Back at the beginning of October 2019 I spent a few days in the county of Suffolk in England. Situated in the southern portion of the East Anglia region, I knew beforehand that I’d be treated to views of low lying hills, timeless villages and the awesome North Sea.
I’d found a cracking deal on a hotel for £15 (about $18 US Dollars) per night in the county town of Ipswich. The room was compact, clean and cosy. I knew before I booked that the room didn’t have a window, but as I planned to be up and out early and return late each day I knew this would be just fine.
I dumped my bags off and headed straight out to the quayside. On the way I noticed some curiously shaped buildings (like the one above) that seemed to ooze character and history, making me wonder what secrets they held from years gone by.
I found a modern light and airy pub and ordered a pint. On finding a window seat, I watched bullets of rain harmlessly explode against the surface of the River Orwell.
Despite the inclement weather nothing was going to hold me back from my main mission of this trip: visiting Lowestoft Ness, the most Easterly point in the whole of the UK. Soon, I plodded back through the mazy town centre with its delightful Tudor buildings hoping the next day brought better weather.
Still, if the weather tried to defeat me, I knew I was prepared with my oversized rain poncho!
But there was no need for that because the next day brought with it endless blue skies. An extra layer of freedom enveloped me as I spent this Autumn day in t-shirt and shorts.
Ipswich Train Station was busy with commuters when I arrived about 8am. I bought my ticket, then a coffee, dropped my rucksack on the floor and used it as a seat as I watched everybody rushing by.
Soon, and on the train, I was watching the countryside roll by. Sheep grazed lazily on the sloping fields, then we passed through dreamy villages that wouldn’t look out of place on the front of a jigsaw puzzle box. Eventually, the journey took us along the coast and the North Sea ‘waved’ hello (wave, sea – get it?).
About an hour and a half after leaving Ipswich I alighted at Lowestoft train station. Google Maps told me I had to walk for approximately twenty-five minutes to find the most Easterly point. However, what started as a pleasant foot-plod adjacent to the seafront turned into a temporary nightmare as I turned off at the wrong point and ended up in the middle of an industrial estate. Just when I started to become despondent after wandering aimlessly for several moments, I saw a signpost that brought me back on track.
Sighting the beach again, I hastened my step ever closer to my target. A line of hotels towered above me making me wish I’d researched this place more thoroughly to spend a few days here. Yet, such thoughts were put aside when the ground marker for Lowestoft Ness came into view.
I thought that there would’ve been more of a fuss made of this place – maybe even if it was just a cafe there. But then I thought that this lended the point an unassuming charm: it sat here quietly as the majestic North Sea smashed up against the rocks nearby.
I made my way back after that and enjoyed vistas across the sea as I munched on fish and chips. I did manage to find an establishment that was the most easterly cafe in the UK and had a quick coffee there. I relived my childhood in the penny arcade before jumping back on the train to Ipswich.
The other extreme points of the UK all involve more involved planning. Rockhall is the most westerly point in the Atlantic Ocean: it is a lump of rock situated way out to sea off the North-West Irish coast. The Minkies are the southernmost point; based in the Channel Islands, they boast the southernly most building in the form of a toilet (probably a good thing after a long journey). The northernmost point is Outstack, another bump of rock that is part of the Shetland Islands.
I’d love to tick these three places off my list one day, but for now the adventure of reaching the most Easterly point still burns brightly in my soul.