Richard White

explorations in place and time

River Crouch Festival Walk Day 1 Bradwell to Burnham

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Bradwell children show flag

Our day began early in cool dawn: rabbits on the lawn and bird song from the bushes. Chris and Jo orchestrated a beautiful short pilgrimage with children from Bradwell Primary School. With the community flag flying we all walked up the old roman road to the chapel.  Here they wrapped the chapel in blue ribbon and they told us about pilgrimages and the Christian link with Canewdon. Old superstitions were revisited, the walk was blessed. Ali, Richard and Mike are now taking the ribbon with to Canewdon for an event on Monday, where we are promised church bells. Should be good, join us for the walk or be there.
Bradwell short pilgrimage
Ribbon wrap St Peter'sWe set off on the walk south with a young flag bearer, mum and sister. Two women, Tina and Karen joined us from around the bay.

Bradwell flag on the move2The boy done well and we hope to see him again, maybe tomorrow on Wallasea. Holding the flag high on the sea defence path flanked with blue flowers. The tide out so far that the sea was a distant silver strip. A hare leapt out in front of us. We startled an owl. I saw the dead seal. We were serenaded by skylarks again and the cries of seabirds and waders rang out. We heard about the older women of the Blackwater who at the right time of the tide walk to the sea in dressing gowns and swim. Later Mike told a ghost story he had heard of a slave ship that caught fire with the slaves still in chains on board, horrible and tragic visions. Did the ghost story originate in someone witnessing the pain and suffering?

flag at mouth of crouchA long walk, a hot day. On the sea defences the grass was long caressing my legs and leaving its dart seeds in my socks. Progressively the soft brush of grass became pointed irritants in my shoes. At the start of the day the sun was welcome and as it grew hot and high and bright it burned. We walked out into the bleak Dengue Marshes, no shade, no shelter. Hot and suffocating on the track below the dyke. We all found it hard and in the end the sight of yacht sails on the Crouch was a relief.

At last the five walkers arrived straggling in to Burnham on Crouch as the tide turned and the river slowly backed up to beaten pewter. Low sun. Long shadows. Packed out riverside bars spilling people and their drinks into the sun,they looked on curiously at these passing walkers. No one seems to know much about the project, no posters, no word of mouth, no one came out to greet us. But they ask and we tell them and as the week goes on we will build momentum towards the Feast Day at Hullbridge. Laura’s ‘blibber’ is already calling us.

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Author: rswpost

Exploring connections between landscape, place and people. on foot and online. Working collaboratively and harnessing the participatory potential of social media.

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