Spent a beautiful winter’s day walking from Faversham to Whitstable on what I thought was to be the last leg of my trip across the marshes for my book, Estuary Life. Turns out I was wrong. Saturday 30th November 2014 – Outside Seasalter
The bait diggers are heading home. There is a nip in the air as the day turns. I am conscious of losing light and although I can see Whitstable crawling over the hills and ridges to the east I know I still have a fair walk ahead. I evict the sand flies from my lunch box and walk on.
My shadow grows long across the beach, my feet walking on sand, my head somewhere out in the pools, my hair wiggling into the mud rivulets.
Mist grows from the sea and the light glows blue around me, blue sky, reflected in blue pools, the blue haze of the grazing marsh on Sheppey, the shadows, blue, the mussel shells, blue, the little blue sticks of a million cotton buds flushed down toilets and washed to beaches on the tide, all blue.
I reach the Neptune pub. It is late afternoon, the tide is sloshing around the base of the groins. The seals I saw earlier will be swimming out there now, diving for fish beneath the silver skin of this molten liquid. Directly opposite, I can see, through the hazy light, the cliffs of Warden’s Point on Sheppey. I have reached the mouth of the Swale, the end of the Estuary. If I walk on then I will be out to sea. It is the end of the journey but it doesn’t feel like the end, it feels unfinished.
It is no good, the sun is going down and I can’t walk on so maybe for one last time I need to walk back.