Saturday 24 February 2018. Brightlingsea, Essex.
A while ago we were thinking of taking a weekend away in Brightlingsea, but as usual, did nothing about it. I cannot remember why. I vaguely recall that El was thinking of it as a possible place to go for a few days, away from the attractions of a larger town, to do some writing. Whatever the reason was, at whatever time it was we never made it there, or anywhere close by. It has been lurking in the back of our minds since.
There is no specific reason why it appeals, it is not really coastal, there are no amazing landscapes, and no castles or abbey ruins to visit. It is just a small rural estuarine town in Essex with a good name and an easy drive from home.
Saturday woke to be one of those great sunny but damn cold English winter days. With threats of pending snowy doom from the ‘beast from the east’ weather front coming on Monday it seemed a shame to waste the opportunity the day presented.
It was also time to take the car for a decent spin, the last time I used it was before Christmas when I was going to drive to Norfolk until I found the flat tyre. When I finally got around to taking the car to the shop to get the tyre repaired I found a second flat (suspicious!) With the wheels off I found my brake pads were knackered so I had those replaced as well. With all the work done the car felt and ran better than ever.
Brightlingsea is about one and half hours north of home in mid-Essex, sitting near the point where the Colne River estuary meets the southern North Sea. Like a lot of coastal Britain, Brightlingsea is a very old town, it gets a mention in the Doomsday Book of 1087. Apparently the oldest wooden framed building in the UK is in the middle of town though I did not know that until now, so we did not go and visit this 14th century relic.
What we did do was stop for a hearty and nice lunch at a cafe in town before going for a walk around the waterfront and the most beach huts I have ever seen. Surprising because there is not a lot of beach. It is nice though.
It is very windy and very cold, heavy coats, gloves, hats and scarves were on, but the sky was a brilliant blue, a great winter ‘seaside’ walking day.
Beach huts feature a bit in these photos, there were just so many, every nook and cranny seemed to have a beach hut crammed in. The great thing with the beach huts here was there seemed to be no real rules, unlike the tedious line-up of identikit huts on the south coast.
Even with this small amount of skin exposed it was still cold!
Heading back into town I found this nice old boat shed, that I am sure will not last much longer as small blocks of posh modern flats are sprouting up nearby.
We wandered down to where the ferry up the Colne to Colchester would leave in the warmer months.
We stopped in a cafe for a warming coffee before walking back to the car for the journey home.
It is not a town I could live in, there is not a lot there, there is no train and it is a bit remote. Plus there is no proper sea. But I liked it as a place to visit, and lunch was damn good.