. It does not and while I'm now clean and dry I am glad I have my waterproof jacket with me.
While not unheard of it is uncommon to endure HEAVY rain in the UK for long periods. Regular rain can last all day but seldom hard rain. Yet here I am, watching YouTube videos in the tent with the volume up as I can hardly hear anything for the din of a zillion big round raindrops hitting the tent each second. I venture out from time to time to fetch water and wash up. I ensure nothing is touching the side of the tent. I heat and eat a tin of Ravioli. I make and drink several cups of tea.
This is how I like to spend my evenings.
Regular readers will be sorry to hear but... I am not miserable. Please, don't misunderstand me. I'd much rather the sun was shining. I'd like to be taking a walk and looking around. Even so I am (mostly) dry, I am warm, I have food and tea, and I have my phone to pass the time. Of course it could be better, but it could be so much worse.
Even so I fancy a change. I don all my waterproof equipment (one advantage of motorcycling) and head out into the tempest. The thunder rolls, the lightening flashes, it is now dark and ominous, and I find it quite thrilling! I saunter like a soggy ghost among the static caravans and chalets. I check out the opening times of the shop. I venture into the "entertainment" area, dodging the slot machines and avoiding the cabaret bar. Ah, there it is, the restaurant come quiet pub bit. I purchase a glass of pop and rest a while, my kit dripping from the back of the chair. Outside the thunder still claps.
I retire to bed around 1100. Still it rains and I have a fear of waking to find I'm floating. We shall see. Holy COW! That thunderclap came at the same time as the flash, I wonder if a metal tent pole makes for a good lightening rod? Of course it does. Sleep ain't gonna come quickly with that thought in my head. Death might.
Share your tale - click here.
Prolugue - Why Ness Point?
Ren explains why he's off to the land of Daaan Saaaf. There won't be any mountains and no-ones going to give him any money, there must be a reason?
Wet And Wild, Sorry, Mild
It's a somewhat mixed start to Ren's latest escapade. There's rain and the risk of being thrown into The Gulag, but it's not too bad at the end of the day.
Way Out East
It's another grim day on the road although the reason for this trip is close at hand. So what does Ren make of mainland UK's most easterly point then?
Off To Pop's
Bad news folks! Ren's having an OK day. This is the easy part of his trip and he's making the most of it.
Going Home And Epilogue
It's time to go home and Ren is making his way North across country. There's a little too much time for thinking and he's on his high horse. At least it's not raining. Sorry.
nab301 said :-
Ren, that's a pity , your timing for this trip earlier in the month was just a little premature , the last two weeks in Dublin have been dry/ warm and I think the same in your part of the world.
"Regular readers will be sorry to hear but... I am not miserable."
Are you sure ? That looks like a sad face Emoji on the R/h side of the photo of the inside of the tent although it could equally be random bits of detritus that splashed up in the torrential rain....
29/05/2023 17:34:35 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
HAHA! Yes I see it. Timing is everything and when it comes to the weather in the UK there's zero possibility of being certain about it. It was what it was and it keeps things interesting at least. I do these things so you good folks don't need to.
29/05/2023 18:40:43 UTC
Bogger said :-
Aww. He's not got wet.
31/05/2023 12:15:02 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Sorry Bogger. How's your hat? Tasty?
01/06/2023 09:55:37 UTC
Add a RELEVANT link
Upload an image
(not required) -
Travel StoriesRain In The Far East