We’re off to Stiffkey for the weekend and apparently if you are in the know you pronounce it stew’key. Stiffkey is a long village on the north Norfolk coast between Wells-next-to-sea and Blakeney. We had popped over to my parents about half way there on Thursday night, and were up early so we could leave before the cleaners got there. We hit the road at 08:50 headed though Peterborough and on past Kings Lynn and stopped of at Fat Birds cycling shop at Hunstanton to see if we could Helen some cycling waterproofs for her commute to work.
We didn’t find the perfect water proofs but got some ideas, but Helen did come away with some new cycling gloves. We then headed off up the coast road to our first port of call Titchwell Marsh RSPB reserve, where we would be getting our first go in their newly opened Parrinder Hide. The RSPB have decided that they can’t win the battle with global warming and sea rising so have built a new sea wall a bit further in land than the existing one and they have build a brand new hide on top. They will let the sea breach the existing one but preserve the habitats for marsh birds slight further inland. Despite being the peak of the holiday season the reserve was not too busy, there was no queue for a coffee.
After a welcome coffee we headed out on the footpath to the beach where we sat on the collapsed pill box that is visible when the tide is out. It was very windy and sand got into everything. I left my new GoPro Hero2 taking some time lapse pictures for 10 minutes at one picture per two seconds, should result in a 10 to 20 second video. We headed back up the path and stopped off at the new Parrinder hide, which I must say is excellent, it has the same big glass windows that they have at Island mere at Minsmere RSPB, you can wind the bottom part down and pull the top part up giving you a great open air view, which was handy for another time lapse session.
We stopped off at the other hide for a quick look and another set of pictures, then headed back to the cafe for some lunch. The highlights included 15 Spoonbill, Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint, Grey, Golden and Ringed Plover, Ruff and Avocet. At the cafe I had a Stilton and mushroom hot baguette and Helen had the largest beans and baked potato I have ever seen served at an RSPB establishment, there was at least a tin of beans with the rugby ball of a potato. It turned out to be too much for Helen, and some was left.
We then headed on up the coast road and stopped at Burnham Deepdale for some retail therapy. Thee is a new shop that sells all sorts of wildlife gear including Microscopes, tempting as it was I passed up the opportunity to walk out with a stereoscopic one. Helen was tempted by some bags and managed to purchase some much needed greeting cards, I think our stocks must be getting a bit low!
Then it was back in the car for a short drive to The Red Lion in Stiffkey. We had a swift half (Woodforde’s Wherry and IPA Gold) at the bar then unpacked car freshened up. The beer was good the menu looked good, and the rooms were well appointed, clean and smart. We headed out up the main road then took a left up a footpath towards the sea. After about half a mile we came across some farm building and a band of trees which for a drop down to the marsh. We took a left and then a right hoping to get down to the sand beyond the marsh. It was very muddy all around but the footpath was pretty dry and solid. At the beach we sat and looked at the distant seals on Blakeney Point and the birds out on the beach, there were quite a few calls from Curlews.
Back at the pub I had a shower and then headed down to the bar for something to eat, but not before leaving all the gadgets on charge for the next day, we only bought two chargers with us so some juggling would be required. To eat I had salmon on crushed garlic potatoes and spinach, and Helen had a goats cheese salad with some chips. Mine was really nice and Helen was once again defeated by potatoes. We had couple of pints and then retired to bed we had really enjoyed our first day in North Norfolk.