A Christmas day tradition in our family is to go for a stroll down on the beach with a ball or frisbee, a camera and some wellies. It’s a really special time for us as a family, partly because we are not often all together, but partly because the beach is empty, the tide always seems to be out, and even if the sky is as grey as a seal’s jumper, it is always beautiful. This is Cromer in the winter. If the wind is off the land, because of the huge cliffs, the beach is protected and tranquil; perfect for throwing a stone, walking a dog, or taking a photo. If the wind is off the sea, walking along the clifftops being buffeted like a kite in a hurricane, is, literally, a breath-taking experience. Last winter, we walked as a family from Cromer to Overstrand on one of the windiest days of the year. The next day the cry came from my five year old – can we do the blowy walk again, Daddy?
Cromer has a little micro-climate (due to the “Holt Ridge” if you ask the local lifeboat men) and it can often be sunny, when the rest of the county is cloudy, or even a degree or two warmer, but in winter, the weather that touches people the most is the mist. It can often come in at a drop of the hat in the summer, but on winter evenings, the town can have a ghostly feel about it. Still, misty, damp, dark, dreamy.
At these times the best thing to do is head for the pier, where it feels like you are actually walking on top of the water, then quickly adjourn to one of the many quality pubs for a pint of locally brewed beer, before returning back to The Grove to sample some of the best produce Norfolk has to offer prepared with love and served with knowledge. Then hunker down in The Lounge in front of the fire, or in the bar on one of the sofas with some of Norfolk’s Black Shuck Gin, Wild Knight Vodka, or Distiller’s Elect whiskey. Chat, snuggle then sleep.
And the next day, you can do “the blowy walk” again.