To say that it was almost the end of the holiday season and things were beginning to wind down Hemsby was as busy as ever and the beach area around the Gap was alive with families enjoying the day. By the time I'd walked up one side of the road and back down the other, looking at the various shop displays, a bank of grey cloud was gathering over the beach; the sun was still shining though and the clouds had petered out by the time I'd got halfway back to California - it's surprising what a difference half a mile can make.
Back at the tent I put the dogs straight in the van, collected my spare camera batteries which I'd left on charge, and set off for Happisburgh. I was going for no other reason than to satisfy my own curiosity - I wanted to see if the ugly wooden staircase tower was still on the beach. Arriving at the new car park I got a ticket for an hour then headed along the nearby lane to the cliff top - and that's when I discovered a 'road to nowhere' similar to the one I went looking for a couple of years ago, except where that one has been created by cliff erosion this one had been created by man and machine.
The lane itself had originally ended in a small cliff top area which housed half a dozen fishing shacks and a handful of sheds and small workshops; as part of the beach and cliff top regeneration scheme these had all been demolished and removed, along with several yards of the cliff itself, and the lane had been blocked up to prevent access. And a bit farther along the ugly staircase tower had indeed gone, leaving the beach looking much nicer than before. The presence of a JCB working out near the water's edge told me that work on the sea defences was still ongoing so maybe I'll go back again next year to see what other changes have taken place.
After wandering through the cliff top camp site in the direction of the church - it always amazes me that the site has no fencing to stop people falling over the cliff edge - I made my way back to the van and set off for FAITH. A few miles inland the clouds had gathered to completely obliterate the blue sky and it was looking decidedly iffy, though I could still feel the warmth of the sun coming through. Leaving the dogs in the van, as I don't think it's fair to walk them past the sanctuary's 'inmates', I went for a wander round. One of the rooms in the isolation block contained seven adorable Springer Spaniel pups but as I wouldn't want a dog of that breed there was no danger of falling in love with one; there was nothing else with four legs which I would have wanted to take home so at least when I left I could do it without feeling guilty.
After a chat to one of the staff members I picked up a couple of newsletters from reception then headed back in the direction of California. I was beginning to feel rather peckish by then, though as it was still rather early for my evening meal I couldn't think of a better reason for having coffee and cake so I stopped off at Latham's for yet another of their divine Belgian buns. South of Potter Heigham the cloud started to break up and I got back to California to find the whole area still bathed in sunshine and blue sky. The rest of the afternoon was spent chilling out in the sun followed by a meal and a couple of hours of tv, then as the daylight disappeared I took the dogs for their last walk before we all settled into our respective beds for the night.