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  • Writer's pictureLuke Douglas-Home

Stretch 3: confused melancholy “The coast is an edgy place..."

Short report of Stretch 3 of The Coastline Runner’s First Mission

My mission is to run as much as I can [i footnote] of the British Isles’ coastline, collecting plastic trash, analysing local authorities’ waste schemes and calculating CO2e emissions.

I will do this from the 1st November 2021 until 9th October 2022: The next Royal Parks Half Marathon in London. (link here 'LH')

The Coastline Runner (me) does half marathon distances every week, and on Monday I got to Cromer.

Stretch 3 of my mission had me running from

Happisburgh (pronounced "Haisburgh") to Cromer,

and I saw much heart-breaking coastal erosion.

(this image copyright Philip Bird LRPS CPAGB, others Luke Douglas-Home and Mike from Maxim Photography)

Also, many sea defences that were created after the serious coastal flooding in the 1950s are now seemingly useless and unused. It confuses me..... I am baffled by (i) the publicised strategy (LH) being "to hold the line" against coastal erosion, but I can see no evidence of that and (ii) the environmental impact of putting wood, metal and cement barriers against the sea in front of sand dunes?

This feeling of confused melancholy chimed with the ever-present sound of surf and the stark reality of coastal life became embedded in my mind, as I ran. Thus, the title quote from Carl Safina's book.

a. Start: Happisburgh

b. Finish: Cromer

c. Distance: 20.5 km

Previous stretch 2 (link here ‘LH’): 20 km

Running total is 54 km, starting from Yarmouth on the 1st November 2021.

d. How arrive: by public transport; by train to North Walsham and a bus to Happisburgh.

e. How depart: train from Cromer

f. CO2e[ii] emitted: to date, total CO2e emitted for this endeavour: 46.3 kgs/CO2e

g. Plastic trash observation: nothing, except blue COVID’19 gloves and minimal marine litter.

h. Short Report:

Arriving in Ha’isburgh beach (LH) by 10:00, I then discussed the waste collection and CO2e situation with Councillor Nigel Lloyd (LH) (pictured), Environmental Services, Climate Change & Environment for North Norfolk District Council.

Nigel and I agreed that promoting plastic recycling must be secondary to promoting the reduction of the volume of waste.

He said the council (NNDC LH) were “working hard to reduce our carbon footprint in a range of areas - including waste management” and wished me “every success” with my endeavour.

Arriving in Cromer, I was met by Cromer's Mayor and Town Crier (pictured) – who declared Cromer’s “support, encouragement and endorsement” of my (the 'Coastline Runner'!) mission: which is to raise awareness of the beauty of Norfolk’s coast, the waste plastic situation and CO2e – our climate emissions.

Depositing the collected plastic trash in the bin (pictured below) the mayor told how he encouraged using alternatives to plastic, by Cromer’s many hundreds of thousands of visitors.

I then recovered (pictured right) in record time and had a celebratory cup of tea with the Mayor, before then catching my train. Ah.... the reassuring warmth of trains!

Thanks all for playing their part in this endeavour, the Mayor, councillor, Town crier and the justgiving sponsors (LH). My endeavour will increase awareness and the reality of:

· coastline plastic pollution

· current systems of collection and disposal of plastic

· emissions calculations

· our beautiful, spectacular coastline with its brilliant biodiversity that exists at times (and might be enjoyed?) other than in August!

I have to run with an eye patch, because of a serious head injury (LH) that still gives me double vision when running.

Otherwise, a slight right tilt of the head corrects it!

S3 Stretch 3 - Happisburgh to Cromer of the #coastlinerunner's mission is reported here , by Stuart Anderson (twitter LH) Chief Reporter of North Norfolk News.


footnotes [i] Family and work life allowing [ii] The CO2e calculation will be based on all travel, accommodation and consumption necessary for this mission; savings by being given any of the above will not be calculated, but mentioned as probono. Mike Berners Lee (LH) (LH) and The Vegan Society (LH) are used. Thank you.


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