Our fun Full Moon Night Walk

With a heavy cloud-covering all day on Saturday, we were quietly resigned to a night walk without the benefit of the moon or stars as our group of 7 night walkers gathered for a campfire supper of chilli and jacket potatoes.  Fully equipped with torches, flasks and maps, we climbed aboard Neal's Minibus and set off into the dusk for the start of the adventure!  Neal dropped us off at our starting point, Hen Reedbeds on the Blyth Estuary, where we had the challenge of negotiating moth traps set by some local wildlife surveyors before finding the estuary itself and setting off towards the coast to the sounds of oyster catchers, curlews and multiple other wading birds.  And as darkness settled, slowly the clouds cleared and we had the first sight of the moon and some stars.  15 minutes into our walk, the moon was out and we were soon gathered around the map with Dixe Wills (travel writer and experienced night walker) talking us through night time navigation as well as the use of the stars (The Plough remains the easiest one for me to identify!) to help us find the North Pole.  We used our ears to detect the sluice marked on the map and, later, our noses to help us identify the sewage works and learned how to measure distance by our strides!  The lovely warm air (it didn't drop below 12 degrees all night) meant we tended to meander rather slowly, especially along the estuary which was delightfully full of strange noises and gentle mist rising off the meadows.  

Our walk took in estuary, heathland, commonland, coastline, fields and golf courses, a small bit of urban walking (if Southwold counts as urban!), a couple of hundred yards of country road walking (everything else outside of Southwold was on footpaths and bridleways) as well as a short hike across reedbeds.   We covered a good 8 miles and were back at our finishing point on the opposite side of the Blyth Estuary having completed a wonderful circular(ish) walk by 1am.  Although we all had torches with us, we made very little use of them - just checking the map periodically and revelling in the fact that we had enough moonlight to be able to see to walk.  

It was a slow start all round the next morning, with the smell of frying bacon and eggs wafting on the air as our night-walkers enjoyed a well-deserved brunch before heading off home.  Nick and I have resolved to put some of our new found night-walking skills to use throughout the year and are looking forward to planning some more night walks for our yurt guests next year!  Watch this space.....

Bringing home one of the new electric bikes!
Installing the solar pv panels