It’s summertime and thoughts, somewhat forlornly of late due to the inclement weather, go to past times driving to the beach. In my case that’s a two-hour and eighty-mile drive to the nearest coast in Lincolnshire. I came across a discussion recently about Mablethorpe, an older resort which I’m guessing is around twenty miles north up the coast from better-known Skegness. It brought back a few memories and also a few thoughts.
I always quite like the idea of Mablethorpe and nearly always when I visit the Lincolnshire coast for the day go to nearby Sutton on Sea just a couple of miles down the road.
Perhaps during the day, especially if the weather is disinclined towards sitting on the beach, I’ll walk up to ‘Mabo’, either via the prom or on the sand, and have a look around.
I always kind of want to remember it as it was when I was a kid first encountering it – or even a teenager – but apart from myself as the observer obviously changing and getting older, it invariably disappoints me. This is not so much a criticism of Mablethorpe as I have a lot of fondness for it, but I always imagine how it could be with its natural assets – its potential. What I appear to see are endless tat shops et al.
One thing we can’t change is the UK weather and of course that has become a huge factor for the likes of such home-based resorts but nothing ever really changes or gets updated, with a few exceptions, in the likes of Mablethorpe. Of course, part of its ‘charm’ are the traditional donkey rides, amusement arcades, fish and chips etc but if you’re not interested in that side of things you begin to struggle a little. You can get a very decent plate of fish and chips in the area but how many places serve up a decent dinner otherwise for example? I’m sure there are a few places if you know where to go but as an occasional and formerly regular visitor I wouldn’t know where to find that.
I’d always applaud any attempts to fire a bit of life into the old resorts because I find it very sad to compare them with how they used to be in the cases of smaller towns like Mablethorpe. I see though, little change from what they were offering to people when I was a kid. New initiatives such as facilities and businesses tend to be a bit lowbrow and of poor quality – stuff that wouldn’t appeal to you that much back in Nottingham in my case, or wherever you live.
It’s probably largely an investment issue but I’d welcome a little bit more up to date and imaginative thinking in these old places. I think they could do a lot more.
As I say, it’s definitely not a knock on Mablethorpe and the like, I truly have quite a bit of affection for these places, but I’d like to see them offer a bit more in 2012 and onwards as I’d very much like them to prosper as best as possible.
In the meantime, my occasional East Coast jaunts will remain at quieter Sutton (outwith visits to the Yorkshire coast). It remain an unassuming little place that’s decent, civilised and reasonably unspoilt, and like Mablethorpe, boasts a magnificent beach.
Looking back on happy times, this series of stories documents the 33-mile walk in six stages that my friend, Barbara and I undertook in the summer of 2006. It’s a real pleasure looking back over those long incredibly hot days whilst this interesting project was undertaken. As the days begin to stretch and Spring beckons, join me now as I reminisce over the route from Trent Bridge at Nottingham to the walks end at Grantham in Lincolnshire.
The Story Begins…
During the early summer months of 2006, my friend Barbara and I began talking about the prospect of walking the entirety of the Grantham Canal which follows a meandering thirty-three mile route from the River Trent in Nottingham to its eventual destination in the Lincolnshire town of Grantham.
A long-distance walk having been of appeal to both of us, but as yet little deed, the old industrial coal barge route of the canal which enjoys a passage through a green corridor winding through the attractive Vale of Belvoir and no less than three counties, seemed an ideal journey to undertake as an initial project. The route appeared to offer tranquillity and interest, through the thoroughly well-named vale, and an ideal pastime for the summer which would offer a little achievement too.